You’ve written and refined an outstanding webinar. Your tech is working perfectly, and you’ve been supported by a strong marketing campaign that has drawn plenty of signups and publicity. But how much thought have you been giving to performance and delivery? Even though you may be just sitting at your desk, you’re still performing—and it’s essential to engage your audience on the big day. Here are a few tips for being compelling on screen.
Practice. You don’t want to come off too scripted, but you don’t want to be reading from cue cards the whole time, either. Striking a balance means practicing over and over. Do it in front of a trusted colleague or friend and get feedback. Film yourself delivering your presentation and note any noticeable habits of speech or physical presentation that you may be unaware of. Practice until you know all the sections of your webinar very well—and can deliver in a clear, conversational tone.
Stay away from tangents. Don’t get distracted, and your audience won’t, either. Stick to your points, and be sure your presentation has a tight structure with plenty of signposts to help your audience stay on track. In the meantime, while it’s important to keep your audience engaged, stick with your structure until the end, when you may want to hold a more open question-and-answer session.
Be sure you look good. Test out different angles ahead of time to be sure you’re filming yourself at your best. Film yourself under the lights you plan to use, and with the outfit on that you plan to wear, to make sure the colors and lights make you look good. If you tend to sweat, consider wearing a light powder to keep your forehead from looking shiny. If you do use makeup, test it out under the lights to make sure the color is right for you. Consider hiring a professional makeup artist—this goes for guys, too.
Be passionate and animated. If you’re giving a webinar on this topic, chances are you care about it. Be sure that passion comes through in your delivery. Avoid a monotone—invest some energy into it. A secret to great delivery is to practice until you know it so well that you can focus on the meaning behind the words—not just the words themselves. Again, here is where filming yourself or practicing in front of someone else can really pay off.
Get the audience engaged. The Q&A session can sometimes be the most challenging part of delivering a webinar. It can be difficult to answer questions as you continue with your presentation, as this can be distracting. Most presenters have an easier time taking questions at the end of the presentation. Keeping an audience’s attention isn’t easy online—as the Internet offers innumerable distractions. With plenty of preparation, however, you can improve your performance and delivery skills—and ensure they stay interested and engaged.