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!)
If you have ever had to present a webinar, you may feel an added layer of pressure to do a great job that you do not experience when you present to a live audience. Here's how to get over that stressor: 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, deliver a provocative statement, or make the audience a part of the conversation.
At the start of the session, work to solve a problem by polling everyone beforehand or by asking a poll at the start of the session; when you work to answer everyone's questions right away, it sends a loud message that you are focused on making the most of your audience's time and that you sincerely want to bring them value.
Make a provocative statement, using terms of absolution - "never," "always," and "without a doubt" are a few of my favorites. You might say "Let's get started with some tips to guarantee nobody misses your next web-based presentation" or “Let's get started with looking at a product that will have students never wanting to miss class again."
Or you might provide audience members with the opportunity to talk. You can make this happen by asking "What do you like most about X? Post your 5- to 7-word response in the chat." And notice two things I did: I put a limit on the word count so participants do not feel pressured to write a lengthy response, and I worded the request so the tone remains positive. When and where applicable, include the audience in the conversation by inserting some of their comments in the session as you go.
Once you get started, keep the housekeeping points to a minimum. If there is a substantial amount of foundational information that must be shared, provide it in an email message prior to the webinar session. People want to get right into what you have to say and show. As such, keep bios as brief as possible. Frankly, I’m not a fan of bios at all because if you quiz most audience members, and they’re honest, they’ll tell you they’re not actively listening to the bio. In all fairness, they want to know what can you share with them that will make them more productive and their campuses and students more successful.
Next, create a pattern of discussion, demonstration, debriefing; this is closely connected to the chunking concept discussed in a previous post, "Do This, and No One Will Ever Miss Your Class (or Presentation) Again!" Information - especially new information an audience hears for the first time - is clearer and more easily understood if the audience does something with the material that’s presented. Follow a pattern of providing information, illustrating that information, then having the audience do something with the information: discuss, demonstrate, debrief.
Finally, avoid creating webinar FoMO or fear of missing out; some call it a fear of regret. It's an apprehension formed by the thought that others might enjoy rewarding experiences of which one will miss because of his/her absence. You avoid webinar FoMO by avoiding using certain phrases such as "If I had more time, I’d show you X" or "For those of you who can remain on the line, I’ll share Y." I certainly understand that, in the real world, timing is not always perfect, so not to worry. I've got you covered! Click here to find out how to best prepare so you eliminate FoMO altogether!
Be seen. Be heard. Be great!
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