25 Best Practices of Webinar Presenting | Dave Clark | Skillshare

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25 Best Practices of Webinar Presenting

teacher avatar Dave Clark, Clark Webinar Consulting

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (1h 5m)
    • 1. Trailer

      1:16
    • 2. Introduction

      2:48
    • 3. Developing Your Presentation

      10:05
    • 4. Creating Your Slides

      7:39
    • 5. Delivering Your Presentation

      8:27
    • 6. Engaging Your Audience

      14:26
    • 7. Q&A

      20:16
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About This Class

To be an effective and successful webinar presenter, you need to know how to overcome the challenges involved in conveying information to an audience you can't see. You also have to make the right decisions regarding the technical aspects of your webinar setup, and you need to understand how best to engage and interact with an online audience.

Whether you're new to webinar presenting or an old pro, this course will provide you with 25 fundamental tips and tricks to ensure your online presentations are compelling, persuasive, and professional. Apply these best practices to any type of webinar presentation—from lead generation to education to thought leadership—and turn your webinars from snoozefests into truly rewarding events for both you and your attendees.

By viewing this course, you'll learn best practices for:

--Developing an effective and successful webinar presentation
--Creating webinar slides that enhance and support your message
--Delivering a professional webinar presentation to an online audience
--Engaging your webinar audience and keeping them interested in your content

Also included in this course is a comprehensive mock Q&A session that provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about webinar presenting. You’ll benefit from hearing the answers to these questions as if you were attending this course as part of a live audience!

Meet Your Teacher

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Dave Clark

Clark Webinar Consulting

Teacher

Dave Clark is the founder of Clark Webinar Consulting, helping businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations conduct and deliver worry-free, professional webinars. With over ten years of hands-on webinar experience, CWC provides a wide range of webinar-related solutions including complete webinar production and support services.

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Transcripts

1. Trailer: To be an effective and successful webinar presenter, you need to know how to overcome the challenges involved in conveying information to an audience you can't see. You'll also have to make the right decisions regarding the technical aspects of your webinar set-up. And you need to understand how best to engage and interact with an online audience. My name is Dave Clark, founder of Clark webinar consulting. I've been conducting, producing, managing, and marketing webinars for myself and others for over 10 years. Whether you're new to webinar presenting or an old pro, this course will provide you with 25 fundamental tips and tricks to ensure your online presentations are compelling, persuasive and professional. By viewing this course, you'll learn best practices for developing your webinar presentation, creating your slides, delivering your presentation, and engaging with your webinar audience. Apply these best practices to any type of webinar presentation from lead generation education. It's a thought leadership. And turn your webinars from snooze fest into truly rewarding events for both you and your attendees, few this course now and become a more effective and successful webinar presenter today. 2. Introduction: Greetings and welcome to 25 best practices of webinar presenting. My name is Dave Clark. I'm the founder of Clark webinar Consulting. Thanks so much for selecting this course on becoming a more effective and successful webinar presenter. Let's jump right into this. You're here to learn about best practices of webinar presenting. So let's begin straight off with a best practice. Give your audience something of value as quickly as possible. And in fact, I just demonstrated that best practice myself, didn't I? I'm only on my second slide here, but you already know a best practice of webinar presenting. You've been promised best practices and I've already delivered one. Now, I get it. It's not always possible to jump right to the value proposition at the very start of a webinar. Some companies and organizations mandate that mission statements be red and that other lengthy background information be given at the very start of a webinar. But if you're one of several webinar presenters during a webinar, and you're not opening up the webinar yourself. There's no reason why you, as an individual presenter, can't immediately provide value to your audience. Attendees want what they came for, so try to establish that trust with them right up front. Here's a typical linear presentation approach, right? A lot of background information at the start of the webinar, then a bunch of supporting facts and figures and data. And finally, the solution or the insight, or the value that was promised to the audience. For your next presentation. Try this, flip it. Start with the key value points most important to your audience. Then back that up with supporting information. And finally, if there's time, provide all of the other background information. In this way, you've captured the attention of your audience right from the start. And if anyone needs to leave early, they'll have already received the information they wanted that they were promised. Plus if time runs short, let's say you're running low on time near the end of your webinar, you won't have to rush through all of your key points. You will have already addressed all of them. This type of approach is critical for a marketing webinar, or for a webinar where you're trying to sell something. But it's very important in other webinars to where you're selling ideas. Give your audience the information you want them to have right from the start. Don't make them wait for the value. 3. Developing Your Presentation: All right, I started with that first best practice because I actually wanted to demonstrate it for you. But let's continue now with some best practices related to webinar presentation development. As a presenter, you may be asked to come up with a title for your webinar or for your presentation. So let's talk about Webinar titles. The best webinar titles explicitly convey the value in attending. I'll perspective registering should immediately understand why they should care why they should register for and attend your webinar. Let's go back to the title slide for this presentation. Twenty-five best practices of webinar presenting. You're left with no doubt whatsoever regarding what you'll get by viewing this presentation. You'll get 25 best practices of webinar presenting. It couldn't be more clear. I could have also called this presentation, had to master the art of webinar presenting. Or 25 ways to master the art of webinar presenting, or even 25 secrets of webinar presenting. But with all of these titles, there's an explicit value proposition. You'll get 25 secrets or 25 best practices, or you'll learn how to master something. In fact, It's been shown that titles that include phrases like best practices or secrets of or how to actually increase registration rates. All of these titles also do something else. They specifically state that webinar presenting is the topic. So this allows people to easily self-select. They'll know if they should register for the webinar based on whether webinar presenting is a topic that's relevant to them, obviously. So best practice number 2 is use descriptive webinar titles that convey value. Now, some people purposely make their webinar titles as vague as possible. What they're trying to do is they're trying to maximize the number of registrants they get by casting a really wide net. Marketers do this sometimes when their goal is to generate as many new leads as possible. But what happens is with this approach, you end up with a lot of people who really aren't interested in your message. I recently saw a webinar promoted with the title hot vendors. I mean, how could anyone possibly know what that webinar was about? First of all, what makes those vendors hot for that matter? What types of vendors are they even referring to? It vendors, software vendors, hot dog vendors. If anyone did register for that webinar, their expectations probably weren't met. Remember, a small audience of targeted individuals is much better than a large, broad audience with lots of people who really aren't interested in your message. So make sure your webinar titles are specific and tell your audience exactly what they'll get by registering for and attending your webinar. All right, are you ready for one of the most important best practices of webinar presenting? Here it is, best practice number 3, don't script your presentation. You know, webinar's really are one of the most engaging ways to communicate with people online. But one of the least engaging ways to give a presentation is with a script. And you've probably attended webinars like this, where the presenter drones on and on in the same monotone as they read their entire presentation word for word from a piece of paper. If you scraped your presentation, Here's an audience reaction you're likely to get. Or maybe you'll get a reaction like this or this. The best presentations have an improvised sounding, conversational tone. And don't forget, you're the expert here. You don't need a script. You probably have informal conversations about your subject matter every single day with your colleagues. And that's how you should think of your presentation as a conversation with your audience. Frankly, your audience doesn't need you to read to them. If you're going to do that, you might as well just send them your script in advance and save them the trouble of attending a webinar. So don't script your presentation. Now to be clear, there's nothing wrong with using notes or an outline. I like to draft an outline of topics and sub-topics and refer to that during my webinar. In fact, that's what I'm doing right now. It helps me stay on track and it helps me remember my key points. Now some presenters do like to script their opening remarks and that's okay. That's okay. If your opening statement is relatively brief, it gets you going and helps you transition to your unscripted remarks. And you can even practice reading your opening lines so that it sounds more natural. But don't write out your entire presentation word for word beyond your opening lines. Don't read to your audience. They don't want that. If you approach your presentation more as a conversation with your audience, you'll come across as a much more engaging presenter. And here's the happy audience you're looking for. How about some rapid-fire best practices relating to webinar presentation development? And go overboard with facts and figures when providing evidence. Remember if you overwhelm your audience with too much, they'll lose interest in your webinar. Less really is more when it comes to things like statistics and charts and graphs. And don't forget, you can always send your audience or reference materials after your webinar if you want. Use anecdotes and stories to illustrate your points. Audiences love to hear stories, especially stories they can relate to. Have you ever attended a webinar where the presenter starts telling a story? Your ears probably perked up because stories really do make people want to listen. And personal stories are especially effective. They show that you empathize with your audience and that you understand their problems. Also, on that note, try to put your audience at the center of your presentation. Use words like you and us instead of I and me. This helps you establish common ground with your audience and they'll really appreciate it. Stay away from peachy language. Focus on value like education and thought leadership. Now of course, the exception to this best practice is a bottom of the funnel sales presentation, where a sales pitch is actually expected. But most webinars attract attendees by offering something of true value. Ask yourself this question. Would you take time out of your day to attend this webinar? Even if your goal is to introduce your brand to a new audience, or to persuade people to do something, or to think differently. The objective of your webinar is to establish trust with your audience by providing education and value. Now, one of the most important steps of webinar presentation development is practicing and rehearsing. And you can either do this alone or with any co-presenters. Many webinar presenters overlook this step, especially if they've given their presentation before to an in-person audience. They think, I don't need to rehearse. I've given this talk before. I gave this talk last month at the conference. But a webinar presentation is very different from an in-person presentation. First of all, you'll need to get comfortable with the webinar platform you'll be using. So make sure there's an opportunity to rehearse your presentation using the chosen webinar platform. You'll also need to acclimate yourself to giving a presentation to an audience you can't see. It does take some getting used to. Also, and this applies to any type of presentation in person or online. You need to work on developing a nice, smooth delivery of your presentation. We've already established that you won't be using the script. But even with an outline or notes, you still don't want to just wing it. So be sure to practice the delivery of your presentation. Rehearse until you feel as comfortable as possible with what you'll say and how you will say it. Rehearsing your presentation is also important so that you can time it right. You'll want to make sure that it fits within the time you've been allotted for your presentation. And then based on your practice sessions, you can make modifications if necessary. So do practice. Of course, there's no such thing as practice makes perfect, but practicing and rehearsing is still a critical element of webinar presentation development. Plus the more you practice, the more confident you'll feel on the day of your webinar. 4. Creating Your Slides: If you've been invited to present during a webinar, you'll probably have some presentation slides. And creating those slides is the next topic we'll discuss. Rule number 1 of slide design is best practice. Number 8, less text is always better than more. Now, on the surface, this may seem counterintuitive. Why wouldn't you want to provide your audience with as much information on your slides as possible. But your slides are not the most important aspect of your presentation. They really aren't. The most important aspect of your presentation is what you're actually saying. And your audience can't pay attention to what you're actually saying. If they constantly feel obligated to read long paragraphs of text on their screens. Think about the slides I've been using in this presentation. I'm not bullet pointing everything I'm saying or every point I'm making. None of my slides contain more than just a few words of text or maybe a big bold image. And as a result, you're able to very easily absorb the information I'm showing you without distracting yourself from what I'm actually saying. Your slides should visually support what you're saying. They shouldn't mimic everything that comes out of your mouth. Rather than reading from your slides. Think talk to the slides. It may be helpful to think of your slides as highway billboards or road signs. Think about it. A sign doesn't contain more information than what a driver can safely absorb without running their car off the road. In the same way, don't force your audience to divide their attention between what they're seeing and what they're hearing. Now, I do understand that this is a hard habit to break. An almost every webinar I managed from my clients, the presenters load up their slides with huge blocks of text. And I understand that often these are advanced topics and concepts you are presenting on. But try to do yourself and your audience of favor. Try to use less text on your slides. I guarantee your content will be much more easily absorbed and you'll be a much more effective webinar presenter. By the way, one of the reasons that slides often contain way too much information is because presenters often design their slides for a dual-purpose. So here are two traps you don't want to fall into. First, your slides shouldn't serve as your personal teleprompter. We already talked about how disengaging a script is. But you know what's even worse than reading your entire presentation word for word from a piece of paper. Reading your entire presentation word for word from your slides. It's duplicative and you're adding nothing of value to your webinar. Again, your slides should visually support what you're saying. Second, your slides shouldn't double as audience handouts. Presenters do this with their slides all the time. They know that their audience expects to receive a copy of their slides after the webinar. And they want to make sure that their slides contain all of the information they covered. During the webinar. If your slides are doubling as audience handouts, they probably contain way too much text. Now if you do want to provide handouts after your webinar, that's fine. Just create another document that provides detailed information and send that to your audience after your webinar. Or even better, just add speaker notes to your slides and then export your slides as a PDF file and send that to your audience after your webinar. This slide is also a good reminder that you can and should use images on your slides. In fact, some of your slides might not need any text at all as much as possible. Use images to support what you're saying. People can very easily absorb information through images. And images create an emotional connection for the audience. A relevant and compelling image. Plus maybe just a few words of text is an ideal webinar slide. So where do you get nice professional-looking images from for your slides? Well, what you don't want to do is a Google image search and then download everything you need because there are probably usage restrictions on everything you'll find. So don't do that. It's not ethical. There are lots of subscription-based stock photo sites with millions of beautiful images that you can download and use. But stock photo sites are expensive. I like to use free stock photo sites. Here we have a few examples and there are lots of others to granted. You won't find the variety and quality featured on a pay site, but there's no cost. The images are all attribution free. And you can use them however you like. And usually you can find what you're looking for. A few more quick best practices relating to Slide creation. We talked earlier about keeping supporting data to a minimum. It's also important to make sure that things like charts and graphs are easy to interpret in the first place. It's really hard for your audience to pay attention to what you're saying when they're puzzling through a complicated flow chart or diagram. So try to keep those things as simple and as uncomplicated as possible. Don't use very small fonts or other elements on your slides. Keep in mind that some of your attendees may be viewing your webinar on their phones or on other small screens. You can also help ensure readability by using a very high color contrast. So don't use a light colored text on a light colored background or a dark colored text on a dark colored background. Some webinar platforms don't support slide transitions and animations. And even when they are supported, they might not appear smooth and fluid to the audience. So your best bet is to remove any movement effects from your slides before your webinar. Now if you absolutely need fade ins, you can still easily replicate the effect. Just create a build of sequential slides that introduces each new element one at a time to the audience. It will appear as if the text or the images are all appearing on a single slide. They won't be able to tell the difference. Here's a simple demonstration of a slide build that replicates movement. Now in this case, the slide numbers give it away. But as you can see, it's easy to replicate fade ins if you need to. 5. Delivering Your Presentation: Let's move on now to some practical things you can do during your webinar. Things that will optimize and enhance the quality of your webinar presentation. Let's talk first about audio. Almost every webinar platform now offers the ability for presenters to speak using a computer microphone. So let's review some important do's and don'ts to follow. When using a computer microphone. You've probably heard presenters who sound like they're underwater or in a tunnel. Well, those presenters are probably using the built-in microphone. Laptops were manufactured with those internal microphones pick-up a lot of noise from the environment and even from the computer itself. Rather than using a built-in laptop microphone, always use a USB microphone that you plug into your computer. With a USB headset mike, you'll sound great. Your voice will have that high fidelity radio station quality to it. And really there's no excuse not to use a USB headset microphone. You can get a USB headset mic on Amazon for less than about $20. A USB desktop microphone is also acceptable. Plus they look pretty cool too. Although unlike a USB headset mic, it may pick up some noise from the environment, from the room, urine. Also desktop microphones are a lot more expensive than headset microphones. So for your best bet, I would recommend a USB headset microphone. In fact, I want you to hear the difference between a USB headset microphone and a built-in laptop microphone. Right now, I'm speaking using a USB headset microphone. But when I switch to my built-in laptop microphone, you can hear how the audio quality decreases. And by the way, if you don't know what I mean by USB, this is the connection that your microphone should have. Also after you plug in your microphone, check the audio settings in your webinar software to make sure that the software is actually recognizing your microphone. Otherwise, you might end up using your built-in microphone without even realizing it. And finally, make sure you use a wired microphone. There should be this USB cord running from your microphone to your computer. Don't use a wireless microphone. Wireless technology is not always reliable enough for a webinar. So best practice number 13 is use a wired USB microphone, preferably a headset microphone for your webinars. I'll also mention that some webinar platforms offer the ability for presenters to use a telephone. But today, telephone audio is primarily used as an emergency backup. For instance, if your Internet connection is unstable or it goes down completely, you could switch over to telephone audio. Next up, let's discuss your internet connection. It should be fairly obvious that when you're broadcasting over the Internet, you want a connection that's as reliable as possible. Which means you'll want to avoid a wireless Internet connection. In other words, instead of Wi-Fi, use a wired Internet connection. Remember that good audio is dependent on your internet connection. You have a wired connection. If you have one of these coming out of your computer in Ethernet cable. If you don't see an ethernet cable and you're in an office, see if there's one you can tap into somewhere. If you're home, all you need to do is run the Ethernet cable from your computer to your modem or router. Now if your computer is in a different room from your modem or router, you can buy a really long ethernet cable, or just a bunch of short cables with couplers. But all of this equipment is very inexpensive. So there's really no excuse not to get set up right. Now, once you've got your computer hard wired, keep in mind that the default setting on some computers is for a wireless connection. Even if there's an Ethernet cable coming out of your computer, you might still need to manually disable the wireless setting and switch to a wired setting. So best practice number 14 is, if possible, use a wired Internet connection for your webinars. How about a few more practical presentation day best practices? And a lot of these are just common sense best practices. Give you a presentation from behind the closed door of a quiet room. Of course, these days in offices, finding any room at all is becoming increasingly difficult due to the trend in open office floor plans. But if private rooms are available, pick a quiet one. A room next to the employee break room probably isn't ideal, nor is a room with an outside facing wall, whether you're in an office or at home. I used to conduct webinars from an office in New York City and the only private room available to me had a window right on Fifth Avenue. And invariably there would be a fire somewhere in the neighborhood during my webinar, resulting in a long line of fire trucks racing down Fifth Avenue. So try to find a quiet room not only isolated from internal noise, but external noise as well. Also put up a do not disturb sign on your door to prevent interruptions. The last thing you want is someone knocking on your door or even worse, barging right in and making a big commotion. I find that handwritten Do Not Disturb signs work best. I think psychologically they imply more of an urgency than a printed sign does. Having a printout of your slides is a good idea to keep in mind that some webinar platforms don't include a preview feature. So if you have a printout of your slides, you'll be able to see what's coming up next. If you don't want to waste paper, you can also insert slide references in your outline. You could also open up your PowerPoint file on another computer for reference. Here's an obvious common sense best-practice. Keep some water nearby, especially if you're a presentation will be very long. Your throat can get very, very dry when talking nonstop for long periods of time. It's also wise to avoid drinking artificially sweetened beverages or dairy products before or during your webinar. These types of drinks can lead to a lot of throat clearing, which is something you'll definitely want to avoid during your webinar presentation. And make sure to silence or turn off any cell phones or other devices nearby. An email to. This will prevent any notification sounds from being broadcast to your audience during your webinar. And if you are at home, put the dogs and the cats away. Many webinars have been interrupted by barking dog when UPS makes an unexpected delivery, or a cat who jumps up on a laptop keyboard. So put the pets away. Generally speaking, take action to prevent any unwanted noise that might spoil your webinar. By the way, as you know, the focus of this presentation is specifically on webinar presenting and on how to become a more effective and successful webinar presenter. But if you'd like more general advice on the fundamentals of organizing and executing effective and successful webinars through the entire webinar production timeline. From promotion and registration, right, through execution and engagement, and ending up with reporting and follow up. I have another presentation called How to produce and host a successful webinar. So just a heads up on that if you're interested. 6. Engaging Your Audience: Let's shift gears now and talk about audience engagement during a webinar. During an in-person presentation, you can obviously see your audience. You can interpret facial expressions and body language. And these cues help you know whether you're engaging with your audience or not. And if not, you can adjust your style and tone accordingly. But during a webinar, you can't see your audience. You don't know who's paying attention to you and who's not. Plus, people feel less obligated to pay attention to you. They know you can't see them. And let's face it, it's a lot easier for people to become distracted with something else when sitting in front of a computer. So for all of these reasons, it's really important to build engagement into your webinar from the start. Think about ways to keep your audience focused on your message and involved in your webinar. Here's one easy way. Keep things moving. Don't stay on one slide too long. Think of ways to continually pull your audience back in and refocus their attention. Any new image that appears on the screen can help make this happen. So don't let your presentation stagnate visually, keep it moving. Q and a is an important part of almost every webinar. That's usually the first thing that comes to mind when people think of audience engagement during a webinar. Years ago, we would open up the phone lines for Q and a. And as you can imagine, this led to a lot of problems. Who speaks first? Well, people talk over each other. And then of course you have to contend with all of the background noise generated by open phone lines. I once had a webinar attendee who thought my Q and a session was the perfect time to do some vacuuming. Anyway, these days, for formal webinar's, attendees, type their questions over their computers. A webinar moderator vets those questions as they come in and then verbally relays them to the presenters. Usually the Q and a session happens at the end of the webinar. But presenters can encourage questions at anytime. The questions won't get answered until later, but asking the audience to interact with you keeps them engaged. So remind attendees during your presentation that they can submit questions. Since we're talking about Q and a and audience engagement. This is a good time to talk about the role of a webinar moderator. Maybe you'll be asked to moderate a webinar at some point in the future. Most webinars are linear, like this chart shows. Of course this chart is only an example. There are many ways to structure a webinar and the roles of the participants. But this chart represents a typical webinar. Essentially, a good webinar moderator is the traffic cop of the webinar. They're usually the first to speak. They welcome the audience. They introduced the presenters. Some moderators like to come back on the air in between presenters to thank the last presenter and introduce the next presenter. And of course, as the name implies, the moderator facilitates Q and a and closes everything out at the end of the webinar. If a webinar features a panel discussion rather than individual presentations, then the moderators role is to keep the conversation tightly focused in on time. Some webinars will include both a host and a moderator. The host will open and close the webinar in an official capacity. But the moderator is really still the voice of the webinar that holds it all together. And the moderator, of course, still facilitates Q and a. My number 1 piece of advice for a webinar moderators is this. Don't be shy about taking charge. For example, if a presenter forgets to unmute themselves, let them know. If a presenter exceeds their allotted time, recommend that they start wrapping things up. If there's a technical glitch, reassure the audience that the problem is being taken care of. As the voice of the webinar and as an advocate for the attendees. If anything goes wrong, a good webinar moderator gets things back on track. Here's an easy tip that moderators can use to increase audience engagement during a webinar. If you're moderating Q and a, use attendees first names. It's amazing how many moderators don't do this. Attendees really like to hear their names. And he keeps everyone attentive during the Q and a session as they wait to hear if their own name will be used. The presenters answering the questions can do this too. So if the moderator asks you a question submitted by Dave, use Dave's name and your response. That's a great question, Dave, or thanks Dave for your question. However, use first names only. Don't use last names. Some attendees may want to remain anonymous. So do honor that. By the way, remember the best practice about keeping it moving? With many webinars, the screen action really slows down during Q and a. Usually a standard Q and a slide comes up to introduce the segment. And that slide stays there for the entire Q and a session, 15 minutes or even more. Sometimes. There's no reason why you can't use multiple Q&A slides. You just move to a new one every once and awhile to keep things fresh. Every time a new slide appears, it helps refocus attention. Also, here's another tip. If you're not appearing on camera during your webinar. And we'll talk about using live video and just a little while. Then it's also nice to show the presenters names and faces on a slide during Q and a, the audience might be hearing several voices during a Q and a session. So having a slide that puts faces and names to voices is helpful. One last best practice relating to Q and a. Sometimes webinar attendees have few or even no questions. So what do you do? And the webinar Early, how embarrassing? Instead, the moderator should plan four or five seed questions to use if this occurs. These should be the ideal questions that you hope will be asked during the webinar. Four or five questions should get you through a 15 minute Q and a session. And the audience won't even know that the questions weren't actually asked. You can just make up names. Even if the audience does have questions, they might not be relevant or even appropriate. So you can still slip in a couple of your seed questions if necessary. If you're the moderator, you can come up with the questions yourself. Or you can ask the presenters in advance for their most hoped for questions. Either way, just let the presenters know what questions you might be using so that they know what to expect. Here's another effective way to engage your audience during a webinar. Most webinar platforms offer polling functionality. So you can use polls to allow attendees to interact with you in real time. This is a great way to increase audience engagement during a webinar. However, every webinar poll should meet the following test. Does it add value to the webinar? Do attendees gain something by participating? For instance, you could use a poll to guide your presentation. Which point should I cover next? Or a pole can let attendees see how they compare with their peers on an important issue. In both cases, you're engaging with your audience, but you're also adding value to the webinar. A webinar pole must offer value. Don't include polls that appear self-serving. Like you're just collecting demographic data from your audience so you can mark it to them later. And don't include a poll just for the sake of including a poll either. Even though poles can increase audience engagement, a webinar with no poles is better than one with polls that serve only you or that serve no purpose at all. Because any advantage you gain by increasing engagement is canceled out by the negative perception you're creating. Finally, once you've collected the poll responses, make sure to share the results. If you don't share the results, then the audience gets nothing out of it. And they'll feel like you wasted their time for your benefit only. Let's also talk about engaging your audience with live video. There was a time when it was rare for a webinar to feature live video of the presenters. Today, it's become commonplace, but there's no rule that says you have to use live video in a webinar. Using live video is very much a risk reward type of scenario. On the reward side, live video might make your webinar more engaging. Sure. On the risk side, you might actually end up degrading the quality of your webinar. First of all, live video uses up a lot of internet bandwidth. Unless you have a high-speed wired Internet connection, you risk a webinar that features low quality video with unsynchronized audio. The other challenge is that it's much more difficult for presenters to present on camera. Rather than focusing 100% on your content and on the delivery of that content. You'll also have to focus on your camera lens. In fact, in a lot of ways, it's actually easier to give a presentation to an in-person audience then to an online audience. Think about it during an in-person event, the presenter can look around the room, look down at their notes, maybe even walk around a little. And it all seems perfectly natural to the audience. But during a webinar, your faces right there in front of each and every attendee. From their perspective, it feels like you're talking directly to them. So in order for it to work well, you really need to maintain steady eye contact with your webcam at all times. Even looking down at your notes will seem awkward to the audience. And in fact, there are lots of reasons a presenter may need to look away from their camera during a webinar. Is the moderator trying to get your attention in a private chat box? Or do you need to tap a key on your keyboard to advance your slides? It takes a very practiced and polished webinar presenter to convincingly pull off a webcam presentation. So you need to balance the potential reward of increased engagement with the very real possible risk of a clumsy, awkward looking, low-quality webinar. Of course, there are times when using live video is an acceptable risk and even a good idea. A webinar featuring a panel discussion rather than slide presentations. Good use case for live webcam video. Without needing to navigate through slide presentations, the panelists can focus on their cameras as they engage in conversation. And since there's no slide presentation, the audience attention isn't divided between video and slides. But for a traditional slide presentation webinar ask yourself if there's a compelling reason why the audience needs to see you. For most webinars, the answer is probably no. On the other hand, if you're a well-known personality or even a celebrity, then you'll probably need to turn on your camera. The audience will demand it. If you do decide to use live video for whatever reason, make sure you have a high-speed, hard wired Internet connection. If you think that's important for webinar audio, it is crucial for webinar video. It's also important to practice your presentation on camera. Try to get comfortable with delivering and navigating through your presentation while focusing on your camera lens as much as possible. I mentioned my other presentation earlier, how to produce and host a successful webinar. If you'd like more tips and best practices relating to live video, that presentation goes into more detail about how to get set up right and look your best on camera. Also, I'll provide more tips for presenting on camera during Q and a, which is coming up soon, so stick around for that. In the meantime though, that brings us to our final best practice, best practice number 25. It's a very straightforward best practice, but it's one that many people struggle with. You know, when the butterflies kick in, many presenters race through their content in an unconscious effort to finish up as quickly as possible. But remember, you're in the spotlight for a reason. You were asked to give a webinar presentation because you are an expert on your subject matter, right? So try to slow down and enjoy the limelight. Try to be yourself. Try to have some fun. Now I know that this is easier said than done. But the more presentations you give, the more comfortable you'll get. And if you don't already, eventually, you'll start to really enjoy the experience. 7. Q&A: Okay. It's Q and a time. Of course, you're not viewing a live presentation right now. This is a recording, but audience Q and a can be a very valuable part of any presentation. So what I've done here is I've compiled a bunch of really great questions that I've received over the years while giving this presentation live. And I'll provide answers for them now so that you'll be able to benefit from them as if you were attending a live webinar right now, and we're part of a live audience. So here's our first question. You mentioned that it's important to provide value early in a webinar. My company insists that I provide background information about the company at the beginning of my webinars, what can I do? Well, if your company mandates at this be done, there might not be a whole lot you can do unless you can convince them that attendees are much more interested in receiving the value they were promised as quickly as possible. Certainly a reciting of some boilerplate corporate background information isn't what they showed up for. It's best to save that for the end of the webinar after trust has been established with the audience. But if your company insists that this happens at the beginning of the webinar, try to minimize other introductory material as much as you can. Keep audience instructions like how to submit questions as short as possible. If you have one, eliminate the agenda slide and introduce speakers by name, title, and organization, rather than reading biographical information. Try to get to the main webinar content within the first couple minutes of the webinar. If you wait any longer, you risk alienating your audience before the webinar really ever begins. Can you repeat some of the types of Webinar titles that you said have been shown to increase registration rates? Well, a title should always be descriptive and convey value, but certain phrases have a track record of working well. For example, titles that include best practices or secrets of or how to work well, because there's an explicit value proposition, it's clear what the audience will get by attending. Now, granted, you can sometimes end up with some tacky sounding or even suspicious sounding titles. When you're using those types of phrases, you're working for a very buttoned down company, or you're presenting a webinar on a very serious minded topic. You might not want to use those kinds of playful titles. For example, a webinar titled something like three secrets to doubling your income in one week. Sounds a little sketchy, but many case try to make sure that your titles are always specific and communicate what's in it for the attendee. You said that webinar presenters should never script their presentations. Is there ever a time when it's okay to use a script? I did mention that it's okay to script your opening remarks. Let's say you're the webinar host and you have some introductory comments to make at the beginning of the webinar, like how the audience can submit questions. It's okay to use a script for these formal types of announcements. Likewise, if you're the host and you're introducing each of the presenters, you'll certainly need to read from a script. If you're citing any biographical information they give you, you're not going to memorize all of that. It's also okay to use a script at the end of a webinar if you were making closing remarks. Even if you're an individual presenter during the webinar, it might be okay to write out your opening lines. It will help you get started and then you can transition to your more improvised outlined material. I would suggest, however, to practice first, you don't necessarily want it to sound like you're reading from a piece of paper. So rehearse your scripted remarks until it sounds like you're speaking off the cuff. And it should be obvious that it's also okay to use a script if you're making a formal address or press announcement or something like that. But that's not the usual use case for a webinar. For the typical webinar, you'll want your delivery to sound as conversational as possible. So try to stay away from scripted material as much as you can. Should I incorporate humor into my presentation? Well, I wouldn't necessarily try to inject jokes and one-liners into a presentation. If you happen to be a funny person, that should naturally come out during your presentation anyway. If not, you don't want your humor to sound manufactured. However, I would recommend incorporating stories into your presentation. As I mentioned earlier, audiences loved to hear stories, especially personal stories related to the subject matter you're discussing. So try to use anecdotes and stories to liven up your content and connect with your audience. When is it okay to sell during a webinar? There are times when it's perfectly acceptable to sell during a webinar. And those times are when you explicitly invite your audience to attend a sales webinar. As long as they know what to expect coming in. They won't feel like they were duped or fooled with a bait and switch. So if there's a segment of your prospect list that you think is ready to buy. You can invite them to a webinar designed to sell. But most webinars are not sales. Webinar's, even if that's the ultimate goal. Instead, they're designed to offer something of value. Insight, education, thought, leadership. In the process, you're establishing yourself as an authority in your field and gaining their trust. Logically, sale should follow. That said, even with a purely educational webinar, it should be okay to include a call to action at the end of your webinar or in a follow-up email, as long as you're not blatantly making sales pitches throughout the entire webinar. I'm a webinar organizer. How can I convince my presenters to practice their presentations? Well, you might never be able to convince a presenter that they need to practice. However, you can mandate that they attend a dry run a couple of days before the webinar. This is getting more into webinar production best practices as opposed to a webinar presentation best practices. But every webinar should be preceded by a dry run. Even if it's not a full dress rehearsal of content, It's critical that all of the presenters have the opportunity to get familiar and comfortable with the webinar platform and receive direction and instruction from the webinar organizer or producer on how things will be run during the webinar and what everybody's respective role will be. And maybe since they are required to make time for the dry run anyway, they'll also be willing to rehearse their presentations during that same session with everybody present to provide feedback. And you repeat your tips for providing handouts after a webinar. So the issue I covered was using your presentation slides as an audience handout. Follow my best practice of designing your slides to visually support, not mimic what you're saying, then your slides can't really be used as a handout. They won't be detailed enough. On the other hand, if you design your presentation slides to double as an audience handout, then they'll contain way too much text for a webinar presentation. So one solution is to create slides for your webinar and then create another detailed document that can be used as a handout. Or the solution I like best, just add speaker notes to your slides. In PowerPoint, this can be found under the View menu. During the webinar, the audience won't see the notes. But after the webinar, you can simply export the slides as a PDF file that includes the notes. This way the handout will include your original slides along with whatever detailed information you gave the audience during the webinar. Now, exporting is a little tricky. You have to fiddle with the PowerPoint settings, but you should be able to find instructions by doing a quick Google search. Once you know how to do it, it's quite easy. And finally, probably the easiest solution is to record the webinar and use the recording as a handout, so to speak. The recording of course, will include your audio and all of your slides. What were the sites you recommended for slide images? I showed a few different sites. Pixabay, Pexels, Unsplash, and there are lots more. The nice thing about these sites is that they don't cost anything. You don't have to provide credit. And you can use the images however you like. I definitely recommend adding images to your slides wherever possible. Remember that one of the challenges of webinar presenting is that you can't see your audience. You don't know who's paying attention and who's not. And because you don't know this, you have to build as much engagement into your webinar as possible to hold their attention. Not only do images add some color and interests to your slides, but every time you bring up a new image, it refocus his attention on your presentation. Even if your content is very dry and technical, you should still be able to find some images, even generic images that relate in some way to what you're talking about. Try to sprinkle them in here and there. And maybe there are some places in your presentation where you don't need any text at all. If you can make a point with just an image that supports what you're saying. That's almost a perfect webinar slide. Can you talk more about slide animations? Is there ever a time when it's okay to use them in a webinar. It really depends on what webinar platform you're using. Webinar platforms generally offer one of two ways to present slides during the webinar. Some platforms allow you to upload your slides directly into the webinar platform itself. Other platforms force you to use screen-sharing functionality. The audience can literally see whatever you want to show them from your own computer, including a slideshow. The first approach where you upload your slides is usually incompatible with slide transitions and animations. Usually when you upload your slides into a webinar platform, static images are created if your slides with none of the original movement effects they may have contained. If you have any animations in your slides, they either won't work at all or they'll all be piled up together, ruining the slide. With the other approach where you share your screen. Obviously, if your audience can see whatever you can see on your own computer, there'll be able to see all of the transitions and animations in your slides. But even then, you should be careful. Remember that you're transmitting your Screenshare over the Internet. What looks smooth and fluid on your screen might not necessarily look that way on the other side. So I usually recommend removing all movement effects from your slides regardless of the platform you're using. But as I mentioned earlier, if you absolutely need to have elements fading in and out on a single slide, you can easily build a sequence of slides that replicates that effect. Can you review the webinar audio best practices? Again, I get lots of questions about Webinar audio because frankly, audio is one of the most difficult things to get right during a webinar. If you want the best possible audio quality, get yourself a wired USB headset microphone that you plug into your computer. Then after plugging it in, before every webinar, check the audio settings in your webinar software to make sure it's actually being recognized and you're actually using it. In addition, it's super important that you use a high-speed wired Internet connection, not Wi-Fi, because the quality of your audio depends on the quality of your Internet connection. I would highly recommend that you spend the time and make the relatively small investment in getting the right equipment and setting up the right way. You and your audience will notice a huge difference in the quality of your audio. I want to use an Ethernet cable to connect my computer to my router, but my laptop doesn't have an ethernet port. What do I do? Yes, some of the newer laptops don't have ethernet ports. They are too thin to allow one. But there is a simple solution. You can buy an adapter that plugs into a USB port on your laptop. Of course, some newer laptops don't have USB ports or don't use the traditional type of USB port. So in that case, you might need to get an adapter for your adapter. Do you ever recommend allowing attendees to verbally ask questions rather than typing them? Not for a webinar, assuming you're defining a webinar as a formal external event. First of all, some webinar platforms won't let you do this. And some platforms that do have this capability don't offer it in the webinar versions of their software. But in any case, for a webinar, you're really asking for trouble. If you let attendees unmute their microphones. Remember, this is supposed to be a formal controlled event, which means it's important that you be able to screen questions in advance. You don't know who your attendees are. They could be anyone. You wouldn't want to be embarrassed by an attendee asking an inappropriate question or just being inappropriate. There have been cases of attendees behaving quite badly when allowed to come on the air. And if you're a company, you also don't want your competition bad mouthing you. So it's important to be able to screen the questions first. The other issue is that you can't rely on your audience to have decent sounding audio. In many cases, they'll just be speaking into their built-in computer microphones in noisy locations, you'll end up spoiling the quality of the audio on your webinar. And finally, it's just a lot more practical to use typed Q and a during a webinar. That way, everything stays organized. A. Moderator vets all of the questions that come in, queues them up, and then verbally relays the best questions to the presenters. You don't have to worry about trying to figure out who has a question in the first place on muting people, people speaking over each other, or any of the other challenges that go along with allowing attendees to verbally ask questions. Can you explain the difference between a webinar host and a webinar moderator. Again. Of course, these terms may be used in different ways by different people and sometimes they're used interchangeably. But when I talk about a webinar host, I'm talking about someone who opens and closes a webinar. They welcome the audience, they introduce the speakers. They provide instructions concerning how to submit questions. And at the end of the webinar, they provide closing remarks. Sometimes the host is also the moderator, and sometimes the host and moderator or two different people. The moderator is the person that drives a panel discussion forward with questions and keeps it focused, and also facilitates audience Q and a by verbally relaying questions to the speakers are presenters. There are also other roles like producer or organizer. This is the person that essentially directs the entire production and execution of the webinar and ensures that everything runs as smoothly as possible. Usually the producer is a behind the scenes person, but sometimes the producer also acts as the host or the moderator. For example, when I produce webinars from my own clients, they sometimes asked me to serve as their on-air host and moderator as well. What's a good way to use a poll to collect additional data from my attendees while making them think the poll is for their benefit. I mentioned earlier than a webinar poll needs to add value to the webinar. If you use polls that are obviously self-serving or serve no purpose at all, then you're insulting the audience by asking them to participate in the poll. So a webinar Paul must offer value to attendees. But that doesn't mean that you can't use a poll to learn something about your audience. When coming up with poll questions, try to make it a win-win scenario for both you and them. For example, you could ask the audience about their opinion on something which might help you qualify them for future follow up by your sales team. But you could frame the poll question in a way that shows them that answering the question will help them understand how they compare with their peers on an important issue. Let's do one more question. And here it is. You mentioned that it's important to think carefully about whether or not to use live video during a webinar. If we do decide to use video, do you have any additional advice? Before answering that question? I'll first reiterate that using live video during a webinar is very much a risk, reward type of scenario. The potential to increase engagement is there, but there's also the risk of degrading the quality of your webinar. Not only is it much more difficult to present on camera, which could decrease your effectiveness as a presenter. But if you don't have the right equipment and set up, you could end up with a webinar featuring low quality video. Ask yourself whether your audience has a compelling need to see you, or whether your presentation could be just as effective and maybe even more so without live video. Now to answer the question, if you do insist on using live video, what can you do to improve your chances of success? Well, first of all, make sure you have a high-speed wired Internet connection. If you think that's important for just audio alone, it's critical when using video. I would also recommend investing in a high-quality external webcam. Rather than using your built-in laptop camera. Not only will the quality be better, but you can adjust the position of the lens for the best angle. Make sure your background is professional and uncluttered. You don't want the audience to be distracted with what's going on behind you. And you'll also need to experiment with lighting. Try to position yourself so that your light source is in front of you, not behind you. But the most important piece of advice is to practice. You need to get as comfortable as possible with giving your presentation while focusing your attention on your camera with a minimum amount of looking away. You might also want to recruit someone to provide feedback on how you look on camera and then make adjustments based on that feedback. Thank you so much for viewing this course. You now know 25 best practices for developing your webinar presentation, creating your slides, delivering your presentation, and engaging with your webinar audience. And you even gain some valuable insight by hearing the answers to some frequently asked questions. Be sure to apply all of these best practices to your next webinar presentation. And you'll be a much more effective and successful webinar presenter.