Face it. Webinars are harder to do well than you care to admit. It’s not the same communicating with a group of people without the visual and verbal feedback that most presenters use to assure they are connecting with their audience. So what can you do to improve your rapport with your webinar attendees?
1. KISS – Keep it Simple and Structured
Successful webinar hosts know their audience doesn’t always dial into the presentation before the session starts. In fact, it’s common for attendees to continue to join as late as fifteen minutes into a sixty minute presentation. That’s why it’s essential to keep your presentation simple and structured. Use some type of graphic as a signpost to let the audience know where you are in the presentation as you explore each topic. Place your “signpost” in the lower right corner of each slide so your viewer will instantly know where you are in your presentation.
2. Beware context switches
Most webinars use Powerpoint slides and a product demonstration. When the speaker switches between Powerpoint and the software application, there can be a long delay before the viewers actually see the new screen. So if you continue to speak, your audience can easily become lost because what you see on your desktop is not what your viewers are seeing on their screens. Take a moment to allow the network to catch up with you. Ask your viewers if they can see the software before you start demonstrating the features. Better still, make the switch to your software while wrapping up your final thoughts in your presentation.
3. Get a virtual head nod using polls and questions
Know that your viewers are multi-tasking during your webinar. Most will have more than one screen at their desk, and while TweetDeck, Outlook, and instant message programs are screaming for attention, your viewers will hear your soothing voice in their headsets. Grab more attention by asking questions. Place your questions in the polling window, and tie a prize or incentive to those who answer. Give your audience a reason to ignore the interrupts and focus on your material.
4. Smile while talking
Probably the biggest challenge you face as a speaker is creating that engaging quality in your voice that communicates excitement, enthusiasm, and trust. Nothing beats a smile for helping you connect with your viewers. Try it. Practice your presentation and record yourself. Then do it again, only this time SMILE. Give yourself permission to try something new. Create a SMILE card, and place it in front of you so you can see it as you speak. Your audience will thank you.
5. Ask for feedback
Most webinar attendees will send a message to the organizer and give thanks for the session. Take this natural goodwill one step further. Ask “what worked well?”. “What part of the webinar stayed with you the most?” “What can we do to improve this session?” And be ready to implement the suggestions. Your audience will become more loyal as they realize you are implementing their suggestions and are responsive to their guidance.
How do you and your colleagues currently collaborate? Do you struggle with poor image-quality video conferencing? An inability to spontaneously share ideas and documents?
CMIT Impression will change everything you know about visual collaboration. Click here to learn more.