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As you know, it’s now possible to create a Zoom Video Webinar for up to 1,000 viewers with up to 25 panelists. So, we’ve given you the tool, but it’s up to you to execute the webinar in a way that will not lull your attendees into a trance-like state. Zombies make great props, but they’re lousy listeners. Any episode of The Walking Dead will demonstrate this.
If you are planning a session that involves very little dialogue, like a webinar, be prepared to make every effort possible to keep your attendees from making paper airplanes and throwing them at their screens.
To host a successful presentation, you’ll have to trek into a frontier that few have set foot on. It’s a magical land where presenters transmit their desired information to attendees and rainbows actually lead to pots of gold. There’s one problem, though. The land sits at the crest of a very steep mountain. It may be difficult to get there, but once you do, you can say with pride that you’ve hosted a webinar that got its point across!
We’ve got some advice for you if you’re eager to venture into this mystical place:
Robots have their place in society. Delivering webinars, however, is a human task. It requires the oscillation of vocal cords — one which produces fluctuations that deliver emotion. A human voice has the power to sway others, but you have to learn how to use it appropriately.
Listen to public speeches from your favorite great orators. Do you see what makes them click with their audience? It’s mostly about leaving appropriate pauses, saying meaningful things that touch the audience, and speaking at a pace that allows listeners’ mental facilities to properly process the information they’re receiving. Think of Martin Luther King Jr. or Winston Churchill: they both delivered some moving speeches, but that wasn’t an accident. We are quick to forget the fact that speaking itself is a practiced, honed skill.
The conventional science behind speaking suggests that you should speak publicly at a rate of roughly 120 words per minute. Of course, that’s not a strict rule, but it gives you an idea of the rate of speech that the human brain is most comfortable processing. When presenting important ideas, pause a little. The pauses should be a little longer than those you make when presenting supporting details. Your audience has to know when they have to pay extra attention.
Speaking of which…
What do presentations and circles have in common?
They both have a radius. No, seriously… Look at it this way: When talking to an audience, the important points are the ones that hit home, right? They’re at the center of your circle. As you get into more detail about each point in your outline, you’re veering off-center ever so slightly. Eventually, as you venture further from the center, you’re increasing your radius.
Now that you understand what we mean by the word “radius”, you can use this value to measure how mundane the details in your conversation are. If you start branching into subtopics of subtopics of subtopics in an obscure section of your outline, you start having a radius so large, your audience will be on the moon. The radius not only measures how mundane your presentation is; it also measures how far away you’re pushing your audience from you. Don’t send them into space.
For most of your presentation, shoot at point-blank range. Don’t let the radius grow more than a few inches. If you must go into detail, keep it succinct, simple, and flowing harmoniously with the previous ideas. If there is a lot of detail, consider passing it out in a detailed handout they can read later and just going over the big points of the handout in person.
Aside from all this talk of geometry, there’s something else you can do…
Boredom is a transmissible disease. If you’re not careful, you will send your webinar into something called the FarmVille Zone: the point in time in a webinar when they’ll open up FarmVille and start milking their little virtual cows. Think about it: At that point, a webinar has become so rigid that the audience would rather click on virtual farm animals than listen to what the presenter has to say.
If you’re using slides, you might need to consider what kind of material you’re putting on the screen. Is everything on those slides absolutely imperative to the presentation? In other words, is it something that the audience absolutely needs to know in order to follow along? Chances are you’ll find a slide or two, or fifteen, that you can cut out completely while still maintaining integrity. Use slides just to drive home a couple key points.
Oh, and while you’re at it…
If you’re organizing a presentation you’re passionate about, your grip on objectivity goes out the window. After all, you’ve worked so hard on getting this presentation perfectly and we’re now asking you to whip out a machete on it.
This is why it’s so crucial to have someone else have a look at the presentation and give you an honest critique of what should or should not be included in it. In fact, you should have at least three people look at it in a brainstorming/chopping session. This way, you gain an objective point of view on what can make the meeting more interesting. What you do with their advice is up to you, but it’s important that you take everything your little webinar “commission” says into heavy consideration.
Make sure to get input on how the information you present flows, because you’re going to have to…
The best comedians, the best news anchors, and the best orators have made use of the segue. This little tool makes presentations sail smoothly since it emphasizes the cohesion of all of the ideas you’re getting across. Don’t make your presentations go from one topic to another without first easing the new topic in.
Practice building segues and you’ll be able to captivate your audience. You’ve seen examples of this tool all over this piece in the sentences before each section. See how that is taken advantage of and try to include such elements in your presentation, too!
Unlike other webinar services, Zoom Video Webinar is immersive. Not only can users see your presentation and participate in text Q/A, they can actually see the panel of presenters at the same time as the presentation. So take care of how you look on video!
In addition to hosting wonderful presentations, you can also eliminate plenty of the nasty issues that plague traditional online meeting solutions by using Zoom! Sign up today for a free account or contact us to learn more about Zoom Video Webinar.