June Presentation Tips – Effective Webinars

The webinar is an excellent tool for reaching people a large group of people, cost-effectively, which is why more and more people are using them to pre-sell potential customers and educate people. Indeed, you undoubtedly receive lots of invitations from companies using services provided Citrix and WebEx etc. (including some by our CEO). Increasingly, we get requests from people on presentation tips for delivering webinars, so here goes:

  • Goal: To get the audience to pay attention to your “pitch” and then the desired action
  • Context: People who are somewhat interested in your topic will register (depending on eh quality of your invitation-presentation). How long they stay listening to your presentation depends on (1) how engaging you are throughout the presentation and (2) the extent to which there are distractions. Your webinar presentation has to be even better than it would be if face-to-face, because the normal supportive elements are missing. You can’t use eye contact, body language to engage people, and there is no “common courtesy” element: people’s willingness not to walk out of a boring presentation and disturb others in the audience.
  • Audience Readiness: Attendees are prepared to give you most of the time you’ve planned for the presentation, so it’s YOURS TO LOSE! In the theater, the performers exaggerate their features, and make-up and dress to enable the audience to pick up on nuances; you need to make similarly compensating decisions.
  • Presentation: The webinar presentation has to be even more succinct, engaging and compelling – in terms of structure and style – than it would be if it were a face-to-face presentation. Use the Webinar provider’s tools to help you. Use polls at the beginning of the presentation to develop “personalized” rapport. Use a conversational tone with the presentation, to encourage people to feel comfortable hearing you through and asking questions. Answer questions directly, so the relationship is maintained. In an hour-long presentation, plan to present for 20-25 minutes and use the rest of the time for polls and other interactions.
  • Speaker: The key is your vocal communications – since there are no other cues. Speaking conversationally “to” the audience, not “at” them; keep the tempo quick to give it energy. Keep language simple – don’t get lost in jargon and acronyms. Modulate pitch and volume. If you’re enthusiastic about your topic and transmit it, then you will succeed.

Sales tip: Focus on the numbers and make sure to follow-through! The largest audience I signed up for a webinar was over 2400 people; over 950 actually showed up. An hour later over 80% were still there (this is the key metric). Follow-up with both attendees and those who didn’t; people not attending may simply have had an important schedule conflict.