Gone are the days when people frequently traveled from remote locations to a special venue to attend a seminar, workshop, or conference. In the age of the Internet, technology has greatly reduced all the inconvenience, expense, lost time and general inefficiency involved, with the introduction of a simple tool: the webinar.
Unfortunately, as a webinar facilitator, you have to work harder to keep your virtual attendees on the same page with you. When you don’t see your audience in a room, it’s hard to figure out if they’re actually listening or mentally meandering. Without your knowledge, they can check emails, browse social media feeds, or read the news. Thus, it’s important to use creative and sensible techniques – such as the ones listed below – in catching their attention.
Structure Your Content
Organizing your webinar by creating a logical framework for your content makes it a lot easier for you to present and discuss your key points so that they are easily grasped by your audience, and easily remembered by you, as you go along. A good structure ensures everything is covered, and aids you in transitioning from one idea to the next.
The study on attention curve conducted by the European Federation of Catalysis Societies can help organize your content. Study results show that in most cases an audience intently listens to a speaker at the beginning of a presentation, but that their attention declines at about half way through the talk. They tend to become attentive again as your presentation draws to its conclusion.
It is therefore advisable to divide a webinar’s main body into several parts. Each section should have an intermediary conclusion, to keep the audience’s attention level from declining.
Use Effective Visuals
Though PowerPoint has long been used as a tool for online meetings and webinars, not all facilitators can appropriately use its features. When you create your visuals, it’s wise to tap both your analytic and aesthetic sides. The core message and how it is presented should perfectly match, if your presentation is to create an impact.
Cool icons for PowerPoint presentations
Here are some key guidelines to follow:
- Choose a simple background that forwards your message and brand. If you intend to use different backgrounds, it’s advisable to use analogous colors to avoid distracting the viewers.
- Colors for the background and text should be strongly contrasting. Otherwise the text will be unreadable.
- Insert clear-cut, quality graphics, animations, and charts. Don’t insert photos just to please viewers. If an illustration doesn’t have a purpose, don’t include it.
- There’s no such thing as an ideal presentation font, but choose an easy-to-read style. Many reputable speakers recommend text size should be at least 30 pixels.
- Do not write too much text on a slide. Doing so will just prompt attendees to read, in effect neglecting what you’re saying.
Remember that your PowerPoint presentation is a communication tool. All its elements should evoke a response from your audience, whether active or subconscious.
Even if your attendees don’t see you in person, rehearsal is a serious requirement for webinar facilitators. Here are some tips:
- Write a script based on your content and understand it by heart. However, do not make the mistake of reading it during the webinar. Otherwise, you may sound emotionless. You may also fail to reiterate important concepts. You might get lost if somebody asks you a question. A script may be a good guide, but feel free to be spontaneous.
- Record your voice. Listen to the recording and find out if you use the appropriate intonation, speed, volume, and pitch. These important elements make up for the fact that you’re not physically present. Make sure your voice conveys confidence and expertise in your subject matter.
- Go through your PowerPoint presentation during rehearsal. Ensure you click to the next page at the right time to avoid any form of confusion.
- Familiarize your webinar platform and hardware. Know how to make the most of their features. Learn how to deal with the possible glitches to readily resolve technical problems you may encounter during the webinar.
Don’t forget to reserve sufficient time for discussion during the webinar. You may do it after your talk or you can answer questions along the way if you don’t get distracted. You may ask the audience to type the issues they want to bring up or you can encourage them to express their ideas verbally. It will all depend on the available time, number of attendees, and personal preferences.
When you apply the aforementioned techniques, you encourage the audience to listen actively during the webinar. When the audience is all ears to what you say, you can expect comprehension, information retention and action – three indicators that make a webinar highly valuable.
Quality Webinar Slides
Check our discount bundles and see if there are any slides you can use for your next webinar. Our PowerPoint slides are fully editable, so you can redesign the elements based on your topic, presentation style and audience.