5 steps for building a great webinar

Let’s assume you are delivering a one-hour webcast. During this you may only be presenting for some 30 – 35 minutes, with the rest of the time going to housekeeping, a Q&A, and wrapping up.

How will you make those 30 minutes count?

When speaking online, you can’t rely on body language, and as a result your content becomes supremely important. In fact, it is the essential element, more important than your voice, than interaction, than beautiful slides. Content trumps them all.

So how do you create the best possible content?

Your audience almost certainly is not in the habit of sitting and listening to something for 30 minutes at a time, so you have to be absolutely clear about what you’re saying, to give them a compelling reason to stay.

Get sticky
The key to a successful online session is this: have a point and stick to it.

By ‘stick to it’, I mean that every word of the presentation, every question, every analogy, metaphor and piece of information should lead to or reinforce that point. If it doesn’t, throw it out.

I explored this in a previous blog post looking at the need for focus in your content – but what should your content be about?

The one content rule
There is just one rule for your content: be useful.

But of course, your content will be useful to the audience, we take that for granted. So will the audience. It’s why they turn up.

Here are some considerations to make sure you get the most out of that useful content:

  • Ensure you have enough content to use, but not committed to slides – in other words, have plenty to say around your subject
  • The actionable, practical and real is always preferable to the theoretical
  • Avoid hyperbole, spin or marketing

5 steps to great content
It’s very common to have a general idea of what you want to say, but to be a little hazy on the details. If this is the case, the worst thing you can do is to start writing a script or building a PowerPoint slide deck – you will begin too far along the creative process.

Instead, here’s a process that will help you collect your thoughts and assemble them so that you not only know the key point you want to make, you also have the material to support it, and a clear benefit for your audience:

1) Brainstorm – indulge in the pleasant activity of just writing down on paper everything you can think of that’s associated with the subject. I use a mind map for this.
2) Clarify – now take the time to reflect on what you have written. Underline the most important thoughts, and as you do so your key point should become clear. You should also now be clear on the benefit for your audience in listening to you.
3) Synthesize and discard – now that you have your key point and the proposal to your audience, you can begin to cluster together the headings and thoughts that best support them. For an online presentation, aim for two to five headings supporting your main point. Discard anything superfluous.
4) Order and write – your cluster of thoughts will suggest an order. For example chronological, problem/solution, or cause/effect. Use this to order the headings you developed in stage three, then start writing your slide deck.
5) Edit and write again – while you are rehearsing your presentation, you will find many ways to improve it, in terms of running order and content. Edit your presentation accordingly. Never go with your first draft.

So producing a great webinar is not complex. Start with a blank slate, and respect for the audience and go through the five steps above, and everything will fall into place.


This post is based on an extract from my ebook Webinar Master. Click to buy the book

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