Webinars have opened a new door for public speakers. It used to be that in order to reach a group of people with our message and share with them the importance of public speaking, we had to get in our cars and drive (and perhaps fly) to where the audience was. Once there, there was the effort and hassle of getting ready and getting on stage. Most, if not all of these issues have been resolved by webinars that we can now deliver from the comfort of our own homes. However, as with all such things, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about doing this…
You’ve Got The Tools, Use ‘Em!
As public speakers, we tend to focus on what we are going to say. Things are a bit different when it comes to webinars because we’re not going to be able to watch our audience and get their cues as to how we should be changing our speech, but instead we’ll work to fine tune our words. It turns out that we may be missing a great way to make our webinar better.
Every webinar tool that you use, be it WebEx, GoToMeeting or whatever, comes with a set of online tools. These tools have been created to allow you to control the webinar while you are giving it. These tools have been getting more and more sophisticated over time as the various webinar companies try to distinguish their offerings from each other.
Ultimately, these tools can help you to connect with your audience. Using webinar tools you can poll your audience, you can have chats with them even as your speech is in progress, and you can provide them with the ability to “raise their hand” and ask questions. By using these tools you can keep your audience both focused on what you are saying and involved in your presentation.
Get Rid Of Any Distractions
If you were in the same room as your audience, you would not want their concentration to be broken by any distractions. It turns out that when you are giving a webinar the same rules apply.
Distractions can come in many different forms. One of the most common ones occurs when one of the people who is attending your webinar has a great deal of noise happening in their background. As the presenter, almost every webinar tool provides you with the ability to mute your audience and this is what you’ll have to do in this situation.
Another source of distractions can occur on your side of the call. Since you are delivering a webinar, you may be joining the conversation from your home and our homes can be quite noisy on any given day. No matter if it is the kids running around, the dog barking, or grass being cut outside, you’re going to want to take steps before the webinar starts in order to make sure that everything stays quiet during your call.
Make Your Voice More Powerful
The downside to a webinar is that often you won’t be able to share any of your body language with your audience. Even if you have a video camera, it’s just going to show you from the shoulders up and that’s going to limit how you communicate with your audience.
The one tool that you do have to use during a webinar is your voice. You are going to want to take steps to maximize the impact of your voice. If at all possible, you’ll want to use a cordless headset during your webinar so that you can both stand up and move around the room that you are in.
What this is going to do is to allow you to become your most energic self. Your excitement and your energy will come through in your voice as you talk on the webinar. Feel free to make gestures while you talk – no, your audience won’t be able to see them but this will get you pumped up and it will be reflected in your voice.
What All Of This Means For You
The good news is that webinars and the technology required to deliver them have become simple and easy to use. The bad news is that, like everything else in life, there is a right way and a wrong way to do webinars.
In order to make sure that your next webinar audience gets the benefits of public speaking, there are a number of different things that you can do. The first is to take advantage of the tools that the webinar system that you are using has. By using these tools you can better involve your audience. Make sure that your online audience is not distracted. Sources of distraction can be other audience members or you. Finally, your voice is a key part of how you will communicate with your audience. Stand up when talking so that you sound your best.
The beauty of webinars is that now we can all reach more people with less effort. However, in order to make sure that our webinars are effective, we need to make sure that we provide a powerful presentation that is free of any distractions. Follow these suggestions and your next webinar will be your best one yet!
Question For You: If you hear an audience member making a distraction noise during your webinar, should you stop and ask them to be quiet?
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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 really sure if it is the most difficult type of speech to give, but the keynote speech is where we seem to be in the spotlight for the longest time and provides us with our best opportunity to show off the importance of public speaking. Our audience has high expectations for what we’ll be sharing with them and we really don’t want to let them down. This is a high pressure situation that can cause some public speakers to crack. I was recently asked to deliver a keynote speech and only had a week to get ready to give it. Could I get the speech written in that time?