Could a top presenter bomb in the virtual world? Your keynotes get rave reviews. Your training seminars are highly rated. Your reputation as a public speaker precedes you. So giving a webinar should be a snap. Or not. The mistake many otherwise excellent speakers make is to approach webinars the same way they deliver an in-person speech. Virtual communication offers new and different challenges. Here are some tips when transitioning presentations to the web.
More Slides Not Less. Unlike the PowerPoint principle of fewer slides, in a webinar, the speaker must keep the momentum going. It's boring to listen to audio while one slide remains on the screen. To keep attention, scroll through multiple slides so that the audience is experiencing change more frequently. I once watched an online promotional video. Every time I reached for the mouse to fast forward, the video image would change. It was uncanny how this video changed images every time I was ready to tune out. I checked the timing. The change happened every 4 seconds. You don't have to be that quick but don't speak for 2 minutes on a slide.
Create a Relationship. Project a photo of participants on the webinar screen so that they can see themselves and others.This will allow you to speak to "real people," and the audience will feel more of a sense of community.
Warm Up. Don't dive in without a welcome. Introduce yourself and let people know why they are there and what you will cover. But don't announce every caller unless it's a brief private meeting. Mute the phones so that there is no background noise. People can hear a smile so bring your best game face and let your warmth shine through. To increase energy, stand when you're presenting and use a lively and conversational voice. Nobody wants to listen to a dispassionate book report.
Visuals Not Text. Forego bullets in favor of graphics, cartoons, illustrations and interesting photos.The brain thinks in pictures, not in words. And if there is enough text for them to read the slides, they won't need you. Make sure the graphic files are not too large or they will take too long to download.
Interact. Don't be a talking head. If you don't want the audience to check email, create a two way communication. Make use of chat boxes and polling. Ask questions. And if possible, open the phone lines so that people can participate. Build interaction every 3-5 minutes. An effective webinar is not a deck of slides with a voice over.
Make Eye Contact. The best way to connect with a virtual audience is to use video. If they can see you talking, the audience will be more engaged. Programs like Adobe Connect provide video capacity so that the presenter can look directly at the audience. This will increase engagement and trust. Another alternative is to embed very quick, brief videos on the slide to demonstrate your point.
Design Peer-to-Peer Learning. Make use of break out rooms online. This allows you to assign learners to small groups to discuss concepts and create new ideas. Adults want to participate and control their learning. As the facilitator you can listen in on each group while they can only hear the members of their small group. When finished, you can bring back participants to share their learning.
Virtual doesn't have to be boring or detached. To deliver winning webinars, consider these seven tips when converting your presentation to the web.