By Jennifer Gregory
Jennifer Gregory is a journalist with over 17 years professional writing experience. Jennifer blogs via Contently.com.
We have all been to presentations where the slides contained typos, the speech was obviously slapped together at the last minute, and the presenter appeared to have gotten dressed in the dark.
While the technology of a webinar makes it more cost effective for you to reach your customers than live events, the lack of personal interaction makes it even more important that you project a professional image every step of the way.
Here are four simple ways that you can maximize the results of your time with the customer by producing a professional webinar:
Get Started on the Right Foot
Your attendee’s perception of your company begins the moment they get the first invitation or email about the upcoming webinar. By clearly communicating accurate information in a professional manner, your audience will start perceiving you right from the start as an expert and someone who they can trust.
Justin Lee, with InternProfits.com, recommends keeping your registration page simple and even using video if appropriate. He also suggests sending out a reminder email to each person who registered.
“Make sure that you specify the start time in multiple time zones, especially if you have an international crowd,” said Lee.
Create Engaging and Polished Slides
While it is important that you provide engaging and relevant content through your narrative during the presentation in addition to the slides, be sure to have an interesting and visually appealing slide presentation.
“Drop the text slide and the bullet points and use short titles at most,” says Farnworth. “Let the words and the substance come from the presenter, spoken with authority by the expert.” He recommends using visual images and graphics whenever possible, but cautions against using generic pictures that are not relevant.
Have a co-worker proofread your slides and any take-home information before the webinar. And then have even another person double-check it, just to be sure. A simple mistake like “too” for “two” can really chip away at your credibility.
Do a Complete Dress Rehearsal. And Then Do Another One.
One of the nice things about rehearsing for a webinar is that you don’t have to do it in front of mirror or a friend, but can use the webinar technology to record your practice runs. Allow plenty of time for rehearsing and practice the presentation until it feels very natural to you. Have an honest co-worker critique your performance and also some ask you questions via chat during the dry runs so you get used to thinking on your feet.
Make sure that you are very comfortable using the technology and work out any kinks before and be sure to practice using the exact equipment and server that you will using during the event.
Look and Sound the Part
If you are using video, be sure to dress professionally, just as you would if you were in the front of a conference room.Check that everything visible on the webinar presents the image that you are aiming for.
“Make sure to have your background free of distractions and professional looking,” said Leah Scherschel, Account Coordinator for Abbi Public Relations. “Viewers don’t want to see into your personal life.”
Since the last thing you want your attendees to do during the presentation is start a contest with their co-worker to count the number of “Um’s” that you mutter, be aware of your speech pattern and talk at a conversational rate. You should also be conscious of using any words that are accepted in certain parts of the country, such as y’all, but may project a different image to people outside your region.
By making a conscious effort to make sure that every slide, email or even the shirt you wear helps instill confidence and trust from your customers, you will see tangible benefits from your event long after the webinar is over.