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I do a lot of Webinars–some of them public and many private–and I’ve found a wide range in terms of how well they come off. I am always brilliant, thoroughly professional, and modest to a fault, but the way the Webinar is organized means a lot for the participants. I realized that I’ve never discussed what I’ve learned about Webinars based on the hundreds I’ve participated in, so today is the time to rectify that. If you have to run a Webinar, it might be worth a read.
So, from a veteran speaker, here are my tips:
- Explain who the audience is. Frequently, I’m asked to present to a group, but the organizers of the event don’t know who will attend and what they already know and need to know. Don’t make that mistake with your event.
- Don’t demand a slide template. A lot of organizers demand that speakers use a particular appearance for their slides, but who benefits from that? It takes the speakers a lot of time and the audience doesn’t care at all.
- Test your Webinar software. This is not one for the lowest bidder. I’ve been part of Webinars where the slides wouldn’t advance, where no one could connect, and even one where I spoke off the cuff because the slides couldn’t be displayed at all. Testing the software (and allowing speakers to test ahead of time) prevents the vast majority of the problems.
- Set a schedule and stick to it. Don’t be loosey-goosey about when speakers should start and stop. Tell people what they should do if their segment starts later than expected—should they take their scheduled time or should they try to get the entire program back on schedule?
- Don’t expect speakers to notice questions the listeners type in while they are speaking. Either hold questions to the end, or have a moderator call them out over the audio if need be. Questions are great, but if you don’t split the speaker’s focus, you’ll get better speeches delivered without distraction.
These tips won’t solve all your problems, but they’ll definitely make your Webinar one worth listening to.