You’ve spent hours or maybe even days putting together a killer webinar that you’re confident is going to turn at least some webinar attendees into customers. The topic is in demand, information is irresistible – and your graphics? They’re visually engaging.
You’re days away from launch and are both nervous and excited! I know exactly how you feel – on average I give about six to nine webinars each year and there’s always one step that helps me with those nerves and giving a great webinar – preparation.
When I first started giving webinars I would have to sit in a quiet place and do deep breathing exercises over and over before they began… I was so nervous! I’d also over prepare writing complete scripts of what I would say and rehearsed in front a co-worker who knew the subject matter in addition to a friend who was less familiar with it. Not only did that tack on a lot of extra time, it actually ended up being counterproductive. I tried to memorize my scripts and when I gave my first few webinars using this method; I got distracted thinking of what I planned in rehearsals and felt a bit robotic. While the feedback I was getting was pretty good, my webinar attendees deserved more.
I changed my webinar preparation approach and quickly started getting better feedback and better results. (I was also having way too much fun giving webinars for them to be considered work).
How to Prepare for Your Webinar
Add Talking Points to Printed Slides
If you are using PowerPoint, select the handouts option from the print menu (pictured below) and print your slides. See what works best for you – you might need to add each slide to its own page or might find that three to a page will suffice. I’ve found that adding bulleted lists of notes next to each slide is best to follow when webinars are live.
Do a Run Through, One Time
Do a complete run though, mainly for timing purposes. Staying on each slide between one and two minutes typically keeps your webinar attendees engaged and awake. (Hint: When creating your presentation, plan accordingly.) As part of your run through, go through your bulleted list of notes but don’t overthink what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. If you feel more comfortable doing so, go ahead and do your run though with another person, as if the run through was the live event.
Test Your Technology
There are two ideal times to test your audio and webinar software – during your run through then 15 minutes prior to your webinar beginning. Your webinar attendees obviously need to be able to clearly hear you communicate and view a presentation that does not lag or drop offline.
During your webinar, turning off your phone should go without saying. But, you’ll also want to be sure to keep any other distractions at bay. Weeks prior, verify that there won’t be any construction in your building (I’ve seen this come up unexpectedly) and make sure you have a quiet room to present from, in the event unplanned noise comes in from outside. If you have an office that is loud by nature due to enthusiastic co-workers, let them know what time your webinar will be and add a ‘webinar in session’ note to a closed office you’ll be presenting from.
Think and See Success
I am a big believer in positive thinking and visualizing desires. Before you write this off, just try it. About a half hour before your webinar begins, take five minutes to revisit the goal you hope to achieve then think about how it would feel to see it come to fruition. (I say revisit because I’m assuming you set an initial goal prior to creating your webinar.) Stay positive during your webinar – even if you say mess up saying ‘um’ too many times.
Remember – you know the subject matter you’re talking about. Be confident! Use the bullet points on your handouts as your guide to help you remember important add-ons and talk about what you know and love.
Let me know how these work by leaving a comment below or sending me a tweet.
Photo: Peter Starr Northrop hosts an SEMrush webinar. Photo by Anneliese Sparks.