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!