Basics of Webinar Presentation Techniques

By Sharat Sharan, John Carucci

That cliché of not getting a second chance to make a first impression holds a great deal of truth, especially when you make a webinar presentation over the Internet to people you cannot see. Getting an audience to like you is hard enough, but when you’re not in the same room with them, it’s hard to measure your performance. That doesn’t make it any less important.

That’s why being comfortable with the material and being sincere go a long way. Whenever an audience feels that they can learn something from you, they tend to stick around. You can liven things up a little by injecting a little humor, you know, like making exaggerated analogies.

But remember, that’s not the same as trying to add a punchline. Unless you’re a professional comedian, don’t try too hard to be funny.

There’s a golden rule about performing in front of large groups from every person who has ever spoken in a room filled with people, and that’s “Don’t try to be funny.” That’s because very few people are actually funny.

So trying to transform yourself into a comedian ends up looking fake, and that’s not an endearing quality for a webinar presenter. Instead, concern yourself with how you effectively tell a story.

You can appeal to your audience in a way that engages them, too.

Consider the following:

  • Know the subject matter: This can’t be overstated how important it is for the audience to regard the speaker as an expert.

  • Use humor: Don’t try to make 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 well to that because it makes them feel like you’re like them. Just don’t make fun of the audience. No one likes that.

  • Ask rhetorical questions: Peppering your speech with occasional rhetorical questions has been proven to help listeners retain information they heard. Questions stimulate the participant’s brain. Studies show that audiences remember less about what you say and more about the questions that you ask.

  • Be rhythmic: Repeat the key points of the presentation so they sink in. Remember: People tend to absorb information through repetition.

  • Use analogies: Explaining complex ideas using common comparisons makes it much easier for an audience to understand a complicated topic. Compare complex issues to something simpler and more relatable when you can.