7 Virtual Presentations Key Success Factors

Webinars, Virtual Presentations

By Heather MacLean, President of ProSpeakers.com – 2020-04-28 (Material adapted from online sources)

My experience with Virtual Events:

Just this week, I had a firsthand experience of what it feels like to be in the audience and just have one too many distractions. It is easy to get distracted during a virtual presentation.

A few weeks ago, I signed up for an online event about sports and event marketing from veteran speaker in the industry Don Mayo.  He was sharing insights that were not only important, but the timing was perfect, and the topic was exactly what I wanted to learn. I checked the format and time zones, updated my calendar, and made sure I was ready to go a few minutes before the start time.

I was sat at the table in my basement, and I started to watch.

And while he tried his best to encourage interaction with us right off the bat with “Tell us where you are from in chatbox!” and “Quick poll: do any of you struggle with this too? Yes or No?” …when I noticed a stack of laundry out of the side of my eye, I felt compelled to quickly throw in a load while I am listening.

Then in a particularly long key note session about the background for an upcoming point—I found myself making a quick check on my Facebook, finding a few messages that absolutely needed to be addressed, and while the browser was open…a hop over to gmail.

For much of the virtual meeting, I tuned in and out, flipping from actively listening to not even being in the room at all.

And finally, when my husband came in the room with a series of questions about lunch plans for the evening, I snapped my laptop shut, telling myself I could catch the replay, and simply didn’t return.

So, what happened?

How did I go from being actively interested, eager to get into the insights of this expert—to being so disengaged that I quit before the webinar had even finished?

It was not that the content in the Virtual Meeting wasn’t useful, it wasn’t that I didn’t find him credible.

Maybe it was simply that I was at home. And when the audience isn’t in the room with the keynote speaker, extra effort has to be made to make sure the audience stays engaged.

In the early days of virtual meetings, speakers would talk, and audiences would sit and listen, but for modern audiences, we don’t share that same focus.

While more event speakers bring their content online by offering online events and virtual presentations, how can you make sure you are being creative for your employees to ensure your virtual presentations are engaging?

This blog will outline 7 ideas on how make your virtual events amazing and how to provide your employees and provide quality information, while making sure they stay engaged with you until the end of the webinar.

TOP 7 TIPS to make your Webinar the Best Ever:

  1. MAKE ONLINE REGISTRATION EASY AS POSSIBLE
  2. SHORT THE LENGTH OF THE VIRTUAL EVENT
  3. HAVE AN EXPERT MODERATOR/EMCEE
  4. DEVELOP A PREPARED SCRIPT AND REHEARSE IT
  5. ALWAYS DO A TEST BEFORE GO-LIVE ON VIRTUAL EVENT
  6. MAKE THE VIRTUAL PRESENTATION INTERACTIVE
  7. ENHANCE YOUR POST-SESSION COMMUNICATION

At ProSpeakers.com we have working with clients and speakers for years on helping them develop Virtual Events. Below are the top 7 tips to help you as you develop your webinars.

  1. MAKE ONLINE REGISTRATION EASY AS POSSIBLE

There are a LOT of virtual summit software platforms out there. One of the features that differentiates them is how easy it is (or not) to make a great landing/registration page, with an easy-to-use form that also works on mobile. Sounds obvious? It’s not. In addition to picking the best platform, you also need to resist the temptation to turn your webinar registration process into your own version of the census. The only thing you MUST HAVE from registrants is an email address. You probably should get their name, and ideally their company. After that, every question you ask depresses conversion rate. You do not need to know the fax number of your virtual summit attendees. You WANT them to participate. Make it very simple to do presentation or webinar is over.

  1. SHORT THE LENGTH OF THE VIRTUAL PRESENTATION

A 60-minute session in a live keynote event does not feel like a long duration, because attendees have other stimuli. It is FAR more difficult to keep attention in a webinar or virtual summit. Keep these sessions SHORT & TIGHT. No longer than necessary. In fact, we suggest shortening up your regular durations. For example, a 60-minute “keynote” should be no more than 45 minutes, if delivered online. A 45-minute in-person session should become a 30-minute webinar, and so forth. Consider a super short online event to just 7-9 minutes. Our clients and attendees enjoy this format. It’s great for sending out afterwards too, because a lot more people can spare 9 minutes compared to 60 minutes.

  1. HAVE AN EXPERT MODERATOR/EMCEE

Companies moving to virtual events believe that since the programming is now delivered over the Internet, no emcee or host is necessary. The opposite is true. Having a consistent face and voice that “stitches together” the virtual sessions for participants adds much-needed familiarity and helps alleviate the isolated feeling that online events can sometimes produce for attendees. The best way to implement is to have the event moderator open the conference online, just like a regular event, and moderate questions for speakers. They should also pop back online between sessions to chat with attendees. We have lots’ of expert emcee’s and hosts at ProSpeakers.com that can help.

  1. DEVELOP A PREPARED SCRIPT AND REHEARSE IT

Many company execs appearing on a webinar believe they can just put together some slides and speak impromptu to them during a live, virtual event. A few can do so. The majority cannot do it well. The webinar attendees have fewer senses activated when tuning in for online events, so their key online events senses (audio and visual) need to be superior. If you are going to lean into virtual presentations, insist that everyone who will have a speaking role have a written script and a process for rehearsals. This is not a time to wing it.

  1. ALWAYS DO A TEST BEFORE GO-LIVE ON VIRTUAL EVENT

Insist that all webinar speakers show up online at least 30 minutes before the scheduled start of the broadcast. This provides an opportunity to check audio and video, make sure everyone knows how to advance slides, talk though where audience questions will show up, determine adequate bandwidth, and in general avoid last-minute issues that can create a lot of panic.

  1. MAKE THE VIRTUAL PRESENTATION INTERACTIVE

One of the reasons we recommend making webinars shorter is that it is inherently not that interesting to stare at a screen while someone talks at you. All virtual event platforms can add interactive polls, quizzes, audience Q&A, and more. Make liberal use of these features! The more your audience is PART of the session, the more they are paying attention. It is also the best way to pull questions out of the attendees. TIP: When you open the session, ask every attendee to use the chat feature to say where they are calling in from (or a similar question). This forces them to get used to asking questions and participating in an easy, stress-free fashion.

  1. ENHANCE YOUR POST-SESSION COMMUNICATION

After the conclusion of the program, begin two different email paths. The first goes to people who attended the session. Provide a link to the recording, a link to a related content marketing asset and instructions for how to ask additional questions. The second email goes to people who registered but did not attend. Send them a link to the recording, a written recap of highlights, and a related content marketing asset. Approximately 2 days later, promote the next webinar in the series with an email to both groups, highlight great questions asked by the audience, or send other related assets.

Looking for guidance on the best programming for your audience? We’re the speaker experts here to make you look good. Look for some great ideas at ProSpeakers.com.