Don’t you hate when things don’t turn out as expected?
- The dress you bought online is way too small.
- The pricey restaurant you ate at served mediocre food.
- Your airplane was delayed two hours.
- The webinar that you attended didn’t deliver on what was promised.
Umm….What??!! Yeah, you read that right…
Last month, I attended a webinar hosted by an educational organization.
I had my notepad and pen ready to take notes because I love learning new things. (I’m a nerd – I can’t help it.)
After all of the introductions, the presenter jumped into the content and read every single word that appeared on the screen. Now, these weren’t a few bullet points, but massive paragraphs of information covering the entire screen.
It was an all out information-dump. Couldn’t they have just sent me a handout to read?
Webinars are superbly effective:
They have the power to grow your list, provide great information, connect with your community, and promote your products.
They are an effective tool to use in your business.
But, they are only as effective as their delivery.
Your message relies on YOU to get it into the minds of your audience. (Oooh! Click to tweet. Thanks.)
So, here we go…
6 insanely useful tips for Running Your Next Webinar (So your message sticks in your audience’s mind.)
1. A Topic That Matters
The topic is usually the hardest thing to settle on when you’re deciding to run a webinar. You’ve either got a gazillion ideas OR none. How do you know which topic will resonate?
Idea #1: Find out from your audience! (You know — the lovely people who tune in to read every word you write.) Take some time to search your blog comments, use your email newsletter to start up a conversation, get on the phone and call, or search comments of other blogs of similar topics. Essentially, you’ll need to get out there and talk and listen to your audience. They’ll share their frustrations, goals, roadblocks, and dreams with you. Use this information as ideas for your webinar topic.
Idea #2: Select a topic that you’re extremely passionate about sharing! Love to talk about the best way to live mindfully? Passionate about health and nutrition? Choose a topic that you’re excited to share because your enthusiasm will shine through.
The most effective webinars are ones that cover one specific solid topic and that provide content that is immediately actionable to your audience. But, it should also be one that you’re passionate about presenting. Your sweet spot is the convergence of your passion and your audience’s dreams.
Action Step: Use Word, Pages, Google Docs..anything..to keep a running list of ideas for a future webinar.
2. Stop Talking
Do you know what happened when that presenter read exactly what was on the screen? Audience members signed out. She lost engagement and the audience members didn’t hear her message. The best way to keep the audience’s attention is to build in periodic engagement into your webinar. Think of ways that participants can interact with your content that gets them to relate the information to their life. (Seriously, be like McHammer — rock it and engage your audience!)
- Many webinar platforms have chat features where audience members can respond to your questions in the chat box.
- You can use polls to gauge whether people are following along and understanding.
- Create a super helpful worksheet that allows participants to take notes and respond to questions.
Action Step: Select one powerful point that you’ll deliver in your upcoming webinar. Add one way to engage your audience members around that one point.
3. Testing, Testing, 1-2-3
It would be no bueno if you hopped onto your webinar and the presentation failed because you didn’t know or test the technology. This is super duper important. You wouldn’t want to tell an entire audience, that’s pumped and ready for your content, that the webinar won’t be running today. If you’re going to use a new software platform or one you’re not overly familiar with — spend some time BEFORE your live webinar to do a practice run. Grab family and friends and ask them to hop on a practice webinar with you. This will give you time to get comfortable with the technology, learn all of the bits and pieces, and run an amazing webinar.
Action Step: Two days before your webinar, test out all of the bells and whistles of your platform by hosting a pre-show with friends and family. (Your mom will think you’re so cool.) Roger Courville shares some great tips here about preparing your technology.
4 – Make It Stick
Do you know what will help make your amazing content stick in your audience’s mind? Visuals and stories. When running your webinar infuse either a story or visual into your presentation.
Stories: Think back to times you spend with family and friends. Chances are you told numerous stories about your life. Stories have the power of capturing us. But, even more than that — stories have the power of making our information more relatable. Audience members not only relate to the content, but better remember the information as well. If you’ve got stories that tell about your personal experience or that relate to the content — use them. They’ll make your presentation more memorable.
Visuals: Think about the blog posts and content you read each day. Think about the Social Media sites that you visit: Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest! Then you’ll understand the power of visuals. But, I’ve got something more for you. Did you know that people have preferred ways of learning? Your audience members will come to your presentation with their own preferred ways of learning — one of them being visual. Think of ways you can use an image or photograph to represent information. Audience members will have a better time relating to and remembering the information if they can imagine a picture in their mind.
Action Step: Select one personal story or picture that relates to your content to use in your webinar.
5. Practice Speaking
Ever attended a presentation where all you heard was ah..um…ya know…um…ya know…? Doesn’t make for a good presentation does it? Most of the time this can be resolved by practicing beforehand and knowing what you’re going to say before you say it. Also, there’s power in the pause. When you’re delivering your presentation think about pausing after making your points.
Action Step: You’ll cringe when you do this — but record your presentation and listen back through it to see how you delivered your message. If there’s any places where you can improve, you can tweak it the next time.
6. Use Powerful Slides
Slides with tons of words is also no bueno. I hate to sound like an overbearing parent, but providing a large chunk of text on a slide is enough to drive anyone crazy. You don’t need to include ALL of the words that you’re going to say on your presentation slides. Either include a few points or even consider using bold images with a few descriptive words. From there, you can fill in the gaps with your stories. See how it all comes together! Add this book to your library and you’ll be making powerful presentations in no time.
Action Step: Pick up that book from your local library.
Running a webinar is a great way to interact with your clients or prospective-clients. But, it’s really about the delivery. You’ve got amazing ideas, make sure it gets into the hands of those who want it.
It’s Your Turn, in the comments below, let us know what one change you’ll make in your next webinar. If you’re not hosting a webinar, what’s one thing you loved seeing in a webinar you attended?