Silverpop - Webinar Tips: 17 Lessons Learned from More Than 30 Webinars (Part 2-During/After the Webinar)
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Webinar Tips: 17 Lessons Learned from More Than 30 Webinars (Part 2-During/After the Webinar)

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by: Loren McDonald (@LorenMcDonald)
11 August 2009

In my previous post, I listed seven key lessons I've learned in preparing for a Webinar. In this post, I'll look at 10 more tips to consider during and after your Webinar presentation.
Lessons Learned: During and after the Webinar

8. Anticipate and address the routine questions. If 500 people register, 200 people will show up for the Webinar, but about half of those will call in 1-15 minutes after you've started. Because so many people show up late, they miss the opening announcements - audio instructions, when you'll send out the presentation afterward, etc.

Have a team member respond directly to these questions. Ask the presenter to remind people occasionally about these basics throughout the Webinar. Also consider inserting a slide a few times throughout the presentation that covers these points.

9. The easiest part is your presentation. Talking to a bunch of slides on a topic you are knowledgeable about is usually the simplest part of your Webinar. Being engaging and exceeding attendee expectations, however, is quite a bit harder. Style and delivery points count.

10. For good or bad, your speaking style is accentuated. When in an in-person conversation, your "ums," "ahs," throat clearings and other audible distractions tend to be less noticeable because there are other senses being used.

On a Webinar, these habits are greatly accentuated because it is just your voice and some slides between you and the attendee. The first step is to just be aware of the things you do with your voice - listen to your recorded Webinars once in awhile, if you can bear it. Step two is to start working to minimize any annoying habits.

Secondly, a monotone voice, with little variance in tone and pitch can be very bothersome to many listeners. If possible, work to use a comforting, TV broadcaster-style voice - but that also incorporates the excitement and story-telling of a baseball announcer.

11. Be flexible during your presentation. You plan to present 35 slides in 30 minutes. It's doable because many are title slides, quick, image-based, etc. You didn't, however, count on the moderator asking three questions during your session, his opening taking a few minutes longer than expected and you adding a couple of long-winded anecdotes you thought of on-the-fly. You or your moderator may also notice a lot of questions or comments coming in on a particular aspect of your presentation.

Be prepared to skip over certain slides that you can come back to in the Q&A. Use the live feedback and your instincts to spend more or less time in certain parts of your presentation.

12. The hardest part is wading through the questions.
If you are lucky, you will receive a lot of great questions. The challenge can be wading through all of the questions, trying to find the ones that you understand and think will be relevant to most attendees, all while asking or answering previous questions.

If you are the presenter, make sure you have someone screening the questions for you so you can focus on your answers. Additionally, have a list of seed questions at the ready so you can transition into those out of the gate and/or use them when you don't have a good question at the ready.

13. Ignore the off-topic questions. Doesn't matter what the Webinar topic is. I always get questions about how to find a good email list targeting (fill in the blank segment). Stay on topic and use your seed questions (see above) as necessary.

14. Be careful with humor, comments and tone. Webinar presentations are very different from speaking in front of an audience.

At in-person events, you get a feel for the room, for what kind of humor and style from other speakers the audience appreciates. Audience members can see your facial expressions, hand gestures and body language. These can dramatically affect how audience members react to things you say.

On Webinars, the audience has only one thing to judge you by: your vocal delivery. If in doubt, leave out humor or comments that could be offensive - though you can't foresee every objection. I once compared the email unsubscribe process to divorce and an attendee registered their displeasure with this analogy because they had recently gone through a very unpleasant divorce.

15. You can't please everyone.
Audiences will love you and hate you. In the same Webinar, comments will range from "Really great Webinar, Loren!" to "Loren's section was too basic, really disappointing." As they say, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

Ignore the extremes. Focus on the middle. When you receive a relatively high number of negative comments or percentage of less-than-stellar ratings, you clearly did miss the mark. Determine where you went astray.

For example, your content might have been fabulous, but it didn't match up with your Webinar description. This creates missed expectations.

16. Follow up in a timely fashion. On average, 50-60 percent of Webinar registrants will not make the live presentation. Make sure you send out an email within a few days to both attendees/non-attendees with links to the recorded version and PowerPoint or PDF version of the presentation.

17. Continue the conversation.
You will likely have many more questions than time to answer them live. Offer to continue to the dialog via Twitter, in your blog or newsletter and incorporate Webinar insights into your lead nurturing program.

I'm sure I've missed many other tips, so if you've learned some great Webinar lessons - either as a presenter or attendee, please share them in the comments section.


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