Deliver value with engagement.
In the past week I’ve attended more webinars than I did the entire first quarter. This week’s webinars were different. There were a lot more people Zooming around that are not quite ready for prime time. So, if you are planning to jump on the video boom of the quarantine get yourself ready to be great.
MAKE A PLAN
As with any speech or presentation, know what you want to say and get it in order before you turn on your camera. Know who your audience is so that you tailor your talk to meet their needs. Be concise and be clear. People are distressed right now and even though it seems like they have all the time in the world, their brains are at a lower capacity. They are thinking about being shut in and how it affects them and their loved ones. Do them a favor and if you can get your message out for the team meeting in 30 minutes instead of an hour, go for it. The other side of that is jamming too much into to your one hour change your life today class – while it might be a good distraction, try not to make their heads spin, there is enough of that already.
Wash your face, brush your teeth, comb your hair and look presentable… at least as far as the camera can see. If you’re wearing your bunny slippers nobody cares, but if you have dribbled lunch on your shirt your credibility is suspect.
Take a look at what is behind you. A blank wall makes you look like you’re waiting to get fingerprinted. Avoid having artwork growing out of your head or the ceiling light creating a halo for you. Get some light coming from the side and in front of you whenever possible so that people can see your lovely countenance. Light behind you turns you into a silhouette with no discernable features but will certainly add an unwanted air of mystery to your character. (To learn more about still and video photography for business contact Bob Mackowski, Open Aperture Photography. He has online and in person classes.)
If you’ve never led a webinar before, get someone to practice it with you. Test out signing on, switching from you to your desktop and presentation, figure out how to control the mute buttons, see how the chat section works, and just take a general test drive before you hit the webinar highway.
GET AN ATTITUDE
When you greet your participants, actually welcome them and thank them for participating. Be as upbeat as you can. Keep your energy up and change your vocal tone and speed to keep your presentation interesting. The people watching and listening want to be engaged.
Wear a headset and a mic. Maybe you don’t want to look like Princess Leia while wearing your headphones, there are other options, but the advantage of using earphones and a microphone (separate from your computer or camera) is that you will have better sound. The earbuds or headphones keep the other distracting noises around you out of your head. The mic will capture just your voice without you having to yell and most important, you’ll screen out most of the background noise.
Encourage your participants to don a headset and mic, too and if they don’t mic up be ready to mute them so that their two lonesome basset hounds don’t derail your presentation.
LOOK AT THEM!
Know where your camera is! It is not the display on your screen of all the attendees. Look at the camera when you are speaking to the group. Looking down at the screen makes you look shifty and disinterested. If you are using two monitors and your camera is getting your profile, that is not engaging. It looks more like you should be part of a line up.
Your attendees can get out of control. They may also be new to webinars or just to the program that you’re using. While Zoom, Free Conference Call, or WebEx all do the same thing, they are each a little different in their layout. Think of it as driving a strange car. It takes a bit to find the wipers. Know the system so you can guide them if necessary.
Your crew may also become unruly and start using the chat feature like kids passing notes in 5th grade. It helps if you can set someone up prior to the session to act as your second and keep an eye on that activity in case you get too busy. Chat is a useful tool to use if people have questions or information to share with the group such as a website or contact data.
You can also eject uncooperative students from the call. Usually, these are people who are trying to bomb your presentation. Bonnie Chomica from Marketing Done Write explains it all.
YOU GOT THIS!
A little practice, a clear message, and a sincere engaging delivery will make you a webinar star. Just remember that headset and mic.