Earlier, we mentioned that the chapter on preparation wasn’t anything to do with improving your skills as a presenter. The reason for that is that this chapter is specifically devoted to making you the best presenter possible, someone that can engage the audience and get them to want to come back for future seminars.
If you are planning to do all of your webinars with screen share and have no intention of getting on camera, then you probably won’t need the tips featured throughout this chapter. If that’s the case, then you only have to worry about your audio. However, bear in mind that you will not be very engaging unless you switch to video once in a while. People are going to get bored staring at your screen, particularly when you are explaining a long concept and there is nothing going on.
We will identify the important parts of your presentation and what you need to do to make the best impression possible. You want to come across as a professional expert in your niche and this guide will help you get there.
A lot of how engaging you will be with your audience depends upon how confident you are in yourself and in the material that you are presenting. Have you heard the “Five P’s” adage – Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance? That is very true when it comes to presenting your webinar. If you know your material, and have practiced it relentlessly as suggested in this book, then you will have the confidence you need in your presentation. You also need to have confidence in yourself as a presenter, and this will usually come with time.
If you are going on camera, then how you dress is going to be very important. You want to reek of success and that means it should be reflected in your speech, your body language, the equipment that you are using, the presentation that you are making and, you guessed it, the clothes that you are wearing.
Wear professional clothing. Wear whatever you would normally wear if you went on a job interview with a big name company. If you don’t normally dress up for work, you may want to get an outfit to wear on your webinars.
Lighting & Backdrop
Again, this will depend whether or not you are planning to go on camera. If so, then you might want to take a look at your lighting set up and how your backdrop appears on camera. You want a nice, neutral background for webinars, some kind of professional setting or simply a blank wall. Many people actual build small sets in a corner of their home office specifically for webinars or making YouTube videos, with backdrops that work well on camera and lighting that is positioned properly to put you in the best light possible – in this case, literally.
Your facial expressions are important facets of your presentation as well. Verbal communication is only one of the ways that we communicate. As thinking beings, we are trained to look for the meanings behind words and that means facial expressions, body language and much more. Your facial expressions will be telegraphing a message to your attendees, so what do you want them to say?
Obviously, one of the most important parts of using facial expressions correctly in a webinar is to smile. Make sure that you smile a lot as you are giving your presentation. It will make you more pleasant to watch and put your attendees at ease.
Body language is also really important, although you might not have to worry about too much below the chest or neck, depending upon where you have your webcam positioned. Mostly, you are going to have to worry about your hands.
Many people wave their hands while they are talking or move their head. Just keep in mind that you don’t want to distract them from what you are saying, so try to limit your movement as much as possible.
Diction and Tone
Your diction – how you pronounce words and your enunciation of them – is an important factor in webinars. You want to make sure that you speak clearly and slowly enough for people to follow, but not so slow that you leave them waiting for your next sentence. A natural cadence and a friendly tone will help a great deal.
One of my favorite suggestions to give to people who are thinking about doing webinars or any other sort of public speaking is to take acting classes. Acting classes are actually really good about teaching you how to talk properly and you would be surprised how the principles you’ll learn will apply in situations like presenting a webinar.
There are lots of other ideas to keep your attendees engaged while they are in the presentation. Here are just a few of them:
- Give them a gift at the end: You can also give your attendees a gift at the end of the webinar. This can be anything from a digital download of a great eBook on the topic to any other sort of digital product you can offer.
- Ask and answer questions throughout the presentation: If you want to keep your attendees engaged then ask them questions throughout the presentation. Ask things like: “Does that make sense,” or “Is everyone getting that??” You can also answer questions throughout the presentation, which will keep people interested and engaged as well.
- Ask rhetorical poll questions: Asking rhetorical poll questions is a great way to keep them thinking, because they have to engage their brain in order to come up with an answer. For example, you could ask: “How many of you have felt frustrated trying to make money online or “Who here has ever tried to start a website and failed.”
- Make sure to change things up to keep them from getting bored: Switching from one speaker to another, adding multimedia into the presentation or just taking a break for a ten minute question-and-answer session will break up the monotony and keep your people engaged.