Proud new title – webinar speaker!

I had a truly brand new experience yesterday. I had been asked to speak on a webinar for a small company called eCPD. I was really nervous, it was such a new experience. My subject: “Working with direct clients”.

Normally when I speak I see the audience, rely on questions and the odd joke to warm them up, I know whether they are warmed up or not etc. I can ask or answer questions as I go along. Here, I was talking only to my own microphone – and occasionally to Lucy and Sarah, the organisers – and had to rely on polls (i.e. survey-type questions that are passed on to the audience for them to key in multiple-choice answers) and, at the end, questions relayed by Sarah and Lucy.

And yet at the end the questions did feel as if they reflected real people, real personalities – real listeners!

Apart from the physical reality being so different from any ordinary presentation, I wanted to share a couple of presentation tips that other webinaristas have probably already noticed anyway:

– Jazzy slides with pictures are helpful (an organiser told me, but I’d already worked it out for myself). Normally I make very plain visuals so that the talk is the main focus, not the graphics. This is partly due to one absolute debacle when I imported some beautiful Asterix the Gaul scenes into my charts from the web into a presentation I prepared on my desktop computer – only to find when I presented it from my laptop in a non-web-linked environment that the pictures had vanished, taking most of the point of some visuals away! But when the slides are all the audience sees, they do need eye candy. Possibly not an issue for most presenters, who in any case make better slides than I do! Yesterday a coloured background, tomorrow …… animations!

– It helps to remember that you don’t have to “look at the audience”. I kept looking at the main screen and completely forgot that it was okay to keep my eyes on my notes, because on this occasion that didn’t make me that awful woman who talked to her notebook, was barely audible and never made eye contact. By gazing raptly at the screen as audience, I missed at least one cue for a poll.

– I found myself being more disciplined than usual in trying to make the charts very clear and unambiguous – again because you can’t see the bewildered faces if you have written something a little strange.

Though for one scary moment it seemed the – remarkably simple – technology might not play ball, all went well in the end and I enjoyed it. Roll on next time, a few months or a year or so down the track.

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