Webinars have emerged as an increasingly popular way to use the web for advanced sales techniques that also encompass educational and networking purposes.
Yet, we have all suffered through those tortuously painful webinars before. Sure, the presenter can’t see what you’re doing, but we all feel that tinge of guilt as we tune out the presenter and instead paint our toenails, get some desk organizing done or intensely contemplate the space in between our wall calendar and family photos.
So, yes, your audience does want to care about what you are saying, but they may feel second-hand embarrassment when they are unable to do so.
The solution does not have to be partnering with a Hollywood studio to produce your webinars for you, but rather to maintain audience awareness. To raise their level of interest, consider these five webinar secrets that can boost both your attendance and overall satisfaction levels:
Always Defer to Presenters with Stage Presence
Your senior staff may be able to fill a book with their sales knowledge and their history of successful deals, but people aren’t reading a book. They’re watching someone present live. They would trade first-hand knowledge for someone who knows how to regurgitate this knowledge in an entertaining and engaging way. After all, credit card companies don’t get some financial expert to pitch you their product, they get celebrities.
Find your own celebrities-in-training around the office, and if you’re in short supply seriously consider onboarding staff with presenting talent. It never hurts to have someone with media or theater experience on the team, and it’s something people love bragging about on their resumes.
To keep webinar audience interest high, you should also tag out with other speakers during the course of the webinar or allow canned video content to take over, which brings us to our next tip.
Invest in Content
Webinars are great for their low cost, but that doesn’t mean you should pinch pennies.
With the savings compared to a full-blown presentation and luncheon, invest in some colorful graphics for your slides from legitimately talented graphic artists. Whatever commission they charge will be far worth the costs of not boring people to tears with stock photos.
Well-produced videos also work wonders at breaking up monotony, but have a few backup slides in handy in case technology problems prevent them from playing.
Rehearse, But Then Tear Up the Script
Your webinar should follow very concrete rhetorical beats and make sure to include all the information you intended it to. Presenters should be able to recall all of this material without rambling or moving through awkward segues.
The best way to accomplish this is to have them partially memorize a script, but they should then be able to work off-script and improvise with bullet point prompts as their guide. Go ahead and have them memorize a few jokes or quips to punctuate the proceedings. Just make sure they actually get laughs first.
Speaking of rehearsal, do a dry run before the webinar to test that the technology works as intended and that the presentation meets your quality expectations.
Start Five Minutes Late
You can greet people who make it on time, but allow five minutes or so for stragglers or people who have trouble logging in. This consideration and early banter can help warm your audience up, too.
Educate and Demonstrate Advanced Sales Techniques, But Never Hard Sell
The bulk of your content should focus on educating. Making people aware of how your product or in-house strategies relate to the webinar can be okay as long as it is relevant or left as a gentle call-to-action at the tail end of the presentation. You can use internal case studies as examples, too, but balance these out with others’ relevant case studies or anecdotes.