Webinars are a great way to convey messages to a number of people in different locations. Perhaps you want to connect with clients and talk them through a new product? Or deliver a training seminar to remote employees? There are a myriad of ways that webinars can be used to increase efficiency and cut costs for your business.
But no matter how hi-tech your videoconferencing system is, or how much you’ve honed your content into an information-packed piece, without proper delivery of the webinar and some forethought given to how you present your content online, you may not be maximising results.
To help improve your next webinar, here are six tips for success:
Often, when people host a webinar, they talk down to the computer in a hunched position. To prevent this from happening, have the camera at eye-level so you can stay well-balanced and aligned. Having a good posture has a positive effect on energy levels and will help with your breathing. If you’re prone to getting nervous on-camera, which leads to shallow breathing, it can be especially important to maintain good posture and thus good breathing.
- See the camera as a person
Talking to a static, inanimate object like a camera isn’t very motivating. You’re not getting much energy back from your audience either, as you can’t see them. To heighten your own engagement with the webinar, take a few minutes before the session to envision the camera as someone you feel would be interested in the content. It could be a colleague who is really interested in the topic or a young person who is in school who you’re trying to encourage – if you want to make it really active. This will help create a sense of energy. This way, you’re not just talking to a blank screen.
- Don’t have a wardrobe malfunction
In webinars, the audience should be focusing on what you’re saying. This means creating the right setting and wearing the right clothes to avoid distraction. Certain items of clothing, like stripy shirts, may strobe on camera, or a polar neck could leave you looking like a floaty head on someone’s screen. Consider your background too. Is there a loud picture on the wall behind you that may steal someone’s attention away from what you’re saying? You don’t want anything to distract from your message and you certainly don’t want people to disengage.
- Be active even if you’re not speaking
In split-screen webinar scenarios, where up to four people are leading the session, it can be easy to forget you are on screen, especially when you haven’t spoken in a while. Always remember to stay present and be aware of how you’re listening to other people. Stay engaged and involved facially, as you don’t want to give anything away about what you might be thinking. Especially if the other speaker’s message is dragging and interest is wavering. You are on a webinar. That means even if you’re not speaking, you are still communicating through facial expressions/body language and need to be listening.
- Stay in the frame
It’s important to stay within the camera frame. Hand gestures can be helpful in conveying meaning and emphasis. It makes for a far more interesting and balanced frame if the hands can be seen most of the time, so be aware of where the bottom of frame is. You wouldn’t want your audience perplexing over your hands appearing and disappearing quickly from shot as you gesture a particular point emphatically.
- Watch your vocals
In webinars, volume is controlled by the audience, so vocally, your focus should primarily be on your tone, pitch and pace. Your function as a webinar host is to engage your audience with what you’re saying, so varying your tone, pitch and pace is important to achieve this. This also ties in with posture and breathing. Bring all these together and you’ll have a very warm and engaging tone. A winning formula in an any webinar scenario.
NIDA Corporate offers practical skills-based training in communication, presentation and leadership for individuals and businesses in the public and private sectors. The one-day Presenting Online course is perfect for those wishing to engage and inspire online audiences. If you’re interested in improving the way you lead a webinar or conduct a Skype meeting visit, https://www.corporate.nida.edu.au/course/COVP