1. Tell a story. Be sure your webinar has a beginning, middle, and an end. When planning your content, begin with an intriguing main idea and develop an outline around it to ensure you stay on topic. Build your content steadily as you progress to that great “aha” moment at the end. And remember, every great story has a great title. A great title is an excellent way to grab attention and increase attendance.
2. Know your audience. Being aware of who will be the main recipients of your information will inform what vocabulary to use and what content will be most relevant to your audience.
3. Educate. Don’t sell. This one may take some training, as many of us pitch all day long. Remember, webinar attendees have come to be educated on a topic—not to buy a used car with a free set of steak knives.
4. Don’t yammer or stammer. There is no surer way to lose your audience than to ramble on aimlessly or to interject an endless stream of “ummms” and “ahhhs.” The best way to combat this is to practice your content, and when you have finished that—practice it again. It is vital to know your content, but keep your voice conversational and not canned.
5. Clear the clutter. Does your presentation have walls of text, dense data graphics, and/or animations for every click? If so, it’s time to edit. Keep your slides clear, concise, and easy to read.
6. Watch the clock. In total, a live webinar should be no longer than 60 minutes. If your presentation is live, budget time for sign-in, the presentation, and questions. If your webinar is taped, aim to keep your presentation around 45 minutes.
7. Keep pace, don’t race. You should spend an average of two minutes per slide. You may risk losing your audience if you go any faster, or slower, than this.
8. Simplify your sign-up process. You want the most attendees possible. Don’t create barriers for potential audience members by crowding your registration form with a dozen information fields. If you can live with just having a name and email address, do that.
9. Engage your audience. If your session is live, ask the audience questions or conduct a real-time survey. If your session is taped, send a questionnaire to attendees prior to the webinar, and incorporate the answers into your presentation. When presenting, be sure to form your language so it appears that you are speaking to each attendee on an individual level.
10. Put on a good show. Keep your energy level up. Be enthusiastic, but not over the top. Vary your speaking tone to match your content. Practice. Drill. Rehearse. Smile.
Bonus tip: Provide your contact information at the end of your webinar to encourage attendees to contact you should they have any questions about your presentation.