Whether you’re holding a meeting with a few key employees and partners, sharing files and projects with a group, or hosting a webinar for a big audience, web conferencing is the best way to share an engaging and interactive presentation with anyone in the world.
If you’ve never really understood online presentations and you prefer giving them in person, you haven’t done a PowerPoint or other presentation since you were in school, or you simply want to make your web conferences more successful, this is the guide for you! Here we break down what makes a presentation work for a web conference.
Stick to public speaking rules
The same common and essential rules for public speaking still apply to the speakers on a web conference: speak clearly and slowly, enunciate your words, and know what you’re going to say without reading it off a page. Even though you’re not in the same room with your audience, these qualities make a big difference as to how much attendees pay attention and what they take away from what you or other speakers are saying.
For most web conference presentations, it is ideal to have more than one speaker for the duration of the conference. This could mean having a few different guest speakers who present on variations of the theme of your webinar, or simply “handing over the mic” to key attendees who have particularly valuable input on a given topic.
Provide an engaging PowerPoint
Create an online presentation with Microsoft PowerPoint or another program with which it is easy to put together slides with visual and written information. One of the most important rules of a great PowerPoint is to not read off your slides. Instead, vary the language from the script you speak from during the presentation. The other important rule is to keep text to a minimum on each slide. Favor images and graphics with a few key points of text to accompany them.
Even if you don’t use a PowerPoint presentation, make whatever image you share worthwhile and engaging, even if that’s the background behind a live speaker or a coherent desktop being shared. Your audience will find it easier to remember what you say when they remember what they see, too.
Ask for feedback frequently
Keep your audience tuned into your presentation by asking them to engage with you at several points throughout your presentation. It may be tempting to get through all of your material before fielding questions or inviting input, but you’ll be rewarded by greater attention span and interest from your attendees if you take multiple opportunities to invite their participation.
Try inviting questions through the chat feature of your webinar, which you can answer or discuss briefly between parts of your presentation. Be prepared for a lack of questions too, by having a few stock ones on hand. Also try using a polling feature to gauge interest or ask your own questions regarding an aspect of your presentation. You can even “test” your audience through chat or polling by asking questions about something on your previous slides to help recap and drive important points home.
Avoid too much pre-recorded audio and video
Try not to play too much recorded audio and video content during your presentation. Of course, you may be presenting on a topic like film or music, which naturally call for video or audio clips. But without the sound of your live voice for too long, the audience may get distracted or tune out easily from a pre-recorded segment. They may even question the point of your role as a presenter if it seems you’re relying too heavily on media to present your topic.
Of course, audio and video can definitely help to enrich your presentation, too—in moderation. When you use pre-recorded media, make sure to edit it down to the most salient information that will illustrate your point or example, keeping the clip as short as possible. Make sure to introduce the clip by asking the audience to look out or listen for certain key information, and ask for input afterwards to make sure they stayed with it.
Do a dress rehearsal
If you’re accustomed to giving any kind of presentation or public speech, you’re certainly used to rehearsing it to yourself by thumbing through notecards or clicking through the slides of a presentation. But with a web conference, you should be practicing with the conference software itself to make sure everything goes smoothly on the technical side and you can carry out your presentation the way you expect.
Schedule a full “dress rehearsal” for a web conference with all of the main speakers ahead of time. Start a conference and go through each section of the presentation exactly as you plan to during the live event. You’ll familiarize yourself and your speakers with all of the features of the service and the exact agenda and expectations of the conference, avoiding and addressing any problems that could come up when an audience joins you.
By following these few simple tips, you can transform a simple presentation into a rich and full-featured web conference that captures the attention and interest of your audience at every step. With some preparation and a quality web conferencing service, we know you can bring your next webinar or online meeting to the next level of success!