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Webinars For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Presenting Your Relevance as a Webinar Host

Here's one good thing about hosting a webinar: You don't have to worry about stage fright. That's especially a plus if you get nervous in front of large groups of people and need to turn to the sage advice of pretending your audience is all in their underwear to alleviate your anxiety.

Conversely, the webinar takes place in a room without any people in it, except maybe a few helpers, even though you're communicating with hundreds (if not thousands) of participants. That's much easier in one way: You don't have to worry about being nervous. In another way, it presents more of a challenge. As a presenter, you must be charismatic, but you don't have the luxury of reading the faces of the audience to know when you're appealing to them. Nor can they tell if you're bombing. That means it takes a special kind of individual to successfully present a webinar.

How special? Someone who can break the through the glass wall and make the audience love him, or at least believe what he has to say.

Although successfully presenting a webinar is an art form, following this advice can bring you closer to creating a masterpiece:

  • Understand the lingo: Talking about a product or service is as easy as reading a press release, and the audience knows it. That makes it important to get the terminology right. Even if you're a seasoned speaker or knowledgeable about the industry, take a little time to understand the lingo.

  • Imagine a sportscaster who covered soccer in the U.K. talking about baseball and saying, "The match was won by the New York Yankees, three nil." An audience can sense when you don't understand the proper vernacular, and the second they pick up on it, they see the presentation as a waste of time and log off. Don't let that happen, especially because it's totally in your control. So be prepared and focus on points that can help them, and maybe even get them talking later on.

  • Know your audience: The more you know about the people you are addressing, the easier it is to communicate with them. Learn as much about them from the registration data so you don't go over — or under — their heads.

  • Entertain them: Entertaining them doesn't mean you should belt out a tune or crack some jokes. Instead, try to understand how they perceive the topic and appeal to their emotions through wonder and humor.

  • Use humor: Don't tell knock-knock jokes. Instead, take a light approach to explaining some of your topics. It could be as subtle as poking fun at the sound of a particular word or even making fun of your own experiences. Audiences relate to self-deprecating humor, especially if it's constructive. Everyone likes to know that others have the same flaws as they do, but continue to strive for improvement.

  • Take a breath and pause: Just because the webinar is on a strict schedule doesn't mean you have to speed-talk your way through the presentation. It's a good idea to take breath and pause. This gives the audience some time to process the information.

  • Tell, don't sell: People don't want to waste an hour of their life tuning into your webinar with the hope of learning something, only to have you try to sell them something. They don't get the hour back, and that makes them mad. Instead, give them important information and advice. You can still drum up business for your product or service after the presentation.

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