Conducting a webinar is no mean feat as it involves so many elements both in and out of your control. Admittedly, a face-to-face experience is very different from an online webinar, which is why this comparison is critical.
Both modes have their uses, and both can be equally rewarding experiences. Let’s have a look at some tips and tricks that make it easy to use webinar software, helping you host webinars like a pro.
- Make Your Presentation Visually Appealing
You can make up for the lack of human contact by using more visually appealing material in your presentations. Visual aids keep your audience hooked, and adding some clever elements to your slides can make a world of difference. Adding a slide about yourself, using graphs and pictorial representations, and animation are ways to achieve this.
If your webinar is part of a series, mentioning the other speakers can give your audience a point of reference.
- Avoid Slides You Want to Show Only for A Few Seconds
Try to use slides that contain actual content, and the audience will look at them for a while. Flipping through fleeting slides/images can be distracting and disconcerting to your audience. Avoid building your slides on a certain train of thought. If you have trouble remembering a point or lack time, you’ll have trouble sticking to a rigid structure.
At the end of each section, add a slide for questions. Sometimes, while answering a question, a participant who has just entered might become confused if your answer and the slide on the screen don’t match.
- Have A Printout of Your Slides
Like with face-to-face presentations, a printed copy of the slides is useful. This allows your audience to revisit or clarify specific parts of your presentation at any point. Also, a printout serves as a visual reminder of your event and is a documented copy of the webinar contents.
- Have Your Accessories in Place
Accessories help enhance the hosting experience. While most of us instinctively use our speakers while using Skype or making video calls to our family, webinars are different. Use headphones while presenting as your speakers can pick up unnecessary background noise resulting in a distracting echo.
Using a remote control to navigate through the slides also helps move things along smoothly. Remember to turn off your appliances and keep away any pets that could cause a disturbance.
- Modulate Your Voice and Let People Know When You’re Going to Be Silent
Voice modulation is key to any kind of presentation, whether it is face-to-face or virtual. Most people understand a well-modulated voice to be either too loud or too soft. You should modulate your voice according to the subject you’re dealing with. If you include anecdotes in your session, equip yourself with some storytelling skills and techniques.
Voice modulation matters, especially when you’re presenting for a long time. Even if your voice is calm or relaxing, an unchanging tone can cause your audience to drift away. Use pauses to emphasize important points. And use pauses generously while dealing with questions or reflective leads.
- Avoid Long Pauses
Since your voice conveys your presence, you must let the audience know of any pause or silence from your end. Whether you’re taking a sip of water or letting people read what’s on the slide, give your audience a heads-up.
Long, dramatic pauses might work well for face-to-face presentations, but not so much for webinars. Using micropauses while you present virtually is more effective. After a phrase or sentence, you may pause for a microsecond before you continue speaking. This ensures clarity without your audience members worrying that they’ve lost their network connections!
- Stop Periodically for Questions
Any kind of conversation is best two-sided. We talk to people, not at them. As with face-to-face presentations, it’s best to stop at the end of each section to check on how your audience members are doing. That way, you can speed up or slow down based on their feedback, giving you space to improve in real time.
Include a suggestion in the beginning that participants can write down any questions and ask them at the end of each section. This ensures they don’t frequently interrupt you while you’re speaking. And your audience members don’t have to wait too long for the answers.
The fundamentals of virtual presenting stay the same. Make sure you include valuable information, be mindful of the time (overshooting can be a strain for everyone), and have a clear idea of the flow of your slides. Wherever possible, take assistance from a co-host/moderator in prioritizing questions or spotting glitches.
Most importantly, have a plan B. Prepare for a situation that you have lesser time than expected. Make sure you can concisely communicate the key points without overwhelming your audience. Also, be ready to ask a few interactive or reflective questions if you have the time to spare at the end of your presentation.
With a little planning and foresight, you can conduct virtual sessions that are just as engaging and interesting as face-to-face sessions.