By Angela Stringfellow
Webinars are effective delivery formats for small businesses. They are cost-effective and can be used for many purposes, including training employees, marketing services and establishing thought-leadership. Fee-based webinars can also provide an additional income stream. But delivering engaging material via webinar isn’t easy. Here’s how you can ensure your next webinar is both effective and engaging:
- Provide visual stimulation. Main bullet points can be presented in PowerPoint or PDF format. In addition to text, infographics, charts and graphs are an excellent way to make complex information easier to process.
- Allow attendees to ask questions. Webinars are usually designed to solve a problem; therefore, be sure to address attendee questions and concerns. If attendees leave confused or without a firm grasp on the material presented, the information you’ve conveyed won’t have much of an impact.
- Don’t duplicate your speech and text on the visuals. There are few things less engaging than a presenter reading what’s written on a PowerPoint presentation. Slim down the text on your slides to a few highly relevant bullet points. For the rest, shoot from the hip.
- Don’t read your presentation from a sheet of paper. A supplement to point number three. It comes across very clearly, even in webinar format, when a presenter is reading straight from a piece of paper. Your presentation should sound natural. It’s fine to use an outline, but avoid utilizing a full-text printout of what you’d like to say. It’s too easy to read word-for-word if the full text is in front of you.
- Use headphones. Laptop or PC microphones tend to incorporate a lot of background noise and produce an echo sound. Invest in a quality set of headphones with a noise-cancelling microphone. (And be sure to test them out before your presentation!)
- Enlist a helper. It’s more effective to have a partner or colleague introduce the speaker and lead questions and answers. The flow is more streamlined, and attendees know they need to pay attention when the organizer speaks.
- Allow multiple opportunities for questions. If your presentation is longer, provide multiple breaks for brief question and answer sessions. This allows attendees to address pertinent questions prior to moving on to more complex material, and they won’t have to hold all their questions until the end when you’ve moved on to unrelated material.
- Keep a glass of water handy. Webinars require more constant speech than in-person presentations, so you’ll likely need a few sips of water.
- Avoid awkward pauses. As mentioned in bullet number eight, webinars are reliant on constant speech. In an in-person presentation, a dramatic pause can help emphasize an important point. Because webinar attendees can’t see you, a long silence can seem like you’re at a loss for words.
Webinars can be an incredibly effective way to deliver information. Avoiding common mishaps, planning in advance, and enlisting the help of an assistant or even back-up presenter can ensure your presentation is delivered smoothly and without a hitch.