In this chapter, we are going to focus on preparing your presentation. Keep in mind, this chapter is only about the topic that you choose to focus on for your webinar as well as the platform and technology that you use. Honing your own skills as a presenter and being on camera will be discussed in a later chapter.
This will be a step-by-step process that will take you from only knowing the topic that you are going to present and having the equipment hooked up to being as prepared for your webinar as you can be.
Step 1: Choose your Topic
So, the first step is going to be choosing a topic. This was covered already in detail, but it is worth mentioning here again as the first step. If you know what your niche is going to be, and you have figured out what your presentation will be on, then you are ready to proceed to the next steps in the process, detailed below.
If you do not have a topic yet, then you need to go back to Chapter Two and figure out what your presentation is going to be on. If you don’t have a topic, there is very little point in proceeding to the next step, because you can’t even advertise properly unless you know what your webinar will be about.
Step 2: Begin Promoting Your Webinar Months in Advance
One of the most effective ways to promote a webinar is to use an email marketing list. Sending out notices about your upcoming webinar to a large email list will definitely result in some sign-ups, assuming that the list is mostly composed of people who might find the topic interesting.
If you already have an email list, then you can start promoting about 60 days before your webinar. If you do not already have an email list then you need to start promoting much, much earlier, so that you can build your email list. You will have to find some way to direct people to an email list and get them to sign up. Of course, you may just choose to use another promotion method until you can get an email list built up.
Step 3: Write a Script
Now you want to write a script for your presentation. Don’t worry if you read it afterward and think it sounds horrible or if you struggle while creating it. Just make a basic skeleton of a script and then you can fill in the blanks later. Start by deciding what you are going to present.
If you can figure out what exactly you want to say and the way that you want to say it, you can outsource a professional writer to do most of the writing for you. The downside of this option is that you aren’t really putting your personality into the presentation and people will probably notice.
Step 4: Prepare Your Slides
Your next step, once you have a script, will be to prepare your slides and get them to fit into the script. You can either go through the script first and make notations where you want to include the slides and what you want them to be, or you can do it the opposite way.
This means making the slideshow first and then piecing your script together around the slides – or just writing the entire script around your slides. You can use a program like PowerPoint to show the slides and then use programs like Photoshop if you need to make particular graphics that aren’t available on your presentation software.
Step 5: Determine if You Need Other Multimedia
Decide if you want to use other multimedia with your presentation. For example, you may want to use a video if it makes a point better than your slide can. You may also need to use other software programs like if you are trying to do a demonstration of a particular technique.
Whatever multimedia you need for your webinar, you want to make sure it is prepared well in advance so that you can use it on practice runs as described below. You don’t want to use it for the first time on webinar day and find out that the video you built 15 minutes of your webinar around is unusable.
Step 6: Practice Your Presentation
You definitely need to practice. You need to practice using the platform with a few sample attendees. That’s why these platforms generally price monthly or yearly rather than by the webinar. Practice your webinars several times and record yourself so that you can play back and see how your facial features look, how your body language was, how you looked in the lights and against the backdrop, and most of all, how professional-sounding your presentation was.
Step 7: Do a Dress Rehearsal
It is impossible to stress this point too much. You need to do at least one full dress rehearsal just as you would on your launch day. You will use all of the equipment you have set up, all of the slides and other multimedia and wear your professional clothing and use the lights and backdrops. Keep going if you mess up and act like it is live. The only difference is that you will have a much smaller audience.
After you have finished the dress rehearsal (which ideally should be a day or two before your real webinar) then review the tape and figure out where the problem areas were. If you had a technical issue or stumbled over part of your presentation then figure out a strategy for solving these problems before the actual webinar.
Step 8: Start Your Presentation Early
Finally, the last step is going to be to start your webinar earlier than you think you should. Start at least an hour earlier than the time that people are supposed to show up. There are several reasons for this. First, you have time to solve last minute technical problems, second, you can answer questions from early-arriving attendees so that you can spend more time on other questions in your webinar and third, you will feel much less pressure if you have already been there for an hour rather than showing up five minutes before start time.