How to go from Webin-argh to Webin-ahh

A post by Conor Harte

The scene: You are at your desk, Pret sandwich in hand, a visibly mounting to-do list. You have set aside some much needed CPD time when Linda from Finance comes over to talk about last year’s figures. In horror, you simultaneously spill the congealing remains of this morning’s instant coffee on your January-sale jeans and set off your 80’s guilty pleasure power ballad playlist on Spotify, notifying the whole office of your love of Spandau Ballet’s ‘Gold’. Slow zoom out as the whole office stares at you, startled and appalled…

This is typically what your audience is up against when trying to engage with a webinar. Audiences in general are demanding more from content and how it is being delivered. From Ventuz to gesture controlled presentations, content in face-to-face events is ever more exciting and innovative. So how do we take this and use it in an online streaming format? Webinars are a unique platform, they come with different hurdles but also with great benefits when used correctly. Here are 5 tips from our experience of creating webinars:

Write a Narrative

Having a clear story before starting to design the presentation is vital. Developing your narrative into a script will ensure that you aren’t repeating any points, that you stay on track and on time. Make sure you rehearse with your speaker and do a dry run before going live. That is a must!

Visualise

The average adult attention span today is 8 seconds; that is 1 second less than a goldfish. Make sure that your slides aren’t covered in text, facts and figures.  Pick out the key ones you want to highlight and get your speaker to do the leg work. Use images and infographics to get your key information across.

Navigate

As we have mentioned, your audience are likely to be distracted, so knowing where they are in the presentation will help keep them engaged. A great way of doing this is to include a progress bar in your slides.

Animate

We aren’t talking about the whirling title you used for your Year 11 physics presentations. PowerPoint animation has come on leaps and bounds. With the presenter typically not being visible, animation plays a vital role in connecting the audience and the content. If we need to renew the attention of the audience every 8 seconds, this will help engage and prevent distraction. Test your animation on the machine you will be using, animation can take a lot of computer capacity and may not work as well as the computer it was created on.

Relax

Finally, relax! Running a webinar can be very daunting, but with a cracking presentation, a watertight script and plenty of rehearsal time you have everything you need to make sure those attendees are engaged.

As you can see what works in webinars is different to what you’d typically do for other types of presentations. For instance, large images are great for dramatic stage presentations; detailed slides work best in smaller face-to-face meetings. A happy medium between the two works best for webinars, ensuring comprehension, meaningful content and clarity.