TRUE LIFE: Tips for Conducting better Webinars

Recently I was asked to give a few tips about how to conduct a training webinar. I’ve conducted more webinars than I care to count – these could be applied for internal or external training scenarios.

1. Physically and mentally be present.

  • Stand up,  literally try standing up. It makes a difference from your voice and how you come across. And personally, I feel more confident when I stand (even when they can’t see me!)
  • Smile – the people on the other end can tell when you are.
  • Listen to a recording of yourself or watch yourself give a webinar. I know its painful but its so insightful. I learned I used the word “LIKE” a million times during a webinar – it was so distracting I don’t know how anyone learned anything. I quickly changed that.
  • Get somewhere quiet! Please. If that’s not your office space… then reserve a conference room. Stay home. Hide in a closet (I’ve done this before, it was the only quiet space)!
  • Arrive early and double-check and triple-check technology. Give yourself at least 5 minutes to prep and get everything closed down, turned off and ready to go while you are conducting the webinar. Also, make sure you know how to use the webinar system, if you are recording, need to figure out mute etc. Just be ready.

2. Know your content.

  • Practice. Practice. Practice. But please don’t read from the script/screen. Or memorize every word. WE CAN TELL. Practice your transitions. Practices your stories. Know exactly which question you’ll ask at each point. Know which point you want to make for each concept. And stick to the point. And for the love of Microsoft Office, DO NOT READ every bullet point word for word.
  • Use Stories. For example, I bring up conversations with a customer I recently had and make it relevant to the current conversation. Have a few of these in your backpocket, as if you went an had coffee with your customer. (And if you haven’t had coffee with them, go do that first so you can get to know them better.) Storytelling and asking questions are probably worth their own post. They are so important for engaging webinars. And I am not talking about reading a case study approved by marketing, a personal story that you know would resonate with your audience.
  • Show. Tell. Do. Show them what you are going to do. Tell them what you are going to do. And then do or have them do what you showed/told them to do.
  • Less is more. Less slides. Less topics. Less of everything. We have the attention span of a peanut so having 90 minutes of just you talking at someone is about as interesting as watching paint dry. Please, break it up, make it interesting and engaging. Make it worth their time, and yours. If you have people come back to you 2 weeks later asking you a question you’ve already covered on the webinar, did you really have the impact you intended?

3. Webinar / Online Meeting Etiquette

  • I like to start a conversation with the first 1-2 person on the phone. I can’t remember where I learned this from, but this helps establish rapport. Learn something about them, then you can reference it later or pull it into the conversation. I also do this often in in-person meetings as well.
  • Start and end on time. If I switch the perspective, and you’ve showed up on time, would you want to wait for someone? I’ve made it a priority to be there on-time, its important to let the other learners who showed up on-time know that you appropriate it.  Also, if your learners get used to you always starting 5-6 minutes late, they remember and will come back on late the next webinar you do.
  • Ask “What questions do you have?” instead of  “Do you have any questions?” And then pause and wait for questions. Literally count to 10 (in your head) before you move on. People have a hard  time getting back to unmute themselves so give them a second to collect their thoughts before you blow through the to the next concept.
  • Also watch this.  You’re welcome.

I am also nutty and I love listening to recording of webinars or presentations from all sorts of people, levels and industries. Not always for the content, but for the delivery of the webinar. You can hear what people do/say that’s good (and so so terribly bad).

Ask someone to listen in on your first (or 100th) webinar. There’s always things we can improve on. I remember listening in on one team members webinar and he had himself on mute for the first 15 minutes. If I can help listen in and give you some tips, just let me know!

What else would you add? Tell me below!

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This Year – Removing the Noise

Even though we are in the thick of January, I still feel its important to actually write down these goals and share them. Maybe then you can ask me how its going in a few weeks.

When I think about my time and energy and what I want this year to be about, I really want to listen and be interested. That’s probably harder than it sounds knowing the chaos called life. Simply put, I’d love to remove the noise.

Here’s some things I am going to START, STOP and KEEP doing for the next few months.

Start

  • Wake up with an alarm clock. Like a real clock, not my phone. My phone is by my side 100% of the time and I was spending too much screen time before bed and the first second I woke up “catching up” on everything. Needless to say, I want to remove that, physically from my bedside. Seems like a simple, silly thing to do, but if my phone’s not the alarm clock, then I don’t need to be attached to it. I bought one similar to this. The alarm is so loud I jumped out of my skin this morning.
  • Send a simple encouraging note to someone each morning. This one will be hard, but I think after a few days it will become habit. It could come in any form really but just to let someone know I am thinking about them and really care for how they are doing.

Stop

  • Listening to music in the car. Now, this might also seem trite but sometimes the endless pop and the advertisements just fill my head with useless noise. My husband really only listens to sports radio, so I’ve learned this from him.  He doesn’t like much of anything on in the car. We were recently on a mini road trip without any music or noise, we actually had to talk to each other. I remember when we first married and I hated riding in the car with him, because he liked it so quiet. Now, I don’t mind. I don’t drive that often right now, but I like to use that time to think and process (AND pay attention!).  

Keep 

  • Meal Planning – This has saved us time and money. I am not strict by any means. I use Brim Papery’s Meal and Grocery list. This helps cut down on the back and forth of what to eat, having and spending what we actually need to on food, and more opportunity to be intentional about what we eat. If you have any good vegan or vegetarian recipes, let me know!
  • No music while I run. I am not a runner by any means. I ran my first 10K over last Thanksgiving and loved it and will be signing up for another one this year too. But fitness, or running isn’t going to be a goal of mine this year.  I started running without music about a year and half ago. At first, it was so loud. Do you know what I mean? I couldn’t run because my mind was racing and I couldn’t hear myself breathe or concentrate on what I was actually doing. After while, I got used to it, and heard the birds. Or the cars and conversations. When I training for my 10K, I decided to try running with music on one of my longer runs. It was a disaster and I was so distracted by the song playing, my headphones and having my phone (which I am prone to drop) that I had a horrible run. So for me, running without music is another way for me to quiet my mind and think and listen.

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I’ll keep you posted on how this goes, and if there’s anything else I can learn from it. I might add to this in the next few months as well

What about you? Anything you are going to start, stop and keep doing for this year, month or week? I would love to know!