13 Ways to Wow on a Webinar
Conducting webinars for your clients, prospects, and staff (if you have multiple locations) is a great way to clearly communicate ideas in a compelling, time-efficient and inexpensive fashion. It’s also a great way to increase your brand recognition and perception and to reach a larger audience.
However, there are also many ways a webinar can backfire and, ultimately, damage your brand. I once heard a participant order a pizza because the presenter failed to mute all participants. I’ve seen countless people drop off a call because the webinar was just so boring. I’ve also heard presenters realize too late they accidentally deleted a slide from a presentation.
As a veteran of almost 100 AIC webinars, here are 13 tips I’ve learned, sometimes the hard way, about how to wow on a webinar.
- Research – Investigate webinar options and understand what you’re signing up for in terms of contract length, number of seats included, what additional charges you might incur and ease of use. Benefits, features and costs vary considerably, so research carefully.
- Review all content – Make sure your content is engaging. It is much harder to present a webinar than it is to conduct a face-to-face presentation because you can’t gauge your audience’s engagement and understanding. Rehearse the content in advance to ensure it works well over the phone.
- Test! – Test everything in advance, from call-in instructions to the way the slides appear in the viewer. I’ve accidentally sent out incorrect instructions a few times, causing a lot of last-minute headaches. I also kept finding my slides were distorted once I got into a webinar in spite of looking perfect in PowerPoint. It took months to figure out it was because of the trademark icon on several slides. Testing can prevent these embarrassing missteps.
- Less is more – When you create slides, make sure they are not text or image heavy. A good rule of thumb is no more than 5 words per line, no more than 5 lines per page. Avoid fonts that are hard to read and images that distract from your message.
- Rehearse! – A few minutes into the call is not the time to play around with muting participants, reviewing comments or handling an online poll. If you are including multiple panelists on a call, schedule a few minutes together in advance so everyone is on the same page about logistics.
- Mute participants on entry – You have the option of opening up the lines during a Q&A session, but you’ll get much less background noise if you mute from the beginning. This will save your group from the agony of the pizza fiasco mentioned earlier.
- Display attendee lists carefully – Be strategic about whether you display an attendee list. If you have any concern about participation, keep the attendee list out of view. If only a few arrive on the call, it won’t be apparent. If you want attendees to connect with each other, display the list.
- Encourage questions – When asking for questions or feedback, ask people to identify themselves (typically, their name and their company). It provides a context for the person’s remark and also provides more opportunity for connection and follow-up.
- Anticipate questions – Since this invariably comes up as a question during the presentation, let participants know at the beginning of the presentation whether you will be providing them the slides upon completion of the webinar.
- Be on time – As with any meeting, start and end on time. You will likely have a few people join once the call has begun However, it is but it’s better to respect those who are on time. If all the lines are muted, you won’t hear any interruption when others dial in.
- Team up – Because it can be stressful to present content and keep an eye on attendance lists and questions submitted, have at least two associates on the call. You will be glad to have a backup plan.
- Get used to silence – There is often a delay between your question and a participant’s answer for two reasons: (1) they have to formulate their response, and (2) there is a time gap between when you pose the question and when the audience hears it. Likewise, there’s a delay between when an audience member responds and you hear it. When you’re waiting for audience participation, be patient!
- Seek feedback – Utilize polls and surveys during and after your calls to learn more about your audience and their thoughts on your presentation.
There is no substitute for the value of a face-to-face meeting, yet a well-run webinar is a cost-effective and time-saving alternative. Webinars can also help you increase the reach and recognition of your brand. Implement these tips to ensure the impact of a webinar on your brand is a great one!