I pride myself on being a pretty good presenter on stage and online. I engage with the audience. Ask questions throughout the presentation. And I use visual aids that are stimulating, engaging and humorous. However, webinars are a different animal. When webinars go wrong, you can loose 450 people’s attention, and it is impossible to get it back. I recently hosted a webinar that taught me more about my talents and limitations than I had learned in 15 years of technology training.
Since most of my clients are working from home and occasionally their office, I have been hosting more webinars. LinkedIn, cyber security and mobile technology workshops are live and on demand for financial advisors and wholesalers. The average human attention span has shrunk from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8.5 seconds in 2015, and our digital life makes it worse! My recent webinar ended well, but my challenges don’t have to be yours. Here are some tips to win with webinars:
- Technology Check – I had a technology check three days before the webinar, but my webinar platform failed one day before the event. Tech checks MUST be done before the webinar. I check my laptop, iPad, iPhone, cords and everything else before my live events. The same is true for webinars. Confirm your wifi (or ethernet), camera connection, slides and webinar platform (Zoom is recommended). Something will eventually go wrong. Your Tech Check helps you be prepared.
- Piano Tuning – The world’s best pianist know you never play on an out of tune piano. No matter how good you are, you will sound horrible. I was used to using Zoom for meetings and webinars, and that day I was using a different service. Stick with what you know. From now on I will use Zoom or the client’s service. They can control the service, and I will join in. I don’t use other people’s laptops, and I don’t use webinar platforms I don’t know inside and out.
- Practice – I practice every aspect of my presentations. Something can always go wrong, and it usually does. I prepare for Wifi failures, equipment failures and televisions falling off the wall (yes, it REALLY happened). The more you practice, the more you will be ready for any challenge that comes your way.
- Assistance – Utilize interns, administrative assistants or other employees to help. I do the speaking and slide advancement. Hire someone to let you know about questions and let late comers into the meeting. When webinars go wrong, the speaker is trying to do it all. For a live event, I can’t control the lighting, wifi, sound, content and speaking. Focus on your talents and hire other professionals to help with the rest.
- Engagement – This webinar was only 25 minutes. That was not a problem.However, shorter webinars make it challenging to engage with the audience. Insure the attendees know how to raise their hands, ask questions and feel like they are part of the discussion. No one likes to be lectured to for 25 minutes or 2 hours. When webinars go wrong, it is partly because the facilitator does not engage with the audience.
The Boy Scout Motto is: Be Prepared. You can’t prevent every problem, but you can prepare for as many as you. When webinars go wrong, take a deep breath and proceed as you have practiced and trained. Like the commercial says: never let them see you sweat.
Scientifically Speaking, of course…
Need some help preparing yourself or your team for a webinar? Our ambassadors can help.