by Adam Noar
Webinars are popping up everywhere.
Presentation webinars can be a really powerful tool for engaging clients on a one-to-one basis, regardless of the size of the audience.
Here’s how to design a webinar that will grab your audience by the eyeballs and keep them glued to your presentation, so you can motivate them to take action on your products or services.
First things first …
Put Together Some Killer Content
The most important key to your webinars (or any presentation for that matter) success is making sure that you develop some interesting, engaging, and educational content.
If your material sucks, or doesn’t provide fresh insights, your audience will tune out and probably sign off immediately.
After all, your audience is essentially “invisible”. Therefore, they don’t feel ANY guilt a face-to-face audience member might feel for tuning out or exiting your presentation altogether.
Here’s a few things to consider when developing your webinar content:
- Make sure to give several tips or secrets that the audience would not normally find elsewhere.
- Choose topics that are very specific; for example, “5 steps for picking the perfect colors for your next presentation,” not “How to create a presentation.”
- Carefully plan your content well ahead of time.
- Start with your most important content to spark interest and prevent loosing your audience early on.
Hook Your Audience Early
Start your webinar with a compelling point, a fascinating revelation, or a powerful demonstration of your product or ability. This “hook” will draw your audience in, so when you introduce yourself they’re sure to listen.
Although it may seem logical to begin by introducing yourself, your company, etc., your audience needs to have a reason to listen to you BEFORE they’ll be interested in your name or position.
A strong question that begs to be answered or a hard-hitting fact will command attention and pave the way for an effective presentation. For example, “Today I am going to show you the top 10 reasons why 90% of presentations fail miserably.”
Provide Some Structure
Keep in mind that your webinar audience gets easily distracted.
Emails pop up, phone calls come through, and visitors stop by. Therefore, you need to make sure you define your objectives and provide a clear structure that lets your audience understand where you are in the presentation.
Direct Your Audience
With face-to-face presentations, you have the ability to use your hands or laser pointers to show people exactly what you want them to look at on the slide.
However, with webinars you do not have this luxury.
Therefore, you need to make sure that your slides do the work for you. For example, if you have a slide with 3 boxes and want to call attention to one of them, at the beginning, you can use an animation effect that highlights that particular box. However, don’t abuse animations with your webinar. More on that in a sec.
Include A Photo Of Yourself At The Beginning Of Your Talk
Let people see who is talking to them early on in the webinar. It’s always nice to put a face to a name.
Don’t be the “Phantom Of The Opera” with your webinar.
Reduce The Text And Increase The Visuals
If you want to quickly put your webinar audience to sleep all you have to do is make sure you fill your slides with tons of lengthy text.
On the other hand, if you want to EXCITE your audience, make sure to include lots of relevant images, screenshots, or graphics. For example, imagine you’re giving a presentation on the health risks of smoking. Instead of giving a long list of boring bullets on the various smoking health issues, why not read the stats but show a bunch of shocking photos of people with smoking related conditions?
In a webinar, you need to use VIBRANT, EMOTIONAL, and MEANINFUL images.
Vibrant: Make them colorful and big!
Emotional: Use images that inspire people and motivate them to take action.
Meaningful: Use images that are directly related to your point. Don’t use images because the slides look boring. An image should help your audience understand and remember what you said.
Powerful visuals make an impact and give your audience something nice to look at.
Where to get these visuals? Don’t steal them off the Internet! Check out my eBook, Slides Made Simple, for finding high quality pictures that are free and legal. Also, if you’re looking to understand the differences between the leading stock photography websites check out my detailed stock photo comparison review here.
Don’t Linger On A Particular Slide
People have very short attention spans with webinars.
Two minutes is a super long time for your audience to watch the same slide when they can’t see you. Yes, they can hear you, but vision trumps hearing — that’s just how the brain works. Use more slides than you would for a live presentation, and change the slides between 30 seconds and 1 minute.
Keep in mind however, the more lively your voice and the more compelling your message, the longer you can keep up a slide.
Limit Your Use Of Animation
When you switch from slide to slide, interest is created because our brains become alert when we see a change. That might lead you to assume that you should use lots of animation. Why not make the text fly in? But animated text is ANNOYING; your audience will hate it.
Moreover, many webinar services are not high-definition and the animation will be somewhat blurry. Finally, there’s often a short lag between what you do and when the audience sees it. If you use a lot of animation, what you’re saying and what your audience is seeing will become out of sync; this confuses them.
On the other hand, a simple animation that actually makes a point clearer, such as an animated diagram showing a process step-by-step, can help keep your audience interested.
So if you are going to use animation make sure its absolutely necessary and keep it to a minimum.
Since people can’t see you, your voice needs to be more lively than usual.
Standing as you speak is a helpful technique. You might even want to try putting up photos of friends around the computer screen so you can imagine that you’re talking to real people.
Do WHATEVER IT TAKES to make yourself come alive during your talk.
Also, if you have a script (and you should) be careful not to sound as if you’re reading it. You accomplish this by rehearsing your presentation over and over until you can basically give the presentation in your sleep.
If you can, record your practice sessions and make note of any corrections you need to make to certain areas of your presentation. This is also a good way to check and see if your animated enough!
Know How To Use The Webinar Software
This one might seem like an obvious one, but I’ve seen it over and over where people just can’t figure out how to do basic things when controlling their webinar.
An easy way to piss off your audience is to not know how to properly control the webinar software. Learn the software, practice, and have an assistant (if you can) to help you if the need arises. An assistant is also helpful for monitoring attendee questions and comments.
Summarize, Give A Call To Action, And Leave Time For Questions
Always summarize the key points made in the webinar. Make it clear what the audience learned and why it matters.
Then, give your audience A SPECIFIC CALL TO ACTION (e.g. purchase my exclusive social media training course).
Leaving time to summarize means you can knock those questions out before they’re even asked, leave your audience with a unified message, and demonstrate your organizational skills.
Next comes the important Q&A …
People will nearly always have questions about your presentation, and that’s a good thing! It means people are interested in your topic and they’re listening to what you have to say.
This is also where a presenter can make or break his webinar depending on his responses. Writing down likely questions before the presentation is an important start but it’s only the beginning.
Provide Follow Up
Attendees are generally alone when they attend your webinar — at home, in their office, at their desk. Their attention tends to wander because they can’t see you. They need follow-up to connect further with you and to cement their understanding of your content.
Here are some techniques you can use:
- Offer a handout with your script. Near the end, show a slide to a location where they can download the handout.
- Send a follow-up email asking for questions and comments, with a link to further resources
- Ask for feedback. Some webinar software includes a feedback form; you could also ask people to go to an online survey that you create.
The more you follow up, the better your results will be.
Presentation webinars can be a great way to spread the word about your products or services. With these simple but effective webinar presentation tips, you’re well on your way to running a successful webinar.
Here’s my question for you …
What webinar presentation techniques have been effective for you? What are some of the issues you have faced during your webinars? Leave a comment below!
Do you have an important webinar coming up, and need help designing a “stand out” presentation? Give us a shout, and let’s discuss your project! Send us a message via our contact page here!