Webinars are a great way to share your ideas and content with an audience, particularly if they are some distance away or you want to free up time by getting together without anyone having to leave their desks.
A webinar is an online seminar or workshop that is delivered over the internet. You do need excellent communication links, as it would be catastrophic if you were cut off mid-flow! It is important to realize that the more people you have joining the webinar, the less bandwidth you may have to share your live presentation, resulting in some possible lag or disruption. If you need to reach a larger audience you could create and upload the presentation onto your website for clients to download. If you are in doubt about your internet connection and its suitability then contact your supplier who can advise.
So how can you make sure your webinar is interesting and engaging? How can you be confident that you will hold your audience’s attention if you are not holding their eye contact?
There are 3 key areas that will make a big difference to your success:
Get into the right mindset
You need to feel energised and enthusiastic about what you are about to share on your webinar. If you are not using a webcam, and no one can see you, you need to make your voice work for you in communicating your passion and energy for your content.
Before your next webinar, you can connect with your enthusiasm on 2 levels:
- i) By thinking about how your ideas and content are going to benefit people.
- What information can you share that will be useful and interesting to them?
- What problems can you help them solve?
- ii) By doing a mini ‘psyche-up’ routine.
- Have a sip of water, shake out any tension and get into a high-energy state by clapping, woo-hooing or jumping on the spot to create energy. Sounds bonkers, I know, but you need to get some adrenaline going to raise your energy, otherwise you can sound flat and dull.
- If you are around other people and don’t feel comfortable psyching up in public go somewhere more private, or do a quieter version at your desk, to get into a higher energy state.
Make Your Content Interesting
- Keep your slides simple, visual and easy to understand. Have a picture of yourself early on so your audience can see your face and connect with you.
- Keep things varied: you may want to involve other presenters or interview someone to vary the voice on the webinar. If there is someone well-known or interesting to interview, it will make things more engaging for your audience and also encourage people to attend.
- Always have something interesting to share – particularly information and ideas that people can use straight away.
- Design your content so that it’s interactive – you can involve your audience with questions and exercises related to your ideas. So, you might have a question that asks for a ‘show of hands’ and your audience can respond via their control panel. Or give your audience a short exercise and get them to write their answers in on their comments area.
The more you involve people, the more engaged they will become with your content and you.
Make Your Delivery Engaging
Having got into an energised state, you need to keep things interesting through your delivery.
- Vary your pace, use slides to keep things engaging but keep it short. Don’t waffle or ramble and keep your voice varied in pitch, pace and pause for effect.
- You should rehearse your delivery so that you sound fluent and comfortable with your content. Time yourself and practice how you will vary your voice to keep the energy up.
- You may prefer to use a webcam so that people can see you.
Personally, I prefer to deliver audio webinars, with my slides as the visuals, but you may want to show your face live. If you are using a webcam, don’t forget to smile, relax your facial muscles as part of your pre-webinar ritual, and remember to talk to the camera rather than your slides, so that you are looking directly at people.
Good luck with your next webinar.
Caroline Hopkins is an NLP Master Practitioner, specialising in presentation skills coaching and training. Click here to find out more about her coaching and workshops.