If you have a new product or service to launch, wouldn’t it be good to be able to present it your existing and potential clients? Not so easy if your clients are spread far and wide – perhaps not even in your own country. Why not host an online presentation, or ‘webinar’? Just as you might use your laptop or tablet for a physical presentation, you would do the same with a webinar – basically sharing the contents of your screen with your audience, be that a PowerPoint presentation or whatever.
There is a plethora of providers for you try, with a variety of subscription prices and features available. You can host small online meetings with one or two attendees, right up to large-scale web conferences with 1,000 people in the virtual audience. Those attending would view your webinar via their web browser. Some providers, like GoToWebinar, have custom smartphone and tablet apps that allow easy viewing on those platforms.
You can encourage audience participation in various ways. Pre-prepare polls, asking attendees simple multiple choice questions. You get live results in your webinar control panel which you can talk about during your presentation or even show to your attendees.
During a physical presentation, your audience would be able to put up their hand should they wish to ask a question. Your online attendees would be able to do the same, if you wish. They will have a panel in which they can type questions. These then appear in your webinar control panel, ready for you to answer when you’re ready. You can even allow audience members to voice chat, if that is of benefit.
Webinars can be recorded for use later. You can offer them as a resource to those who attended so that they can come back and cherry-pick content they’d like to see again. There will also be those who, for one reason or another, could not attend the webinar. Offer them access to the recording so they don’t miss out.
If your webinar requires more than one person to be presenting, but perhaps for logistical reasons not everyone can be in the same room – or even in the same country – at the same time. Many webinar providers will allow for multiple presenters to participate from any location.
There are some basic points to bear in mind when hosting a webinar:
Try to make sure that the room you will be using to host your webinar is as quiet as possible. You don’t want the noise of a lorry reversing outside during your presentation. Ensure that any phones are switched off for the duration, and make it clear to anyone else who may be around that there should be no interruptions.
How fast is your broadband? If you are at the end of a dodgy connection, you don’t want your presentation to be freezing regularly. As a matter of course you should test it out well in advance. Use one of the free trials that are available to run a practice webinar. Get some friends or colleagues to act as attendees to assess the quality.
Once you’ve prepared your webinar, test it again on others who will give you an honest opinion of the content. If it’s really not up to the mark, you want to know well before presenting to people you’re trying to impress.
As you would with any presentation that you make, make sure that you plan everything well in advance. Don’t leave everything until the last minute and try to blag it. A poorly prepared presentation will do you more harm than good – believe me, I’ve seen some humdingers in my time!
It’s amazing how many people forget to introduce themselves properly at the beginning of a webinar. Include a photo of each presenter so that your audience can put faces to the voices.
Have a look around at the various webinar providers and take advantage of their hints and tips – then get ready to unleash yourself on the webinar world!