5 deadly sins of virtual presentations

Want your webinar attendees to zone out?

Didn’t think so.

But unfortunately, if we as virtual presenters commit any of the webinar sins in this blog, our audience will quickly disengage.

The problem is, they’re so tempting and easy traps to fall into.

So what are these five sins? And how can you make sure to avoid them, so that you can help your learners stay engaged, remember your content, and apply it?

This blog will help you do just that.

1. Failing to focus on what’s in it for your audience.

What does your audience have to gain or lose? How will your content help them succeed? Will it help them experience more financial health? Physical health? Relational health? Something else?

It’s not just a matter of clarifying this for your audience early on in your talk. Asking yourself what your audience has to gain or lose will shape every aspect of your presentation. The stories or activities you use to illustrate their pain points. The way that you position yourself as a guide who (through your experience or research) can help them solve that problem. The simple application steps you leave them with, to help them stay focused on what they need to do to get results.

2. Delivering too much content.

Obviously, don’t go over your agreed upon time for your presentation.

But also be sure not to pack your presentation with so much content that you’re simply lecturing and not involving your learners. Lecture breeds passivity and boredom. Involvement breeds ownership and retention.

3. Relying on your slides to be the content.

If someone misses your presentation or has to leave early, you should not be able to tell them you’ll send them your slides and they’ll get all the info they need.

The handout is where your complex content belongs. The slides are there simply to visually reinforce your big ideas, and to create opportunities for your learners to stamp, type, and draw on the screen.

No more reading straight from paragraphs on a slide. Think of each slide like a highway billboard, with a primary image, a headline, and a call to action.

4. Not including soft openers.

Soft openers are ice breaker slides that you facilitate in the 10 to 15 minutes before your actual presentation starts. They’re a fun way for participants and you to get to know each other and build relational equity before the webinar content begins. But they’re also a way to help attendees practice using the webinar platform tools they’ll need to be familiar with in order to fully participate in the workshop.

5. Not starting and finishing with intentionality.

The beginning and ending of your webinar are the two segments that are most likely to be remembered.

Be sure to start with a strong opener activity, illustration, story, etc. that breaks your audience’s preoccupation, allows them to connect with and learn from each other, and is relevant to the content you’re about to teach. If your segue to the content is clear in the moment, your participants’ brains will forever have that clear link between the memorable opener and what you went on to teach them.

At the end, finish with a solid closer that helps learners distill everything they’ve learned into the most relevant and urgent takeaways for them, chat with their peers about what insights stood out to them, and what they’ll commit to doing differently moving forward.

Which of those five sins are you already pretty good about avoiding? Which one highlights an opportunity for you to grow?

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