The Webinar Preparation Playbook

With the world being flipped on its head, suddenly your presenting skills are being put to the test by webinar. … YIKES!

But have no fear my comrades! I have a few tips and tricks to save the day.


1. Learn the software that you’re using ahead of time.

Download the software you’re going to be using and test it out before your meeting. Learn how to mute and unmute yourself, how to turn the camera on and off. Although it may sound super simple this will ensure you don’t show up unprepared.

2. Did you test your internet connection?

Surprise, surprise! The internet disconnected halfway through your presentation! 🙄 There are many things in life that lie out of our control, but the strength of your internet connection doesn’t have to be one. If this is a long-term problem consider increasing your bandwidth, but if it’s a short-term thing tell your little brother he can’t be gaming during the time of your presentation.


3. Make sure your background is clear and not distracting.

Yes, you’re at home and maybe you’re even wearing sweatpants that no one will see, but the important thing is what they CAN see. No, it’s not because they’re going to judge for having paintings on the wall from elementary, but because it will be distracting. Paying attention to video-chat is hard enough so help them out.

4. Don’t be a BOOMER with your camera.

You know when you’re talking to grandma through FaceTime and she has the camera so close that you can only see her face from the nose-up? Don’t be a grandma, make sure your camera is at a good angle. As the Instagram Influencer would say, it’s all about the perfect angle.

5. Share your screen with purpose.

Be prepared for when you need to share your screen. Close all those tabs, mute iMessage, and pause Spotify. After all, when you share your screen you want others to actually be able to see your presentation.


6. Audio clarity is underrated.

There is nothing more frustrating than listening to scratchy background noises or listening to the dog bark for the entire video call. Think about getting a headset with a quality microphone if your laptop just doesn’t cut it. Test your audio quality beforehand and move to a room where no dog or person can distract you.

7. Use pronunciation and articulation in communication.

Now say that ten times fast! When we communicate, we use verbal and nonverbal cues, like body language. During webinars some non-verbal cues are lost, for example hand gestures. As we decrease the amount of nonverbal communication, we need to carefully choose our words to make sure our message is communicated the way we intended it to be. This can be as simple as slowing down your speech to ensure every word is heard.


8. Be a TV Personality.

“Online” presentations have been happening for as long as TV has been around, so let’s take some tips from the pros like:

  • Look straight at the camera and not the screen. It’s subtle yet powerful.
  • Check the lighting. You don’t want to give yourself an accidental yellow hue
  • Wear neutral colour clothing. Now is not the time to pull out your new plaid sweater.
  • Have a PERSONALITY. People choose people, not just ideas.

9. Tell me a story.

Need I say more — go watch the top 5 TED TALKS on storytelling. It’s not just a presentation skill, but a life skill.

Related Article: [Storytelling Fundamentals: 5 TED Talks to Make You a Better Storyteller]

10. If you can stand, stand.

This allows for a greater projection of our voice, improves breathing, incorporates natural pauses, and overall will demonstrate greater confidence.

11. Connect with your audience.

Yes, imagine them and no, not in their underwear. Let’s keep it PG people. One of the hardest parts of video-chat is that you can’t see your audience. You talk at them, instead of with them. Great presenters are conversationalists, so be mindful that there’s an audience behind the camera.


12. Keep It Simple, Silly.

Attention spans over webinars are significantly less than in person. If you cause your audience to think too hard, you’ll lose them. Keep an agenda, make your slides clean, your words to the point, and give it some punch. This will keep everyone engaged.

13. Always have a clear structure.

This will help your presentation flow better, give it a clear outline. My personal go-to is:

  • The Goal: All great stories start with a quest. What needs to be accomplished?
  • The Problem: What obstacle is in the way of reaching that goal? Show them a perspective of the problem that can’t be ignored.
  • The Truth: Something they can’t unhear, a universal truth that they fundamentally agree on, an idea meaningful and unique to your presentation.
  • The Change: The new behaviour or action needed to surpass the problem and reach the truth.
  • The Action: Answering the question, “How do I do it?”

To summarize, here are the key takeaways…

  1. Make technology a friend rather than a foe by testing your tech in advance.
  2. Use video tactics to your advantage, a good camera angle, a clear background, and purposeful slide share will go a long way.
  3. Deliver your presentation in the form of a story to engage your audience
  4. Keep your presentation simple, with a clear structure making it easy to follow along.

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