7 Ways to engage the audience of your webinar

It is your first webinar – cheers!

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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

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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.

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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.

And now…

We hope these ideas are helpful enough and you are now ready to start your webinar!

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Need extra help to set everything up? Talk to our support team to support@veedeeo.me. We look forward to hearing from you.

Looking for the perfect webinar tool? Try VEEDEEO.

Speaking Without Words – Nonverbal Communication

Good communication is the key of any successful relationship, but it’s our nonverbal communication that ultimately speaks the loudest. Mastering it is an extremely powerful tool and can play a pivotal role in the process of connecting with others, expressing what one really means and hence, building better relationships.

1. What is Nonverbal Communication and Body Language?

When interacting with others, one continuously gives and receives wordless signals.

All nonverbal behaviors are invested of strong messages, messages that don’t stop when one stops talking either; even when one’s silent, he’s still communicating in a nonverbal way.

Quite often, what comes out of one’s mouth and what he actually communicates through his body language are complete opposites; faced with mixed signals, a listener will have to choose between one or the other, and in most cases, the nonverbal will prevail, because it’s perceived as being more natural and unconscious, portraying one’s true feelings.

2. Why Does Nonverbal Communication Matters?

When one’s nonverbal signals match up with what’s being said, aspects like trust, clarity and rapport naturally increase; when not, tension, mistrust and confusion are certain to settle in.

3. Types of Nonverbal Communication

There are numerous types of nonverbal communication, but these are the most important.

     3.1. Facial Expressions

Our face is hugely expressive, and unlike other forms, facial expressions are universal.

     3.2. Body Movement and Posture

It’s a given that the way one sits, walks, stands-up or holds his head, sends a clear message to others, transmitting a ton of information and playing a major role in the way others perceive us.

     3.3. Gestures

Gestures are innate and part of our daily lives, happening in a unthought way. Nevertheless, the meaning of gestures can be extremely different across cultures and regions, so it’s key to tread carefully and avoid being misinterpreted.

     3.4. Eye Contact

It’s usually said that the eyes are windows to the soul, and that’s spot on! Eye contact is one of the most important types of nonverbal communication, expressing a multitude of things, such as interest, affection, hostility, or attraction.

     3.5. Touch

We communicate a great deal through touch. Just think about all the messages sent by a weak handshake, a timid tap on the shoulder, a warm hug, a reassuring pat on the back or just a controlling grip of one’s arm.

     3.6. Space

Ever felt uncomfortable because the other person is standing too close or invading your space? Everybody needs their space, although it may differ depending on the culture, the situation and the closeness of a certain relationship.

     3.7. Voice

It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. When we speak, others “read” our voices, besides listening to our words. Pace, loudness, tone, inflection, sounds that can convey understanding, etc. Just think about how someone’s tone can indicate sarcasm, anger, affection or confidence.

4. Nonverbal Communication Can’t Be Faked

The number of “tricks” that can be used to project confidence or assert dominance is countless, but they’ll only work if one actually believes in it; it’s virtually impossible to control everything and the harder one tries, the more unnatural it’s perceived.

5. How Can Nonverbal Communication Go Wrong?

What’s being communicated either through body language or nonverbal signals affects how others see us, how they will likely respect us, and whether or not they’ll trust us. Unfortunately, mixed signals are frequent, and when that happens, things can go wrong.

Establishing solid and trusting relationships depends on how one uses and interprets signals.

6. Setting The Stage For Effective Nonverbal Communication

In this fast paced back-and-forth process, concentration and attention to detail is key. If one’s planning what he’s going to say next, daydreaming, or just thinking about something else, it’s certain that nonverbal cues and other subtleties will be missed in the process, so being focused and in the moment is the only way to go at it.

Feeling brave enough? Start a free trial to put your new skills in a live video broadcast session.

6 Tips to help you fight the fear of speaking in public

You have an important presentation to make but being in the spotlight causes you cold sweats. You stutter, words seems to get stuck in your throat, your body writhe with chills and it’s all because you fear watching your audience yawn at your speech. You suffer from glossophobia (from the ancient greek word for tongue, glṓssa), or fear of speaking in public – but do not give up just yet.

First of all, you are not alone. Fear of speaking in public is one of the most common fears in modern societies. As a matter of fact, it affects people you would not even imagine – from thinkers to economists, Hollywood actors and, even, politicians. It is estimated that 75% of the population suffers from glossophobia and studies even claim people fear less death than they fear speaking in public.

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

Jerry Seinfeld

Understanding the fear

Like any other fear, glossophobia affects both reasoning and body. Besides the predictable mental block, it also translates in physical manifestations such as dilated pupils, faster heartbeat, stiffness of the muscles of the neck and back, body shaking, nausea, hyperventilation, dry mouth and weak voice. Suddenly the speaker freezes in front of his audience.

Glossophobia is a social fear – it was born out of the social need for people to be accepted and appreciated. It is deep-seated in individuals due to millennia of social life evolution. We all want to be part of the group, we need social approval. Our mistakes and failures might end up in our rejection – and jeopardize our survival.

The mismanagement of glossophobia is a threat to any professional career that requires sharing knowledge orally – it means hours of preparation and brilliant ideas going down the drain. No one will give you the privilege of slinking through the back door just because you are panicked. Actually, talking in public will not put your life in danger and people will think they are asking of you something quite simple. Specially if the content is impersonal – like reporting results, or analysing the status of a project.

Bear this in mind – you may not cure the fear, but you can manage it

Like other fears, glossophobia will probably never be gone for good. But you can fight it so it will not become incapacitating or impact your professional life. We give you a small collection of tips, gathered from the testimony of some experts in public speaking who had to overcome their anxiety just like you. Take your notes and start your personal fight.

1. We fear what we are not familiar with

One of the main reasons for the persistence of glossophobia is lack of practice. Talking in public is a skill all speakers keep on mastering during the years. Practise makes perfection. Make a habit out of it and talk, talk and talk. Just as riding a bike, once you get the hang of it, you never forget. After all, you have a voice for a reason, right?

2. Fight silly “what if” questions

What if people don’t like my speech?

What if I am boring?

What if my presentation lacks quality?

What if my boss thinks I no longer suits his team?

Give your mind a break. One speech or presentation alone does not prove anyone’s value. Besides, you are focusing on what others will think, which is extremely difficult to dissociate, we admit, but is also harmful to your self-esteem. Successful people do not focus on negative ideas. Instead, they constantly repeat to themselves their best qualities and wishes of success. “I will make my presentation and my message will be clear”. You don’t have to be the best, but you can manage to do your best.

Takeaway: okay, getting others approval is inevitable and you cannot fight it. Involve colleagues or potential listeners and make them part of your learning process. “Where do you think I should concentrate? Do you think I should talk about this? Do you think my tone is adequate?” They will be glad to help you, just never forget the difference between criticism and advices.

3. Be narcissistic about your speech

Before all audiences, you are your first listener. Learn to enjoy listening to yourself and you will share your ideas and words with relish. Many people never had the chance to talk out loud while alone, to set their tone, or play with their voice. The more you repeat your speech, the better you can improve it to reach the right rhythm, mood and tone of voice.  

Takeaway: record your speech on your mobile phone, audio or video, take your notes and work on improvements before the bid day. Try not to be so harsh on your voice – electronic devices tend to alter the perception we have of our own voice – and concentrate on the utterance, the pauses, the interjections and the clarity of the message.

4. Keep calm and get ready to kick ass

Being nervous before your presentation is absolutely acceptable. Even if you have prepared yourself for many hours, inevitable silly questions will cross your mind. Many experts in public speaking strongly recommend you take 5 minutes to take a walk or relaxation exercises. In fact, exercise is benefitial for those who have stressful jobs, not just because they will look good, but because exercise has plenty of benefits – it helps relieving from stress and improving memory and gives the energy you need to performe your tasks the best way possible.

In short, relax! Quite cliché, but the word is overused for a reason. After all, is no big deal. Do everything you can to control your nerves before any presentation and you will be ready to face your audience – be it the board members of your company, your boss, your colleagues or hundreds of unknown listeners.

5. Prepare your body

One of the most common manifestations of anxiety is cotton mouth – the uncomfortable sensation of dry mouth that difficultates the speech. To avoid it drink a lot of water before your presentation in order to stay hydrated.

6. Take public speaking classes

Experienced professionals may help you identify your weaknesses and turn them into strengths. Courses are designed to teach people how to control their nerves, how to improve their self-esteem and structure their speech to make it clear. The feedback obtained is always honest. If you have to speak a lot in public, why not consider taking public speaking classes?

Bottom line, take the challenge. Facing our own fears means reaching an incredible state of satisfaction. Is our own personal success. Once we face our fears, confidence gets stronger – and confidence is contagious.

Do not forget video conferencing is more comfortable than having the audience sitting on the other side of the table, but we hope this article is useful if you fear speaking during a video meeting.

 

Feeling more confident to speak in from of audiences of up to 500 people? Conduct your video broadcasting sessions for free for 14 days.