Tips for a successful webinar

July 18, 2011

A webinar is a quick, efficient way to disseminate valuable information to a large group of people. But do you know how to capture your audience's attention?

Webinars have become an integral part of the Dale Carnegie Training arsenal over the last couple of years. We understand that a typical course can be time intensive, and sometimes busy professionals need to develop themselves professionally, but from the comforts of home or the office.

Perhaps you even conduct your own webinars as part of your job functions. How do you keep things interesting? How do you keep your participants engaged? Sometimes it’s not always feasible to have visuals, so it’s important that your voice portrays confidence and enthusiasm in your subject matter.

Michael Crom, executive vice president of Dale Carnegie Training, discussed this very topic in a recent article. He offers a few tips for improving your speech:

Speak clearly and articulate your words. The last thing you want is your audience to have to strain to hear you, and the quieter you talk, the more likely they are to tune you out.

Vary your tone. Emphasizing key points and accentuating your “power words” is important. Make it easy for your audience to identify what you want them to walk away with.

Speed is important. Talk fast when you want to convey excitement or urgency. Slow down to allow other points to sink in. Well-placed pauses can also add emphasis.

Crom also recommends recording your conversations. This will help you identify how you sound and come across to your audience, so that you can make the changes necessary to give the best presentation possible.

Some more great webinar advice from TechSoup:

Follow up after the event. Just because the webinar is over doesn’t mean that your work has ended. Be sure to take some time post-webinar to collect feedback from your participants — and to publish a recap, summary, transcript, or recording (or all four!) of your webinar online.

Here are some tasks you may consider doing after the webinar has ended:

  • Send a thank-you note to the webinar participants, including both subject-matter experts and those who worked behind the scenes.
  • Send a follow-up email to attendees with a link to the recording, links to resources mentioned during the webinar, and a hard copy of your PowerPoint presentation.
  • Send a post-event survey. If your conferencing tool doesn’t have built-in functionality, you can use a free tool like SurveyMonkey to create your own online survey, which you can then link to in a follow-up email. Use this survey to find out what attendees liked and what they disliked about your webinar, and what webinars they might be interested in attending in the future.

Note that you’ll have a higher response if you send out the survey immediately afterward. Also, keep in mind that it may also be helpful to either formally or informally collect feedback from participants, including speakers, who may have good advice you can use to improve the planning and executing of future online events.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central Indiana, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Indiana. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

Photo credit: sridgway

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