Just as technical webinar malfunctions have the power to kill your opportunities to effectively communicate, convert and ultimately sell, there is one other major factor that determines your success.
Your ability to persuasively communicate during a webinar is hands down the most critical element to whether your ideas will resonate and move people to action or fall flat.
Lucky for you, this post today will arm you with five simple rules that’ll be boosting your webinar presentation skills in no time! The best part is that anyone can leverage these skills and experience rapid improvement!
Without further ado, let’s get started!
The five keys to boosting your webinar presentation skills include:
- The Power of Smile
- The Magic of Story
- The Strength of Presentation Structure
- The Essence of Good Design
- The 80/20 Rule
Yes, if you can master those five elements the number of webinar success stories you’ll experience will explode!
Boosting your Webinar Presentation Skills Tip #1:
The Power of Smile
A genuine smile has the power to genuinely change someone’s day. Let’s try a little experiment here. I’d like you to think deeply about someone or some occasion in which a smile was passed your way. How did it make you feel? How does it make you feel now?
I’m guessing that such memories generated a few warm fuzzies for you.
If you want your webinar participants to feel the same, you should be doing a lot more smiling!
For any of you naysayers who might doubt some of these claims, there is solid anecdotal evidence that supports the power of displaying your pearly whites.
Science has my back on smiling: SUPPORT #1→
Let’s start with what actually happens in your brain whenever you smile. In essence, a smile activates your brain’s neural messaging. More specifically, smiling triggers the release of neuropeptides which function to ward off stress.
Now, neuropeptides are tiny molecules that enable neurons to communicate. These molecules message our whole body when we are happy, sad, angry, depressed or excited.
Neurotransmitters such as dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin are our natural mood boosters and are all released whenever we smile. The major physiological effect this has on our bodies is that it relaxes us and lowers our heart rate and blood pressure.
If I lost you there, just remember that scientifically speaking, smiling will make you feel more relaxed and much better overall.
Not a bad state to be in when trying to boost your webinar presentation skills right?
Are you ready for some more hard-hitting proof that smiling is beneficial to you and your online presentations?
Science has my back on smiling: SUPPORT #2→
Another study found in the Journal Neuropsychologia noted that seeing an attractive, smiling face triggers an area of your brain which handles sensory rewards. The study indicated that when you see a person smiling, you derive a feeling of reward.
If your online audience is subconsciously generating a feeling of satisfaction each time you smile, it could be one additional measure to help prevent premature drop-outs from your webinar.
Science has my back on smiling: SUPPORT #3→
Lastly, other studies have shown that our brains operate in such a way that when we view another person’s smile, an unconscious trigger is activated which causes us to smile back.
One study found that subjects who were presented images of smiling happy faces would imitate the pictures without even consciously deciding to do so. For those who did not smile it was learned that they had to consciously decide against doing so, which of course required more effort and energy.
So again, to relay this info back to webinars, you smiling will work on the notion of reciprocity. When you look and feel good, chances are your audience will too!
Now I think it is obvious how that emotional state could translate into potential sales once you get into that portion of your presentation.
So to sum up Boosting your Webinar Presentation Skills Tip #1, each time you smile at a person, your body activates its very own feel-good vibes. Not only that your audience will feel rewarded by witnessing this and even feel compelled to join the smiling party too! That, in turn, will make them feel better and instantly create a connection in which you stand to benefit throughout your webinar presentation.
Care to dig a bit deeper into smile talk? I actually covered this topic in another post you may be interested in checking out!
The big takeaway for “Boost your Webinar Presentation Skills Tip #1”: Do not forget to flash that million dollar smile of yours!
Boosting your Webinar Presentation Skills Tip #2:
The Magic of Story
For those in big business, the power of story is well known and well used. We see many of our favorite brands employ stories to peddle their products and services using television commercials, online marketing, PR, and events.
Why do they do this? Well, to be blunt, stories flat out work!
Storytelling Power→ Scientific research lending a hand→ SUPPORT #1:
To add some teeth this claim of mine, check this out! A study by Origin/Hill Holiday and covered by Adweek performed a series of experiments in which products were paired with stories in the product descriptions, bios and or reviews.
This compared to products that were promoted via standard nuts and bolts product descriptions that keyed in on features and superior technical aspects.
What was found was that without fail, the product that had a story attached, brought in more money.
Now relating this back to webinar success, especially the type that lead up to a pitch, the lesson is clear. Sprinkle in some quick, relevant and meaningful stories. If you do, science tells us that you stand a much better chance of actually converting on your sale!
Need a bit more convincing about how stories can actually boost your webinar presentation skills?
Storytelling Power→ Scientific research lending a hand→ SUPPORT #2:
I came across a fantastic piece put out by the online publication giant “The Guardian”. Their article is entitled “The Science of Storytelling: How and Why to Use it in your Marketing.” Like many other articles written on this topic, the evidence which promotes the use of storytelling is compelling.
One study in the article noted how researchers discovered that when we hear neutral words like “book” or “table”, the area of our brain associated with language are activated.
However, when we hear a story a few additional things take place. The same language center of our brain activates, however–this is where things get interesting–other sensory areas of our brain are also triggered.
According to the study, sensory-rich words like perfume or coffee triggered the area of our brain charged with handling smell.
This principle would probably explain how a suspenseful story is able to increase our heart rate at times. The story is essentially creating more cognitive touch points within our mind and body.
In essence, this allows a good story to pull us deeper into a moment, thought or idea.
Now in returning to webinars, it is pretty standard thought that the success or failure of this type of presentation relies heavily on shared emotion and buy-in from the audience.
A story is a perfect vehicle to facilitate this by creating a deeper and more meaningful connection to whatever ideas you are putting forth.
The big takeaway for “Boost your Webinar Presentation Skills Tip #2”: Add story to your webinars!
Boosting your Webinar Presentation Skills Tip #3:
The Strength of Presentation Structure
Now, in giving a webinar it is assumed that you have attracted the right kind of people. They signed up for a reason and are there to be fulfilled in whatever manner you promised to address. Your job is now to deliver the goods!
One way to do this is by having a set structure and approach. Research shows that by incorporating structure, retention rates of content are improved upwards of 40% compared to info that is randomly presented.
*Say what?! Yes, structure is a big deal!*
However, did you know that there are several different approaches to package up and deliver your ideas?
Well, there are and each can lead to different kinds of results. This section will introduce you to these different methods and allow you to choose the best approach to achieve your webinar aims.
In general, all types of presentation are using one of the following to organize content and deliver it in ways that make sense, are logical and create impact. Before creating a presentation deck for your next webinar, its best you know your options.
Classic Presentation Frameworks:
- Problem Solution
- Compare and Contrast
- Aristotle 3 Act
Let me run through each.
- Problem Solution – This type of presentation structure is built on the idea that you alternate between presenting a problem and then presenting a solution. Ideally, you lace this approach with stories and data to support your ideas.
- Numerical – This presentation style is based on you breaking up your recommendations into chunks. These chunks can be keys, rules, sections, etc. Finally, your chunks will always build to your final message.
For this post–“The five keys to boosting your webinar presentation skills”– I purposely chose a numerical framework
- Chronological – This style is centered on presenting info in sequential order such as the past to present to future. As a side note, renown presenter Steve Jobs used this to perfection.
- Compare and Contrast – As the title suggests, you base your approach on juxtaposing two or more different ideas and then exposing their differences. This style can be very effective when you want to show how your ideas, product or service really stands out as compared to others.
- Aristotle 3 Act – This final structure is a classic dating back to ancient Greece and was perfected by one of the Gods of persuasion. His approach was predicated on something called the Universal Story Arc.
Within this arc, you have three elements: situation, conflict, and resolution. Does this sound familiar? Well, it should because your standard Hollywood film and best selling authors use it to perfection.
The nice thing is that we can also use this approach to give our presentations some excitement and flair too! Let me explain each element for you:
Situation→ explains the current circumstances
Conflict→ explains the obstacles related to a topic
Resolution→ arrives when a solution is found
You can build a webinar that explains the current pain for the consumer by outlining their own unique situation. Then you can dive into the various conflicts that are created or exist due to their present predicament. Finally, you can position yourself as the answer to whatever ails your audience.
These structures will definitively help you craft your message so that it hits your webinar participants with impact.
The most obvious question you may have is which to choose. Unfortunately, there is no set answer. It really does depend on your presentation aims. However, having said that, there are a couple of general guidelines that many people tend to follow.
If your aim is to simply educate without a pitch at the end, the numerical approach is a safe choice. As noted earlier, this covers the type of webinar that looks to address tips/keys and steps.
The Compare and Contrast approach is also an effective medium for educating but can certainly be used for selling too.
Again, your choice of framework will depend on your objectives, type of content and your own creativity.
Final tips on presentation structure:
*Stick to one framework for one presentation
*Also, be consistent from start to finish. When your audience figures out your approach it’ll allow them to focus on your words and ideas rather than trying to make sense of where you may be going with things.
*Use structure to calm presentation anxiety. If you happen to blank out momentarily, the logic in your approach will probably steer you back on course.
The big takeaway for “Boosting your Webinar Presentation Skills Tip #3”: Be sure to use a structure for your webinars!
Boosting your Webinar Presentation Skills Tip #4:
The Essence of Good Design
Presentation design falls into three types for me.
- “WOW! Design” → My senses are lit up and I am immersed in the presentation.
- “Don’t notice it Design.” → The slides are great in that they enhance your message but never distract.
- “I Have No Trust in this Person Design.” → The design is noticeably sub-par and it causes me to lose confidence in this person and his or her ideas.
Of course, it would be great if we were all born with design skills or took advanced courses on this topic. However, reality suggests that this is not the case.
Not to worry though! Very few people consistently create “WOW” presentation slides. If you are one of the lucky few, then good for you, keep it up! For the rest of us, unless you want to deeply immerse yourself into design courses and theory, I’d advise aiming for type two competency–“Don’t notice it Design.”
This “Boosting your Webinar Presentation Skills Tip” section will outline some of the more pertinent design tips, however, it would be unrealistic to assume that it is exhaustive.
I do promise you that if you employ these basic points, you will be fully capable of creating “Don’t notice it Designs” without too much trouble.
Be careful, don’t be mistaken though, to achieve type two, you need to cover the basics and you need to be consistent. To do so, you’ll need to know some design basics as outlined below:
- Pictorial Superiority Effect
Let’s dive into these together:
a) Graphics – pictures, tables, charts, symbols, etc. all fall into this category
Why this matters in your webinar? Combining imagery and text can increase retention upwards of 75%. Graphics generate emotion. Graphics can chunk a lot of info into one bite-sized portion. Graphics convey info faster than reading.
Pro-tip: If you are self-branding and using a pic of yourself in your slide, why not have that image of yourself pointing or looking directly at your content for added emphasis. Melyssa Griffin nails this trick as shown below:
b) Typeface – The style of letters and characters (ex. Century, Arial, Times New Roman, etc.)
Why this matters in your webinar? Your choice of font can and will affect recall rates. If you choose to use a new typeface for each slide I can guarantee that your audience will be distracted and lose focus. Stick to two to three fonts for the entire slide deck.
If you choose to use some wacky, hard to read font you may be endangering the ability of audiences to effectively read and make sense of your content. That being said, using a standard font like Times New Roman can come off as unoriginal.
Pro-tip: Use the font types you have chosen for your website or blog. Consistency in design and branding is KING!
c) Color – This is one of the first things our brain notices when encountering new content
Why this matters in your webinar? Research has shown that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products can be based on color alone.
Pro-tip: Be on-brand. Use colors that equate to your brand. Introducing new colors that are unrelated to who you are and what you do is counter-productive as it disrupts consistency and can become a distraction. If you do choose to introduce an off-brand color, be sure to have good reasons for it.
If your audience is distracted in any way, your message will suffer. If your message suffers, chances are your potential sales will too!
d) Pictorial Superiority Effect – At its simplest, this theory states that whatever our eyes see, wins.
Why this matters in your webinar? If your slides are jammed with pictures, typeface and other things that are off-brand or unrelated to your content, it will not matter what content you throw at your audience. The only thing your audience will notice is the distraction.
In fact, your words may also become ignored while viewers try to process your images and or graphics.
Pro-tip: When it comes to design, less is more.
The big takeaway for “Boosting your Webinar Presentation Skills Tip #4”: Subscribe to the notion that the goal of presentation design is to make it scientifically faster and easier for audiences to unlock the meaning of your content. Guard against distracting your audience with poor design choices!
Boosting your Webinar Presentation Skills Tip #5:
The 80/20 Rule
In sales, it is often said that 20% of your time produces 80% of your results. Well, to add a twist to this thinking, it is my belief that we can apply this magical ratio to that of webinar presentations too!
Let me explain. The most successful webinars are full of information. However, the very best speakers are careful about how they go about delivering their content.
Skillful presenters do not spew out their content haphazardly. They want their audiences to be able to follow along and digest it while it is being delivered.
How do they do this?
They use the 80/20 rule of webinar presentation which states that your facetime (the time in which your webcam is trained on you) should amount to about 20% of the total time you speak.
So if your webinar is 60 minutes. You would aim to be on camera for about 10-15 minutes with the remainder, 45 to 50 minutes being spent on your slides.
Your facetime can be broken up with 5-7 minutes for an introduction, welcome, and relationship building while the latter 8-10 minutes should be spent at the end on your close, whether that be a sales pitch, call to action or summary.
What this does, is it allows you to make a solid first impression, show your passion and give direction as to how things will proceed.
From there, you can spend the bulk of your time carefully managing the flow of information to your audience in bite-sized bullet points using carefully crafted slides.
Your voice accompanied with slides and graphics will present your content in a few different formats. Viewers will be able to see your key points as well as hear them. In essence, your ability to engage will jump dramatically.
Not adhering to this 80/20 rule can often result in disaster. I have witnessed several knowledgeable presenters sit in front of their camera and just talk. Despite their content being valuable, their delivery becomes quite stale after 10-15 minutes. Naturally, audiences become bored. If that occurs, look out for:
The Webinar Death Spiral
*Bored audiences lead to engagement levels dropping.
*Engagement levels dropping lead to audience distraction (use of their own smartphones).
*Audience distraction leads to your ideas being missed.
*Your ideas being missed leads to incomplete understandings.
*Incomplete understandings lead to poor impressions.
*Poor impressions lead to no sales and no future audiences!
The big takeaway for “Boosting your Webinar Presentation Skills Tip #5”: Aim to adhere to the webinar 80/20 rule as much as possible!
To Sum Up
Boosting your webinar presentation skills requires a few critical actions. Without fail, the foundational elements of your success will invariably trace back to these five keys:
- The Power of Smile
- The Magic of Story
- The Strength of Presentation Structure
- The Essence of Good Design
- The 80/20 Rule
I challenge you to start re-working your webinars so as to incorporate these elements! If you do, you will not be disappointed!
As someone who cares about your success, I have also created a webinar cheat sheet covering some absolutely essential Dos and Don’ts. I highly advise anyone who currently does webinars or is thinking about doing one to get your hands on this! It is a true life-saver! Click below to grab it!
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