What are the two most frequently heard syllables on webcasts? Easy – “um” and “uh”.
I suppose it could be worse. I remember a teenager I worked with years ago who could not complete a sentence without at least five “like”s and six “you know”s. I’d raise a finger to count each one, driving her crazy but hopefully getting the point across.
When you or someone you work with is preparing to make a presentation to scores or hundreds of potential customers, being ready to present means more than knowing your content cold. You might have given the same presentation in person or to a group, but not having live audience feedback – not being able to see their faces and gestures – can wreak havoc with your timing and sense of how the events is going. The result can be hesitation bringing with it silent pauses or those nasty filler syllables.
Here’s some thoughts on how best to prepare yourself (or your speakers) when getting ready to webcast.
- Be the subject matter expert. Attendees want to hear the expert point of view. If you’re not the expert find someone to bring you up to speed.
- Write a script and rehearse. You shouldn’t read your speaker notes or script word for word but you should have a great idea of what you’re going to say for each slide you present. And that doesn’t mean reading the bullet points on the slide.
- Time your rehearsal. You can do this alone with a stopwatch or as part of a dry run walkthrough so you know your material will fit into the timeslot allotted for your presentation. Many webcasting platforms and venues just cut you off at the end of your time slot. I’ve seen great presentations ruined by the speaker running out of time before he made his big point.
- Do a dry run using the webcast tool. You should be familiar enough with your webcasting platform to be able to pass control to somebody else if needed, either verbally or through the webcasting tool. If you plan to advance your own slides you should be comfortable with the controls so you’re not fumbling – or panicking – during your live event. Make sure you know what to expect on your screen during the event – some platforms show audience polls, special agenda slides and speaker headshots that briefly obscure what you’re presenting. If you know they’re coming and see them in action beforehand you won’t break your stride during the webcast
- Have some answers ready. If you’re going to have a live Q&A session prepare a few seed questions to get the ball rolling. Most audiences don’t start asking questions until they’ve heard one or two answered, so think of a few that would amplify or clarify some key points and use them to get the juices flowing.
- Ask for help. There are plenty of coaches who can help you get all this done. Don’t be afraid to reach out to professionals for assistance in any part of the process.
Do you have a personal presenter pet peeve? Leave a comment and let me know.