Online communication is uniquely different than doing it in a training classroom, on the job, or in a boardroom. In this post, we’re going to review a number of effective techniques that you can use to provide persons on the other side of the session the best experience possible. What most people don’t realize is that there is more than what meets the camera eye when it comes to effective presentation skills. Grab a pen and some paper, as you’ll definitely want to jot some of these great ideas down.
Quick Review of Webinars
For those who may not be too much in the know, webinars can be thought of as virtual training or presentation sessions. These sessions use various technologies like cameras and microphones to convey topics to their intended audiences. Furthermore, screen-share or document-share features can also be made readily available by hosts. Above anything, the kicker with this type of presentation is that it is completely and 100% web-based. Participants can be anywhere and join in at any time. These sessions may be pre-recorded or can be interactive with their ‘studio’ audience (Szelenyl, 2017; WebinarNinja.com, 2018).
Our Top Tips for Effective Webinars
When looking out there in the deep world of the internet, there are hundreds upon hundreds of suggestions made to make webinars fun, engaging, and entertaining. However, their intended audiences vary just as much. Some are geared towards marketing goods or services, whereas others are focused on learning new concepts. For the purpose of this blog, we are going to focus on the learning experience. As one wise person said many a ‘moon ago, “learning is a lifelong experience that you never escape from. You’ll learn something new every day.”
Thus, here are four (4) tips that we at Integrity MCG feel are the very best of the best that’s out there for all to comprehend and take away.
Tip #1 – Topic Perfection Starts with The Initial Selection
The first tip that one should focus on well before the camera goes live and the presentation commences is the topic at hand. Regardless if the topic is an in-house subject that requires new personnel to learn or seasoned veterans to refresh on, the topic needs to be developed, curated, and polished, so that it will have the maximum effect possible on the audience that it is intended to benefit (Agrawal, 2018; Kolowich, 2018; & Stahl, 2017)). This requires time and effort to not only research the topic, but also to create the presentation in a way that is not sterile. More important too, there needs to be time dedicated to rehearsing said material and having the necessary visuals and interactive activities developed, so that it can be as engaging as possible. Without this, your audience may outrun their attention span rather quickly!
Tip #2 – Test Your Tech in Advance
When it comes to technology, it is often that Murphy’s Law will come into effect. If something could go wrong, it certainly will without attempting to troubleshoot it first. Cameras that are out of sync, audio that sounds muffled or distorted, and an internet connection gone down the tubes can all happen. Thus, it is recommended to test the technologies out at least an hour or so prior to ‘showtime.’ That way, if there are any issues that may need rectifying, ample time is available to resolve the issues and participants may never know that they occurred in the first place.
The tech scene, however, goes a little further in this case. Why is that? Well, because more people are using mobile devices (e.g. cell phones tablets, and tablet computers), several considerations must be taken into account when assessing compatibility. Especially if one is using a program to host the webinar, hosts should be sure that they could work on them prior to launch. If they aren’t, or if company requirements prohibit said items, this needs to be clearly communicated well in advance to maximize the benefit of those receiving the information.
Tip #3 – Schedule Management
When looking at webinars over traditional presentations or classroom training, it is much easier to go off the rails with a webinar than it is during an in-person session (Majumdar, 2014). As part of the course development, it is critically important to determine the presentation flow and provide this in summarized form near the beginning of the presentation. Part of the presentation should include some time for questions and answers near the end, so that any unresolved issues can be solved ‘off the air’ and learning experiences can extend past the initial session (Mitchell, 2017). Alternately, as Laura Quinn comments in her tips and techniques on making good webinars, she suggests holding question and answer sessions throughout the presentation (2015). Depending on what is being taught and the time allotted, either approach is certainly acceptable and breaks up the monotony of the presentation.
Tip #4 – Follow-Up Afterwards
The last tip that we will share today is one that most of the research doesn’t give ample attention to. Following up with the participants of a webinar is just as important as providing communications prior to one. As part of fostering a culture of continuous improvement, the presenter would want to share testimonials with others about their webinars, so that they have an opportunity to do more. Opposite of that, they can gain valuable feedback to improve their presentation skills and make their future webinars better than before. This can be through confidential surveys, direct conversations with participants, or using key performance indicators to determine the success after knowledge was acquired.
A Bonus Tip – Not All Webinars Are the Same
In conclusion, it is important to note that the style and personality of the presenter sets the tone and stage of what participants will be enlightened with during their time together. Thus, webinar facilitators need to craft a style that is appropriate and applicable to the audiences they’re talking to AND subject matter(s) being presented. Here at Integrity MCG, we are happy to provide low-cost and affordable consultative services to help determine those audiences, approaches, and additional tips to have the best webinars possible. Give us a shout to see what we’re all about. Until our next blog post, we hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season. Cheers!
Dr. Danielle Jenkins provides insights and tips on how to strategically run your business in the most efficient manner possible.