A few months back, I was asked to re-present a seminar I had done earlier at the national PBS convention, but this time as a webinar. How hard could that be? I thought to myself. I had already presented it once, it would be just repeating it again but with a handset to other PBS sales reps all over the country.
Yikes. I did it, but there were some tips I wish I heard ahead of time that would have made it smoother. While presenting it in person, I could gauge reactions from the audience, I could see if they understood what I was saying, and importantly, I could hear them laughing at my jokes! On the conference call, it was me, and not even crickets.
One major tip I wish I had known I found from Jeff Foley with DarkSideMarketing. One of his older blog posts from 2009 said to write out my presentation word for word from “Thank you for all listening today” to “Any questions?” I was still acting like I needed to present it from memory and I kept getting thrown when I was thinking I would receive feedback. If I had everything written out ahead of time, I would have flowed much easier from slide to slide and would not have gotten so flustered.
Another tip that I’ve known about, and this is for all presentations not just webinars, is to be brief on slides and to use them to help support what you’re saying. I have recently sat through someone else’s webinar and they were putting way too many points on each slide and were then reading the slides word for word. This is not engaging and it’s actually frustrating for the audience. I would have loved to get a copy of the presentation and then not attended the webinar, because I would have learned the same information. In order to engage your audience, think that each Powerpoint slide is a billboard. You only need about 7 to 10 words on a slide that hit your point home and then what you say helps build justification for that point.
“But,” some of you might be saying, “if I don’t have all my points on the slides, people will be too busy taking notes and not listening to everything I’m saying.” (Well, they’ll be reading it instead of listening to you then!) Here’s the fun trick to building a power point in general: Your first draft of the presentation, put as much stuff as you want on a slide – everything you’d want to say about the point you’re making. Then, if you are doing a webinar, take that information and write out your script. Then with a in-person or webinar, put all of those points in a word doc and make it look snazzy. Then go back to the power point and get rid of 80% of it and add imagery and headlines that support everything you’re about to say. Voila! Webinar done in 4 steps or presentation done in 3 with a leave behind you can give to attendees so they have all of your information you presented and don’t have to take notes feverishly while you present.
Do you have other presentation tips that have helped you when you present in person or over the phone?