Tips for a Successful Webinar

You see them more and more often: live webinars. A virtual presentation for an online audience. This new form of presenting requires a different presentation style from what we’re used to. Otto Wijnen tells us how to handle this.

Kevin Van der Straeten
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You see them more and more often: live webinars. A virtual presentation for an online audience. This new form of presenting requires a different presentation style from what we’re used to. Otto Wijnen tells us how to handle this.


Hi Otto, welcome back to our studio, today we’re going to talk about webinars. Maybe you’re not the biggest expert on the matter.


Definitely not.


But you’re experimenting with it?


Yes. I’m an expert on presenting, so, gives me some credit.


Okay. But while experimenting with webinars, what did you learn?


First of all, I think the tool, a webinar, the technology behind it, is great. We live in a day and age where you and I, every individual, just every consumer has the opportunity, to make a broadcasting worldwide, a live broadcasting worldwide. That’s incredible, it’s insane, it’s unthinkable if you think of it a decade and a half ago. So, it incurs incredible marketing power because it gives you a chance, to start a relationship with someone you don’t know yet. But you get to me very personal, it’s life, it’s interactive and it’s cheap. It’s well, there are hardly any costs. So it’s a magnificent tool. And strangely enough if you look at most webinars, they’re often quite boring. So I started to experiment with it, to see what is possible what are the limitations of the tool. And I strongly advise others not to do what I’ve done because I lost myself in technology. I thought there had to be multiple cameras and a mixer in-betweenand a wireless transmissions, wireless mic etc. And that took me away from where it’s…


From the essence yeah?


From the essence. Namely to have a good content, which is valuable and interesting for the audience.


Yeah, but even with an iPhone you can make great videos.


Exactly. Just start with an ordinary iPhone like you say, and just do your thing and focus on your content. And start building a relationship.


But then again, maybe some basic should be right, I think about light, audio.


Yeah, that’s one thing. I’ve looked at many other webinars. And what I see is that the amount of time spent on preparation is… well, you don’t get to see that in the image. And you see that in lighting, in background, but also in sound. Why don’t people just invest in an ordinary big microphone? Nowadays for 70, 80 Euros available. Invest in good lighting,take some time to for instance, There is some basics that you need to know about video. Make a nice composition of the image. So, if you just do that, then you’re already ahead of many others. And if your content is good, if your structure is good, if you thought about how you can interact at most, then you’re even way ahead.


But you as a presentation expert, if you look at a webinar or a traditional presentation, what are the differences in presenting for an online audience versus a classic audience.


That depends, mostly a presentation, a live presentationis the ultimate way to involve people. To touch people emotionally because you are there, you have your presence there, you can really reach out and tell an emotional story. Most webinars, don’t have that intention, they have the intention to just be informational. It’s more like a lesson.


Yeah, share some knowledge on the subject or something like that.


Exactly. That’s the major differencein my eyes. So, prepare a webinarlike you prepare a lesson. And there is some psychology involved how to do that at most, and that’s not my specialty.


Okay, no problem at all. What do you with for example slides? Can you use it in a webinar, or how should you use it?


Sure, of course, yeah. Slides are a great way to compress information and make it available for people on screen. If you look at an ordinary webinar it’s mostly someone who does an introduction in front of the camera. And then starts up a slide show then.


And then a picture in picture yeah.


For instance. And then it ends with, okay this was my webinar, I hope you liked it, see you soon. That’s the normal structure of a webinar. I don’t know if that’s the best you can do. I’m trying to change that by having more camera time and just use the slides, when it’s necessary, when I want to show something visually. I don’t know, this is something for researchers to find out: what is the optimal structure of a webinar. I think it’s a communication between two people. And me as a viewer want to see the one I’m communicating with, and just a picture in picture is a bit too small for me. I don’t get to see emotion.


Yeah, but maybe then a multi cam could be a solution where you can switch between…


It could be, yeah.


But then again you need a crew.


Then you need a crew and it takes you out of focus,it takes you out of the flow.


What about interaction, how do you do that?


The interaction of course is the main, the best feature of a webinar. You get to interact with people,you can ask questions, you can do a poll. I often see people not being interactive at all, which makes it just a broadcast and not a webinar.


And if you do a broadcast you can better record it up front and then…


Absolutely, like we do here.


and then send it out, yeah, just like we do.


Exactly, yeah. So, if you do a webinar, please interact.So asks questions and adjust your content accordingly. If there are most interested in cats, then don’t talk about dogs and vice versa. So, it takes a lot from you as a webinar presenter, because you have to adjust…


Can you do that at the same time: ánd present ánd look at the feedback coming in?


Yeah, that’s tough. That’s something you have to grow into I guess. And of course it’s easy when you someone in the back who does the chat. Who reads them and hands out to you on paper, something that’s really important. That helps. One thing we haven’t spoken about yet is how you get to keep it fresh for the people who are watching. Especially when you’re just showing slides and you have this picture in picture, Then it’s the thing... People, they are watching the screen, the bullet points, and they’re not watching you. So, the thing, that, where you communicate with is your voice. And what I often hear is that the voice, especially as a man, is getting lower and lower, we, Yeah, because you’re sitting in your chair.


You’re sitting in your chair and it’s a sunny afternoon. Which makes it very boring. So, if you do a webinarplease give attention to your voice. Make it sparkle, prepare yourself at forehand, do some exercises. You can find any exercise online how to do that. - Or follow a webinar on the subject. Oh, it’s a good idea, let’s do a webinar on voice. Thank you so much. Good idea. I think a webinar is a great tool for any entrepreneur, any freelancer, it’s a fantastic marketing tool. And keep in mind to have your lighting, to have good lighting, good sound. Have your structure ready and prepare your interaction. I think then you have a fantastic tool to share knowledge.


Okay Otto, let’s try that. Thank you very much for coming over.


Thank you.


And you at home, thank you for watching our show, I hope to see you next week.