got webinar?

Once upon a time, seminar attendees were huddled in a large conference room with hundreds of similarly minded souls, some listening to the speaker with rapt admiration, others bored out of their wits and waiting patiently for the next bathroom break. But there they were, present and accounted for, with nothing else on their agenda but listening to you.

Webinar crowds, however, are very different. They’re scattered across the world, easily distracted by whatever else is going on in the room they’re in, and they can inconspicuously exit your presentation without fear of being rude. Tough crowd.

So how do you get these folks to stick around – and pay attention – to what you have to say? Here are 10 tips to help you create an effective online presentation — keep in mind that most of these apply to traditional seminars as well.

  1. Content is key. Fancy graphics are great, but you must have something worthwhile to say when offering a webinar.
  2. Don’t go overboard with content, though. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience. A good tip is to have one key point for every 15 minutes of presentation. Use the time in between to tell stories and illustrate your point.
  3. Make sure your images complement – rather than replicate – what is being said. Your audience didn’t come to read.
  4. Graphics must be visually stimulating. Don’t just have them to them them. You know, go big or go home.
  5. Take advantage of “social” features. You may want to allow attendees to embed the presentation into their blog or website, send to a friend or bookmark to their favorite Web site or social network.
  6. Be concise. Make your point and move on. Research has shown that attention wanes if the presenter stays on a slide for more than three minutes.
  7. Brand your presentation. In addition to walking away with important points from your presentation, you want your audience to leave a lot more informed about you — your services, the culture of your business and the benefits you are providing.
  8. Create your own visual style. If you plan on developing many online presentations, get help from a designer who can help you format your material into a style-driven look that will come to be associated with you.
  9. Provide handouts. People love their handouts! Handouts can be snail-mailed or available for download a few weeks before your presentation.
  10. Test, test, test. Multimedia is great, as long as it works.

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