webinar or online presentation

Webinars or online presentations are not simply presentations delivered online. In the current climate, many colleagues may be considering “distance” learning alternatives to a standard conference presentation. Specific issues must be addressed to make a webinar or online presentation an effective and engaging educational event.

Every good presentation starts with consideration of the audience. A webinar is no different. The same participants may be involved with the same needs but the medium is vastly different. It is not simply a live feed of a standard presentation.

The environment of any presentation may be directly influenced by a presenter. At the beginning of a webinar or online presentation make a specific request to the audience member to sanitise the area around them. Ask to clear the workspace of distractions, place mobile phones at a distance and close all other tabs and programmes on the computer. Then allocate 2 minutes of silence for this to be completed.

It is clear that a previously prepared standard presentation will not be appropriate. Consider the audience as a single individual, prone to distraction with a very short attention span. The presentation must be much shorter than normal, engage this person constantly, and frequently interactive. Even the nature of interaction must be considered ahead of time including the challenge of moderation of that interaction and the interaction itself becoming a further distraction.

The presentation itself should have a single identifiable message, be supported by three key steps and be memorable. Timing is important. The supportive media must be visually engaging but limited in number and duration as this itself will become a distraction. The use of video of the presenter becomes an integral part of the supportive media and must be addressed specifically.

The vocal delivery of the message should be clear, with increased expression and emotion and is best delivered using an external microphone. Video of the speaker is a major challenge as it is depersonalised compared to a live event. It is essential to focus on the camera and the audience beyond, some speakers place a photo beside the camera and speak to that person. Be aware ahead of time of distractors within shot such as looking unkempt, unshaven and “stuff” behind the speaker such as bookshelves, pictures and even small children!

A webinar or online presentation is not the same as a live presentation. Consider the intent of the event, trim and edit the presentation, make it as interactive as possible and minimise the distractions both for the presenter and audience. What tips can you add?

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