The good news? You are doing a presentation and you don’t have to worry about looking into a bunch of faces. The bad news? How do you really connect with your audience and make sure this works? With travel costs up and budgets down, we see more and more webinars in your future, so let’s make sure you get rave reviews!
The Run-Through: Get all of your material together and do a full length run-through (practice) a day or two before the real thing. Do your clothes work or distract? How about the visuals? Does the story-line hang together? And what are you doing to break up the ‘talking head’ aspects of the program? Have someone get a video copy of the practice and sit down with a trusted colleague who will give it to you straight. Important note: this is NOT the time to throw everything out and start over! Before this step you should already have thought through the best way to tell your story. (See almost any of the past 108 Monthly Memo offerings to get ideas on that stuff!)
Where do I look? One of the most distracting portions of the webinar game is directing your attention to the CAMERA and not just looking at yourself on the screen. It can be a subtle difference, but it is the same as when you are talking to somebody and they aren’t really looking at you! Annoying. It can take some practice and intentional effort, but it really pays off in your audience connecting with you. One of the biggest drawbacks of a webinar is when people feel they are just watching someone else’s meeting. Your eye contact will let them know this is their meeting!
Keep it engaging! I know not every webinar topic is the same as a summer blockbuster, but what can you do to keep the audience’s attention? Can you add a surprising prop that comes out of nowhere to make a point? How about bringing in a guest to do some question and answer time or have a video set to roll to mix it up? Way too many meetings are basically people standing at the front of a room with some boring slides. The webinar is no exception. Put some thought in and cause the audience to stay glued to the screen!
It’s not over when it’s over! When the webinar is done make sure you find a way to stay engaged with those who tuned in. What additional material can you send them? Do they have your contact info? And what else can you offer to reinforce your value? Too often we are focused on the performance and forget something very important. That webinar is just the beginning of what can be a very long and successful relationship!
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Cary Pfeffer is the founder of ClearComm Consulting, www.clear-comm.net, a Scottsdale, AZ communications consulting firm that helps people tell their story. He works with clients to make the most of their media and live audience communication. Email him at: email@example.com.