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10 Tips to Improve Your Online Presentations

by InstantPresenter on January 13, 2010

Improve your webinar presentations with these practical tips

1) Write an Outline and Script

This might sound like a commonly-practiced presentation tip, but many people prefer to wing it rather than outline and script their webinar. An outline is the number one step to guarantee focus. Make sure you know and outline what key points you want to cover, what you want to show the audience–as far as visuals, and what types of activities you will want to include (like guest speakers, polling, Q&A-style chat, etc.)

After a bulleted outline is created, development of a basic script is recommended. This will keep you on-track, focused, and perhaps more comfortable. Memorizing the entire script is not for everyone, but memorizing key bullet points will ensure a smooth and professional presentation.

2) Keep the Introduction Short

Introductions are important, and should always be part of your webinar presentation, but this tip suggests that you design your introduction to be brief in order to grab audience attention. Tailor your intro to be unique with a question, quote, statement, visual, or sound.

Go into the basics: who you are, why you are holding a webinar, why the attendee should listen/watch. Plan to provide your attendees a minute or two to join the meeting before executing your well-crafted introduction, beginning the webinar with music or visuals (like slides or photos.)

3) Practice and Hold a Full Run-Through

Once you have crafted your outline and/or script, be sure to run through the presentation out loud. Actors and public speakers suggest practicing speaking in front of a mirror, or even a camera, so you are able to get comfortable and observe your actions. InstantPresenter s platform affords you the opportunity for presentation rehearsal. It is highly recommended that you rehearse your webinar online.

This way, you are able to test lighting and sound. Your rehearsal should include all features of your presentation such as slide transitions, polling, questions, and so forth. Allow time for every feature in a realistic manner. You can set up an online practice room to hold a rehearsal that is visible to someone else. Ask a friend or colleague to log-on to that practice arena, so they can view the presentation and provide you with feedback. You can also record your rehearsal using the on-demand recording feature.

4) Dress Appropriately

The way you appear, will most likely provide a first impression to your audience, so be sure to look appropriate when presenting. In most cases, you can never go wrong with professional or business attire, and it is highly recommended. If your message, company, product, or webinar attendees are more on the casual side, you might want to dress in something comfortable and basic. No matter the style, dress in solid colors; stripes tend to transfer poorly through a webcam, creating blurring lines.

Grooming yourself is important, but there is no right or wrong way to look. If you want your facial features to stand out clearly, and not be washed-out by lighting, make-up is typically encouraged. It is also ideal to make sure that your hair is pulled back, so your face is seen, and there are no disturbances when you present.

5) Adjust Levels Prior to the Webinar

During your rehearsal, you have an opportunity to test volume levels and camera angles. InstantPresenter will prompt you to check the volume when you are ready to start your presentation, but it is always smart to know this type of information in advance. Make sure that your voice, sound, and music levels are not clipping (this is when your voice sounds sharp and abrupt when the volume hits a certain level.)

6) Relax

During rehearsal and when it comes time to present live, just relax. Remember to breathe, and stay in the moment. If you keep your objective in sight, you will present more effectively and comfortably. Whether you are presenting to many, or to a small audience, try to remain confident. Expect the unexpected, and remember to continue if you flub a line or click to your next slide too quickly. Your recovery will determine the success of your presentation.

7) Speak Loud, Clear, and Enunciate

Your voice may be one of the strongest elements in your presentation, and if you sound nervous or shy, no one will buy-in. You can eliminate such an issue by speaking loud, clear, and fully enunciate your words. Not to be overdone and silly, enunciation is vital in public speaking. Not every word will be reiterated by your slide presentation, so it is important that your attendees hear what you are trying to convey.

Vocal patterns can sometimes sound boring or too scripted, so be sure to change your vocal patterns from time to time. This will grab audience attention when an important or exciting point is conveyed. Try to read your audience, knowing the demographic ahead of time if possible, so you can adjust your enthusiasm level appropriately. You want to excite and motivate, but do not want to scare anyone.

8) Pace Yourself

Pacing the presentation appropriately is important, and can make or break an event. Try not to speed through the webinar out of nervousness, or speak and present too slowly. Practice a smooth pace, and time yourself. You will most likely indicate a presentation length ahead of time, so make sure you follow this time frame.

Of course, if audience participation calls for an extension, or the webinar is winding down for any reason, use your best judgment in when to stop broadcasting. Try not to start late, but as addressed earlier, it is a courtesy to give the attendees a minute or two to log-in and get adjusted. On the other hand, do not stall too long, or you may upset the audience members who have arrived on time.

9) Engage Your Audience and Maintain Attendee Interest

The most important tip I can offer is to engage and maintain your attendee interest during the presentation. InstantPresenter feels strongly about this, and continues to develop features that foster attendee engagement and participation. Questions can easily be asked or answered by attendees through a chat module during the presentation, and polls can be included for instant feedback.

You can engage your audience members with slide sharing, as well as sharing your own screen. There are annotation tools available for a whiteboard effect highlighting the key points. Additionally, InstantPresenter offers a High Quality Video feature, which is a great way to grab and maintain audience focus.

Read more about InstantPresenter web conferencing features that engage audience members here.

10) Call to Action

Lastly, your presentation needs to conclude with a clear call to action. What are your goals Make sure your objectives are known, and your audience members act immediately. You can design this key webinar component similarly to your introduction, so it is memorable, short, and concise. Start developing this statement when you create your outline, and write down what you are ultimately trying to achieve.

Make sure that this is in the form of short or long-term goals. Sort out the why and how for each goal, keeping your audience and demographic needs in mind. From there, you will be able to narrow your statement down, and form a catchy and effective call to action. Implement this statement at the end of your presentation, and make sure this is done with great emphasis.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Eileen October 26, 2012 at 3:04 pm

I have had a apple laptop that I had to download a program that allowed me to come on as a guest speaker, now I have a new apple I can’t remember what the program was can you help me with this?


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