I have always been more comfortable in front of a crowd than in a crowd. I am an INTJ introvert, happy in my own company. That said, I love to teach and I challenge myself to present as often as I can. I have been truly lucky to present all over the world, from small events with just five people right through to a slot on a BBC current affairs program which garnered over 9 million views.
For some, speaking in public is a real terror. I am also very nervous before I speak, simply because I care and I want to do well. I don’t believe I’ve got over a fear of speaking, but I do believe that I have learned to manage it better through preparation, failing and succeeding. The purpose of this blog is to share tips and tricks for delivering webinars. As a fellow introvert, you may want to learn how to deliver webinars as a step forward into speaking. So, I hope that this helps, and I look forward to your comments.
What’s different about a webinar?
- It’s all about the content.
- Your voice is the main instrument to connect and engage the audience
The art and science of webinars
- Three elements of face-to-face communication (Mehrabian, 1967):
- Tone of voice
- Non Verbal
- Webinars remove non-verbal visual cues so we have to make up the difference.
- Smile even if they can’t see you. They will hear your smile in your voice. It will relax you and your audience.
Pro tip: Add emotion to your voice: inflections, change speed, pause, change tone
A webinar is Station WIFM
- What’s in it for me?
- Audience Profile Worksheet
- No body language or ‘filler chat’. If you are the sort of presenter who is like a reverse ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ situation where you are all ‘clothes’ and no Emperor – then you will get found out pretty quick and you won’t keep your audience.
Action – Webinar Objectives
Can you answer these questions? Why not put them in a Google Workbook or an Excel spreadsheet and get one ready for every webinar you do? It will really focus your mind and it will help you to prepare. When I am writing an abstract, I often work out the title last since it should form a summary headline for the webinar. I have attended countless webinars and presentations over the years. It is surprising how many times the clickbait title doesn’t match the actual content very well.
|To do / Done||Webinar Objectives||Fill in your details here|
|What are the objectives of your webinar?|
|What are the ideas you want to present?|
|What is the best way to organize your topics for flow?|
|What visual aids should be used to support your presentation content?|
|Have you considered accessibility as part of your webinar?|
|How will you measure feedback from your webinar?|
Action – Build an audience profile
Can you answer these questions? Why not put them in a Google Workbook or an Excel spreadsheet and get one ready for every webinar you do? It will really focus your mind and it will help you to prepare.
Pro Tip: Your audience profile will help you to work out the best day and time to deliver your session. Consider aspects such as the timezone of your audience, and whether you are playing to an international audience or not.
Remember some of your audience may need extra thought, such as accessibility. Let’s normalise inclusion and accessibility.
|To do / Done||Audience Profile||Fill in your details here|
|Who is your intended audience?|
|What do they already know about your topic?|
|What do they need to know about your topic?|
|What is their interest level and motivation to participate in your|
|What are their characteristics and learning styles?|
|What are the intended takeaways away from your presentation?|
A Blended Event?
- Watch Twitter for feedback
- Make sure everyone gets a chance to talk
- Mute people who are not speaking
- Have back up questions just in case the conversation dries up
- Politely but firmly move on audience members who like the sound of their own voice!
What’s the presenter’s audio value chain?
Last year, I joined a Twitch session which was supposed to be about tech, but we ended up pestering the speaker to share details of his kit. I am so sorry I have forgotten his name! That said, it was very useful. I have added in a few points below for you to consider.
|Technology||How it impacts Audio||What to do|
|Computing Platform||Slow processor speeds and lack of RAM/ high CPU usage may cause dropped words, ‘robot’ sounds||Broadcast using the fastest computer possible|
Close extraneous applications
Install the latest browser
|Internet Connection||Network speed affects audio quality. System latency. |
Citrix recommends a download of 2Mbps and upload of 1Mbps
|Free speed test e.g. Speedtest.net, MegaPath|
|Microphone||Telephones have smaller diaphragms||USB have larger diaphragms to capture nuance|
Do’s and Don’ts over Sounds
|Broadcast in a quiet room||Beware of barking dogs, pets that need fed, or dogs that bring your their teddy and want to play during a webinar. Looking at you, Muppet.|
|Furnishings absorb sound||Hard surfaces on reverberate sound|
|Notifications Tray – switch it off||Leave your door or window open|
Sound like a broadcaster!
- Test the audio devices
- Monitor your audience’s real time attentiveness. Use toolks like Klaxoon to help gauge audience reactions by introducing polls, pop quizzes and the dreaded ice-breaker!
- We are aiming for broadcast quality!
And once more for the encore! Add emotion to your voice: inflections, speed, pause change tone
Inviting people to your webinar
I see key items being forgotten from presentation invites. Here is a handy list for you to tick off!
- Email Subject Line
- Webinar Title
- Brief Description
- Four Bulleted Key Messages
- Call to Action – Register
- Speaker details – photo, professional details
- Date and Time – use timeanddate.com to use an Event Time Announcer link so that the attendee can choose their time zone and get an accurate time.
- Who should attend?
Happy presenting! The ability to communicate and present has changed my career and my life. I hope that this helps my fellow introverts to get started on their speaking journey. And the extroverts and ambiverts too, of course!