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Addressing Webinar Questions

By Ken Molay

I'm continuing my series of long-delayed responses to the many questions I received on my last webinar with Arkadin covering presentation techniques.

Okay, on to the lingering questions…

Jesse: What is the most embarrassing experience you have encountered?

Answer: I don't think I want to answer this! I refuse to state whether these suggestions come from personal experience or clients, but here are some suggestions:

• On your pre-show checklist, include the item "Use the restroom." ‘Nuff said.

• Write down the names of your co-presenters and moderator. Even if they are your closest friends and coworkers. Some day your brain will go on vacation right as you need to introduce them.

• If sharing your computer desktop, remove personal photos as background wallpaper, hide icons mentioning games and competing products, and turn off instant messenger and email. Do you really want your lover's sexy message to you transmitted for the world to see?

• If you work from a home office, keep the pets and children out of the room. The sound of a coughed up hairball is not attractive for your remote audience.

Jo-anne: Any tips to prevent my voice from quivering because I am nervous speaking in front of an audience?

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Answer: First of all, you should know that you will notice the quaver more than your audience will. But there are a few things you can do (that don't involve shots of tequila):

• Consciously put more energy and volume in your voice. A tentative, soft speaking voice lets trembling show through more easily. Smile. Pace back and forth in front of your computer. Wave your arms. Get energized!

• Ask a trusted friend or coworker to attend your webinar. Concentrate on that one person's name in the attendee list. Talk directly to him or her. Forget about "all those people" listening to you. You are having a one-to-one conversation with your buddy. It's a lot more comfortable!

• Give yourself a reminder before the session of why your material is valuable for the audience. Forget about convincing yourself that you are "good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like you!" Instead, find the explicit things that your audience is going to love and benefit from. "This is a great piece of advice." "They are going to love this analogy." "This is incredibly valuable information and they are going to be able to do their business better when they hear it." How can you be tentative when you are giving away such great stuff? They're going to love you for it!

• Warm up physically. Drink some hot water or coffee. Bundle up. Turn up the thermostat. Do some jumping jacks. Get your core body temperature up so there is no physical tendency to shiver. A warm body is a more relaxed body. Just don't fall asleep.

Les: How do you get your audience to actively participate? I have been on calls where only one person talks during an interactive session.

Answer: This usually happens in smaller sessions. Nobody wants to speak up. Try asking a specific question to a named individual. "Mary, does that match your experiences with liquid nitrogen?" If you simply say "Are there any questions?" it is too easy for everyone to stay silent. In larger sessions, get people used to typing into their consoles. Ask them to type their name. Ask some silly and fun questions. Reference comments coming in and make sure to indicate through tone of voice and your phrasing how much you are enjoying the contributions.


About the Author:
With a background in software development and marketing, Ken has been producing and delivering business webinars since 1999. His background in public speaking, radio, stage acting, and training has given him a unique perspective on what it takes to create a compelling and effective presentation. Currently Ken offers consulting services through his company Webinar Success (

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