Public Speaking Tips for
Add Impact When You Present Through Webinars
by Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE
No matter what you level of public speaking experience, whenever you open
your mouth, whether you’re talking to one person or a thousand, you usually
want to get a specific message across. Anyone who sets out to present,
persuade, and propel with the spoken word faces pitfalls. And, as technology
and travel budgets play a more important part in our lives, you have yet
another challenge: What do you do when you are communicating through a
Webinar? What is different about a Webinar presentation? How do you catch
and keep your audience? Here are some tips.
BEFORE YOU START, USE LOOPING SLIDES
Once your audience tunes in, how do you make sure they are entertained and
feel involved even before the event starts? The best way is with a series of
Looping Slides. Looping Slides are a great way to convey important
information and to keep attendees entertained while waiting for your
presentation to begin.
These slides need to communicate:
- When the session will begin.
- The Conference Dial-in number.
- A photo, name and title of the presenter.
- What the audience is going to learn.
- What to do in case of problems.
You may also have quotes about the content they will be learning.
BE MORE VISUAL IN YOUR PRESENTATION
Be creative. Think Hollywood! Tell stories and give examples as you go
through your program, the same way you would in person. However, your
Webinar needs more visuals to help engage the audience. Use more slides than
with an in-person presentation. Add bullet points one at a time as you
“build.” Don’t present a list of all your points before you discuss them.
Keep it simple, keep it moving, and interact often.
PLAN YOUR STRUCTURE
Outline your presentation on paper or flip chart and then build the
PowerPoint®. You have to get “messy” before you get tidy! It is better to
have fewer points and illustrate them well.
Be sure you:
- Introduce your objective.
- Sell the benefits.
- Explain the Agenda and timing of your session.
- Add any logistics and how they will interact with you.
OPEN WITH A GRABBER SLIDE AND COMMENT
After your grabber slide, it is up to you to engage your audience
immediately with a powerful, relevant opening that includes the word "you.”
Your grabber opening might be:
A catchy FACT: “It may interest you to know Ferraris hold their value more
than polo ponies! I first learned this lesson when...”
A startling STATISTIC: “Did you know that if you had spent a million dollars
a day, every day since Jesus was born, you would not have spent a trillion
dollars. Please keep that in mind as we strategize how to increase sales by
An intriguing CHALLENGE: “Ten years ago we were the market leaders. This
year we are 13th. You are now in an exciting position to turn that around…”
Grabber openings get the attention of your audience. Then it is up to you to
keep it. Never start by saying, “Good morning.” Instead, say something like,
“Welcome! You are in for a treat! You are about to learn how to…” As you
introduce the session, SELL the listeners on how they are going to benefit.
Keep them glued. Remember, they can’t see you, so it is all too easy for
them to answer their email or go get a cup of coffee.
Once you have sold the session, you can introduce yourself if someone else
is not doing it. Do NOT do it first. Just as with an in-person session, say
something the listeners care about, and then they care about who you are.
FORGE AN EMOTIONAL CONNECTION
The most powerful communication combines both intellectual and emotional
connections. Intellectual means appealing to educated self-interest with
data and reasoned arguments. Emotion comes from engaging the listeners'
imaginations, involving them in your illustrative stories by frequent use of
the word “you” and from answering their unspoken question, “What’s in this
for me?” Use a high You/I ratio.
For example, don’t say, “I’m going to talk to you about Webinars.” Instead,
say something like, “In the next 56 minutes, you will learn: the 6 secrets
of making a Webinar work; the 4 benefits of using Webinars as part of your
client interaction; and the 3 mistakes your competitors are making when they
BUILD IN INTERACTION
Depending on the technology you are using, make sure you interact whenever
logical. For example, stop and ask, “Based on what you have heard so far,
what are your questions?”
USE MEMORABLE STORIES
People rarely remember your exact words. Instead, they remember the mental
images that your words inspire. Support your key points with vivid, relevant
stories. Help them “make the movie” in their heads by using memorable
characters, exciting situations, dialogue, and humor. With a combination of
your examples and visuals, it will be a memorable presentation.
USE EFFECTIVE PAUSES
Good music and good communication both contain changes of pace, pauses, and
full rests. This is where your listeners think about what they have just
heard. If you rush on at full speed to crowd in as much information as
possible, chances are you’ve left your listeners back at the station. It’s
okay to talk quickly, but whenever you say something profound or proactive
or ask a rhetorical question, pause.
AVOID IRRITATING NON-WORDS
Hmm—ah—er—you know what I mean—. On a Webinar, this habit will only be
emphasized. Are you doing it? Why not have a run-through and record
yourself. As with in-person presentations, as Michael Caine says, “Rehearsal
is the work, performance is the relaxation.”
REVIEW WHAT YOU’VE COVERED
As with an in-person presentation, always review your key ideas: Then say,
“Before my closing remarks…what are your questions?”
EMPHASIZE THEIR NEXT STEPS
Be clear what their next logical steps should be. Send them off energized
CLOSE ON A HIGH
Your last words linger. Make sure they are yours—don’t quote anyone else—and
make sure they are powerful.
HAVE BACKUP COMPUTERS!
Here is a practical suggestion that will pay off for you. Have two computers
tuned into the Webinar. This way, when one computer freezes, you can quickly
get your second computer to the place where the first had frozen. It will
already be tuned into the Webinars, so it only takes a few moments to get on
with the show. With technology…you never know!
About the Author
Patricia Fripp is an executive speech coach, sales presentation trainer, and
keynote speaker on change, customer service, promoting business, and
communication skills. She works with companies large and small, and
individuals from the C-Suite to the work floor. She builds leaders,
transforms sales teams and delights audiences. She is the author of Get What
You Want!, Make It, So You Don't Have to Fake It!, and Past-President of the
National Speakers Association. To learn more about having Patricia do her
magic for you, contact her at www.Fripp.com,
(415) 753-6556, or PFripp@Fripp.com.