In some ways delivering a webinar can be easier than giving a speech. I mean, you don’t have to worry about that eye contact thing and your body language won’t be much of an issue. However, in a lot of other ways it can actually be much harder to do. What’s most important is that you don’t make mistakes. Let’s talk about three of the most common mistakes that are made when people give webinars and find ways to help you avoid them and find a way to still deliver on the promise of importance of public speaking.
Forget To Have A Structure
All too often webinar presenters start their online presentations by talking about themselves. That’s nice, but nobody really cares about you. Instead, you need to come up with a structure for your presentation that will provide your audience with what they want.
When you are starting your webinar, you need to do exactly the same thing that you would do if you were giving a speech: you need to start things off with something that will grab your online audience’s attention. Use a startling fact, an unusual statistic, or something like that to both grab and hold onto their attention.
Then the structure of your webinar should guide what you do next. The body of your presentation should be limited to 3-5 main points. When you have covered everything that you wanted to, make sure that your conclusion wraps things up nicely and leaves your audience with a clear message.
Do Bad Things With PowerPoint
One of the biggest problems that I see with webinars is that the presenter is abusing PowerPoint. What happens is that the presenter realizes that they can’t be seen by their audience and so they decide to make up for this by using a lot of PowerPoint slides. It turns out that this is a bad idea.
What online presenters tend to forget is that every time you use a slide with your audience, you are taking their focus away from you and what you are saying. This means that the audience is going to be spending their time reading your slide and not paying attention to what you happen to be saying at that point in time.
One technique that seems to work very well during a webinar is to use PowerPoint’s “reveal” feature. This is where bullet points on a slide are not visible when the slide is initially displayed and then proceed to be revealed one-by-one. This allows you to keep your audience’s attention where you want it to be.
Forget To Use Your Voice
A webinar means that your audience can’t see you. This means that all of the channels that you have to communicate with your audience have been removed: eye contact, body language, etc. You are left with only your voice.
The good news is that your voice is a powerful tool with which to connect to your audience with. However, you need to remember to use it. You can speak fast or slow, high or low, and you can use pauses where appropriate.
The quality of your voice will also be important. This means that what type of telephone you use during your webinar is going to matter a great deal. Don’t use speakerphones or cell phones. Instead, use a land line if at all possible.
What All Of This Means For You
Webinars are a powerful way to communicate with an audience and to share with them the benefits of public speaking. When we give a webinar we need to make sure that we don’t make of the common mistakes that can take away from the message that we’re trying to deliver.
If we forget to create a structure for our presentation then we’ll be making it hard for our audience to follow what we are trying to say. All of the fancy Webinar tools can’t fix this problem. PowerPoint is an effective tool. However, if we’re not careful we can end up abusing it and we’ll just confuse our audience. Finally, since our audience can’t see us our voice will play a very important role in our webinar. We need to make sure that we fully use it.
Take the time to plan out your next webinar. Don’t allow yourself to make the three common mistakes that we’ve discussed. If done correctly, your next webinar may provide you with an opportunity to get your message presented to more people than would have ever been possible webinars became available.
Question For You: Do you think that it is possible to do too much with your voice during a webinar?
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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
I’m not sure about you, but one of the things that I most look forward to and dread at the same time is being asked to give a keynote speech. Giving a keynote speech allows you to show off the importance of public speaking. I love the attention and the ability to stand in the spotlight; however, I also dread the work that it takes to create a really good speech. That’s why when I was asked to give the keynote speech at the 2012 IEEE USA annual meeting, my heart sank even as I told the organizers “yes”…