Thursday, February 7, 2013

Optimize Your Next Webinar For Maximum Impact

Gone are the days when vendors and speakers come to offices and train people on their newest product. And slowly, the days of face-to-face networking meetings is slipping away as travel becomes less and less of a priority for most businesses.

Webinars are already the tool of choice among training professionals. And by now, you've probably sat through a few and wondered to yourself, how could this be better? What opportunities is the presenter missing? (Okay, maybe you're not thinking that way, but I sure am!) What chance to connect with the audience is slipping away along with the lack of face-to-face time.

Before you fire up Webex next time, here are three tips to maximize your next webinar, and avoid missing important opportunities to connect.

1. Get Your Story Straight

Content Marketing is not limited to product marketing. Whether you are presenting at a conference or on a webinar, you are marketing you. Your skills, your expertise, the story of You is the critical component in communicating well with your audience. Forget worrying about whether you "um" once or twice. Have your story, your key points, and good answers to likely questions ready and waiting. Storytelling during a webinar breaks up the monotony of staring at PowerPoint slides, makes you and your work more real and gives listeners something to grab on to.

Get your story straight so people know who and what you are.

2. The 10-minute Rule is 6-8 minutes for a Webinar

When you've got folks captured in a room, it's easier to see their body language, to *see* their attention waning. On a webinar, the chances are very high that listeners are multitasking from the get go. You are much more likely to be talking at a distracted audience. 

Break up the talk slightly more than you might in person. Ask a question, solicit feedback, change focus. 

Whatever you choose to do to draw people's attention back to you, do it slightly more often than you might if you were delivering that presentation in person.

3. It's not about you. No, really, it's not.

People have a lot of claims on their time, and they've chosen to take time out of their busy schedule to listen to what you have to say? Why? Is it because you are a compelling and famous speaker? If the answer is yes, then skip this bit. ^_^ 

Most likely, people have signed up so they can learn something that they can use themselves in their careers. Right now. Preferably 30 second after they click off. 

While you're talking about your work, your experience, your perspective, you are missing a chance to ask your listeners what they need or want from this time. Yes, you have a lovely PowerPoint presentation, I'm sure your audience appreciates that. They'll appreciate you going off-slide to help them with a real-time problem more.

Be comfortable enough with your content to make it actionable for someone who is not you.

Being personable, approachable and flexible will take a decent webinar and turn it into a memorable one. 

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