Following on from my first #FunFridayRead which I’m sure you’ve read (about how to organise and best practices of an online meeting), I thought I’d give you a few pointers on how to give a good webinar. By now I think we’ve probably all been to a few, with varying degrees of usefulness and success. Here are my suggestions for creating an engaging webinar.
Decide on the best format to suit your webinar: Q&A session, interview, how to/demo session, discussion panel? Once you know what you’re doing, choose the right speakers to complement you – they need to know their onions and be comfortable on camera.
If your webinar was being advertised by someone else, would you want to watch/join the webinar? Is it a niche topic? Is it timely and relevant? Don’t make the content too broad, or the webinar too long, or include too many numbers. There might be dozens of similar webinars out there, so try and think of a good hook to attract a bigger audience.
Everyone has heard of ‘Death by PowerPoint’ so try to introduce more visuals, less words and supply relevant data and images. Don’t read out the information on the slides, the audience can read it for themselves. Consider adding different media types into the webinar to break it up; a short video clip or animation for instance. But get the balance right so it isn’t too disjointed. You don’t want it to verge on A Clockwork Orange. Bear in mind the more you have going on, the more likely there might be a technical issue.
If possible, have a colleague on hand to support you with the operational side so you can concentrate on what you’re saying. (One less job for you – see last week’s article on time management where I mention delegation ;-)). They don’t need to be familiar with the topic but should be available to help with any technical issues and assist with moderating questions.
Practice practice practice.
It’s so important I’m going to say it again. Practice practice practice. Get confident in what you’re saying and doing. Particularly if you have difficulty pronouncing certain names and words, you don’t want any embarrassing slips of the tongue!
If the topic is something you’re passionate about, this will come across in your delivery. If you’re not enthusiastic you could cause your viewers to literally switch off. Write yourself prompt cards so you know what you’re saying and when. This should also help make sure you’ve covered your topics and stop you meandering off down rabbit holes.
Think about the possible questions that could come up, and how you think you’ll be able to answer them. You might want to prepare some of your own questions to help start the Q&A session off until the audience warms up. Or maybe your webinar is so well written and delivered that there weren’t any questions!
Be prepared for things to go wrong – something always does! Don’t panic, be familiar with your software and the topic and, as they say, keep calm and carry on.