presentations need to be shorter—
45 to 60 minutes is good, or 90 minutes
maximum. Get to the point faster and
with more visual support than in an in-person presentation. The amount of
interaction drops with the number of
people, so if your training or session
needs audience input, you should consider smaller sessions. For example,
there were over 400 people online for
our marketing webinar on behalf of
Go To Webinar. But when we do our
training at Great WebMeetings.com, we
limit class size to 10 people. We want
open phone lines and maximum participation from each participant. Form
The single biggest presentation error expe-
rienced presenters make is speaking too
quickly. Here are two simple tricks for
Imagine your rate of speed as a speed-
ometer, and speak five miles an hour
slower than you normally would.
Build pauses into your presentation.
When you change visuals, stop talking and
give your audience time to process your
information. You also can slow down by
taking questions, scanning the chat conversation throughout your presentation, and
using a co-presenter. The interview format
works exceptionally well in webinars.
Webinars are an important part of the
speaking business. Speakers who appear
confident and familiar with webinars
have a great advantage. We already know
our subjects, we care about our audiences, and so technology is just a hurdle
to overcome. So get over it and get on
with sharing your message to the world.
October 2011 | SPEAKER | 33
Plan for audience interaction
Experienced speakers and facilitators
unconsciously scan the room for reactions, and pause to ask questions when
someone looks befuddled. You will not
get those cues online, so you must build
them into your presentation outline and
use interactive features to ask the audience’s opinion, keep them awake and
gain reaction. If the phone lines are open,
allow attendees to participate or answer a
planned question. Do not hold questions
until the end, especially in small groups
with fewer than 50 participants.
Wayne Turmel is fanatical about helping people communicate online. He is the president of and teaches people to present, train, sell and run meetings
using virtual presentation tools. Turmel is the
6 Weeks to a Great Webinar: 10 Steps
to Successful Virtual Presentation. He also
writes The Connected Manager Blog and hosts
the Cranky Middle Manager Show podcast.
Use an outline or script.
Time and attention are in short supply,
so it is important to stay on track and not
ramble during an online presentation. You
can outline your presentation with a print-out of your PowerPoint visuals and write
notes to yourself, either in “handout”
mode or in “Notes” pages. Use bullet
points and lots of white space to make
it easy on yourself and avoid falling into
reading your content word for word.