Easy Guide to Professional Webinars and Online Meetings
I was catching up on Saturday Night Live yesterday evening and the show depicted the struggles of comedians as they attempted to hold meetings from their homes with hilarious consequences.
One only has to take to YouTube to enjoy a long list of videos where professionals make the most embarrassing possible mistakes because they fail to realize their web cameras are switched on.
Luckily, no such embarrassing moments have happened in Leadership Institute (LI) meetings or webinars yet. For years, Zoom, Teams, and other platforms have been an excellent tool to reach audiences who cannot attend LI training in person. During the pandemic, webinars are now critical to deliver LI training.
This requires professionalism and high standards translated digitally. Here’s how you can ensure – whether you’re hosting or presenting a meeting or webinar – you make it as professional as possible.
If possible, you should face natural light on camera. Your entire face should be illuminated. Failing that, order a simple ring light online, they’re inexpensive and make a big difference. Remember, just like in a real meeting, people will respond to seeing your face and your expressions.
You should always avoid light that shines behind you, which can overshadow your face.
To avoid feedback and other distractions, use headphones and limit outside noise. You should also do a test of your microphone before your presentation to ensure the sound works and your computer is set up correctly.
It is a good idea to write a script for you webinar or meeting introduction and sign off. What do you want to say? Is there anything you should advertise or someone to introduce? Keep notes by your side in case you lose your place.
Be confident in your presentation style. Practice speaking and record yourself to pick up on any filler words or lack of eye contact. Always try to maintain eye contact with your camera (aka your audience).
You can also ask your audience questions during the webinar. It’s a great way to keep them engaged.
Power points or other types of illustrations can be very helpful to the viewer, who might otherwise get distracted if you’re reading from notes.
Make your presentation easy to follow. Most of the information should come from you. Your presentation should simply act as a guide to your key points.
Make sure you dress appropriately and hide anything unprofessional in your background. Custom backgrounds are a helpful tool.
Keep water on hand during your webinar in case you get a dry throat, and make sure you use the bathroom. Even if someone else is speaking, you may not be able to walk away from your screen once you start.
Email instructions to your attendees at least half an hour before your webinar. I also recommend you email them upon registration so they know what to expect.
Finally, security is important. As the demands on Zoom and other platforms increase, prevent unwanted attendees with password protection and by disabling guest screen sharing.
If you follow these simple steps, you’ll conduct webinars and meetings that demonstrate your professionalism and ensure they are as close to the in-person experience as possible.
If you would like any further assistance with your webinar and meeting needs, you can attend the Leadership Institute’s free webinar: Effective Communications in Business on April 29, 2020.