It is your first webinar – cheers!
But… before panicking, read this.
Even though not all people are natural born communicators, that doesn’t mean they cannot conduct very interesting and catchy presentations. Some are more creative than others, or more charismatic, but, bottom line, speakers must reach their purpose – which is sharing a message.
Unclear messages are sometimes the main obstacle to the speaker. If you cannot understand what you are talking about, no one will. So, first of all, make sure you are prepared to answer any questions that might follow your presentation.
There are certainly other concerns in your mind, especially if you represent a brand.
Will my audience like my presentation?
Will it add value to them?
Will my brand be well represented?
Audiences do not know you yet. Their expectations are placed in what they are about to listen, not your performance. Your job is to share your message the most effective way. You need to engage your viewers so they can learn something from you.
There are several techniques one can train to make the speech flow more easily, build confidence in own words and ideas and, ultimately, overcome the fear of talking in public. But there are also other (easy) steps to take to make a good impression in your audience. Here are some.
1. Be creative
We all have heard some people express themselves through dance, or singing. Ok, not in your nature to be that creative? Create your own style. Be funny, be dramatic, be something in between – but keep the professional tone. You are here to inspire and educate your audience, that is why they enrolled in the first place.
2. Understand your audience
You are a cook and want to give a remote workshop on how to make sushi at home. Your online viewers maybe cookery students, housewives, sushi lovers or entrepreneurs wishing to run their own sushi business. In order to get this precious information, the enrollment process must be optimized. Ask for name, email address, professional activity and perhaps motive of interest or expectations.
Study your registered users. This may inspire you to adapt your speech or even refer to them in a more personal way. “I see there is a lot of students amongst ours viewers, so let’s give you some pro tips”, or “I don’t understand much about business, but I’ll give you you the necessary recipes for you to find the way to your customers hearts”. Your viewers will feel you are talking exactly to them – and this is powerful.
Besides, studies state webinars are the top content format in driving qualified leads, so one way or another, your efforts will be compensated.
3. Be what you are expected to be
Choose the perfect setting and outfit – these tell a lot about you, believe it or not. If you are a Investor Relations Manager, you should sit in your video conferencing room and wear sober clothes, like blazer and blouse. Also, your language should be formal and technical. But if you are a cook, people will be surprised if you do not use a kitchen as your setting and an apron.
If you have done your homework, you can dress in order to relate to your viewers. In case you are a music artist and your audience is young, use verbal expressions and references they can relate to. People want to be treated as they think they deserve.
4. Get ready
Talk, talk, talk.
Do your homework – you must practise to avoid freezing at the beginning of your intervention. Talk in front of a mirror, talk to your beloved one, to your cat… unprepared speakers get nervous and everyone listening will notice.
Besides, you are on camera. Your gestures and expressions will speak for you. A poor, uncontrolled body language can ruin your speech. According to research, only 7% of feelings (and nervousness) are revealed by words against 55% of body language. You can train your body language to convey confidence, drama, sadness, ecstasy or whatever you need to engage your audience.
In this interesting article from The Huffington Post some common gestures are disclosed to help public speakers support their message.
Set the right tone and rhythm of your speech. One of the most obvious signs of nerves is talking too fast. The ideal is to alternate the tone of voice, use pauses when you want to draw attention to a certain topic. Speak calmly and clearly, even if it means you need to speak slowly.
5. Break the ice
It’s time… [drums]
How to begin? Good question. Besides the typical “let’s wait just another 5 minutes to let the latecomers join us”, there are other ways of starting your presentation in a more engaging way:
- Introduce yourself: your experience, why you became a speaker of that particular topic and why you are the right person to listen at the moment.
- Briefly summarize what you are going to talk about – this way people will be sure they registered the right webinar.
- Tell a joke to break the ice. Some articles raised the question of whether you should tell the audience if you are nervous, but the most important thing is to feel comfortable with what you say.
- Tell a short story to contextualize your speech. It can be a simple story about a real life event, or a metaphor – you decide.
- Quote someone you admire.
- Stimulate people to participate leaving comments or questions for you to answer in the end.
6. Time is money!
Some interesting numbers:
- The best week days to host a webinar are Tuesday and Wednesday
- The average viewer time of a webinar is 53 min
- Webinars usually take between 30 to 60 min
Time is money is not just an old and trite phrase – don’t forget people are not 100% available to listen to you all day, so be strict with schedules. If your webinar is set to take 45 minutes, then don’t just keep people for another 20 minutes after. If you intend to answer some questions of your viewers, organize your presentation so you have at least 10 minutes for that.
7. Be smart with your visual supports
PowerPoints, videos or animations might seem the perfect choice to support your business reports or sell ideas. Visual elements are in vogue these days, but… well, don’t make your presentations too kitsch by overusing too many visual elements that may distract your audience from what really matters – you!
Keep it short, keep it simple, to the point.
We hope these ideas are helpful enough and you are now ready to start your webinar!
Need extra help to set everything up? Talk to our support team to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.