Think back to the last time you had a really good conversation. What did the other person do that made the engagement such a good experience? Did he have good (or even juicy!) information? Did she answer a big question you had? Did it feel like your listener enjoyed being there and was both physically and mentally present in the moment?
You grab and maintain audience attention - in-person and online - by immediately solving a mystery and giving the audience what it needs, by providing the audience something useful. The truth is you want to be able to hear a pin drop. Because you’ve researched and you know what the audience wants, you have people listening closely and ready to chime in as opposed to bored and waiting for the session to end. And it all starts with a shift in attitude.
You have prepared for what you believe is a killer presentation. You have your technology ready. You have picked the perfect setting. You are ready to make this live remote presentation one for the history books.
Okay. Perhaps that's a bit melodramatic; however, you get my point. You have invested time, energy, and research in designing a meaningful session to deliver to an audience of listeners who are located all over the country -- possibly around the globe. However, full calendars and busy lives can preclude your target audience from attending the session live, and you have more who opt to catch the recording at a later date that's more convenient for them.
While you can understand and respect those realities, it does nothing to make you feel better about preparing to present a live web-based presentation or a synchronous class session, right?
A friend and colleague once shared with me people make time for what's important to them. End of story. So with that, let's identify three ways you can make your session important to your prospective audience, so everyone's not putting it off until a later date but is showing up live and ready.
"Find the seed at the bottom of your heart and bring forth a flower." --Shigenori Kameoka
How often do you think about what you have to offer? What you have to share with others, especially that which is powerful, helpful, thoughtful, needed?
Every chance you get to appear before an audience - virtually, physically, or otherwise …. on paper, for instance - it is your chance to find a seed. And do not try to convince yourself you have no seed, that you have no flower. Self-talk will scream this at you; others may even try to say the same, but know better.
You have seeds upon seeds and flowers upon flowers … rows and rows of them as far as the eye can see.
"So why do I have so much doubt?" you ask.
It's because …
In a previous post, "You CAN Deliver a Worry-Free Webinar," I discussed preliminary and logistical steps to take with setting up yourself to deliver a worry-free webinar. Let's take it to the next level and look at the actual webinar design. (And not to worry if you do not make webinars but only make face-to-face presentations. These points are just as applicable if you are presenting in-person, so READ ON!)
No matter the topic, always give your audience a reason to lean in, to take notice, to pay attention, to press the headphones a little more tightly against the ears. Pull in your audience in a way that makes the world to want to listen to your webinar. You might do this by choosing to solve a problem right away, make a provocative statement, or make the audience a part of the conversation.
You may have been a part of a number of web-based presentations throughout your career, either as the presenter or as an attendee. Some contained information that dried up and withered away while others caught your attention and became a tree containing branches of knowledge, firmly rooted and planted in your mind. Let's look at how to do the latter!
And this starts with examining one of the number one concerns I hear from webinar presenters: They worry they are not connecting with the audience, asking questions such as "How do I know they’re interested, that they’re tuned in if I can’t see their faces, if I can’t see the nod of their heads?"
Great public speakers approach their presentations - online and otherwise - with this frame of mind: ...
As you effortlessly click from one screen to the next in your presentation, it is smooth as silk to you and makes all the sense in the world. In actuality, you may have made this presentation multiple times to various audiences in the past, so your script is in the back of you mind at the ready. Whether it is your first or fifteenth time delivering the presentation, keep in mind, each audience is hearing it for the first time, and in either instance - the first iteration or the fifteenth - it becomes easy to throw in everything plus a couple of kitchen sinks.
Take note that if you design and deliver a presentation and attempt to show and share everything you know, it becomes too much for the audience. Too much information can result in audience members getting confused or frustrated, asking questions you may not be able to answer or questions that require very involved responses that are further confusing, or audience members completely tuning out and/or engaging in other activities. In both the face-to-face and virtual presentation environments, you must provide manageable chunks of information and be careful of information overload, and here's how you do it.