10 tips to become a better webinar host

A tool is just a tool. The artist makes all the difference.Ciprian Soleriu

When starting out with your webinars, it’s really easy to get caught in the technical details and ignore THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENT: YOU.

The tools are just tools, the artist makes the difference.
Think about a brush and 2 painters: on that barely holds the brush and another that is an experienced artist?
The brush is the same, but the person holding it is different.

So in this article I’ll teach you my top 10 tips for becoming a better speaker during live webinars/events.
I’ve tested and refined these and they work, all the time.

As for tools, I recommend WebinarJam Studio for live/hybrid webinars and EasyWebinar for automated webinars.

1. Prepare Your Story

There are 5 type of organization that will help you deliver your story in a compelling manner, right at the start of your presentation.

Here they are:

  1. Chronological: The flow is chronological.
    Tell them what happened, and then what happened next, and then next, etc…
  2. Spatial: follows a direction, from here to there, step by step;
  3. Causal: it’s a cause/effect story. Use it to show struggles and achievements;
  4. Comparative: compare and contrast ideas or different plans, to convince the audience;
  5. Problem-solution, or the AHA! Moment tells your story, the struggles you had and the great idea that changed it all. It’s the best type of personal story to use in a sales webinar, especially if the AHA! Moment relates strongly with the topic of your presentation.

Choosing right from the start the type of organization you will use allows your participants to follow your webinar easily and to really get into the mood necessary for them to buy from you later on, during the sales pitch, at the end (if this is your goal)

2. Smile when you speak. Always

It is a proven fact that people can HEAR your smile.
Even if during a live webinar call you are not seen (your slides are live), people can feel if you smile or if you are frowning.
The emotions are much stronger than the words and even if you have a great presentation (content, images, offer) people won’t buy because their “lizard brain” (the amygdala) will feel “threatened” by your voice…

Here’s what I do to make sure I smile during a presentation: I have a picture with somebody that makes me happy (my wife) and I keep it as the stand-by picture on my phone.
Whenever I feel I’m frowning, I just press the button on my phone, take a glance at my wife and I remember all the reasons I need to be happy 🙂

imagineAndre

3. Speak for A Person, not for A Group

This makes every person pay attention because it feels as if you speak to him or her personally

When you start your presentation you see the number of attendees. Tens, maybe thousands.
This makes you think of them as a group, the larger the group, the more you might feel intimidated. A big group makes your tone of voice change, getting a little bit extra formal, trying to please everybody.

If you feel this, you need to try a different approach.
 Talk to the audience as if it was an audience of ONE.  Speak to them as if you would speak to a friend that you just started chatting on Skype and you explain something he wants to know and you have the knowledge.

The benefits are ginormous, your voice will feel lighter, it will be easier to smile, you will breathe easily, because one on one is easy chatting 🙂

4. Don’t allow public chat when you speak

(it distracts your audience – like as if somebody talked on top of you in a live meeting)

I hate it when, during somebody’s keynote, there is always a smart-pants that tries to speak louder than the presenter…
He/she always has something to add, makes comments, acts smart… with good intentions most of the time.
Here’s what happens – people get annoyed by this person during live events. The same is true on webinars.

But on webinars (opposed to live keynotes) you can do something about it. You can shut him down, or kick him out from your presentation.

My advice is to NOT ALLOW public chats during your presentation, except at specific times:
– (Beginning) In the welcome phase, when you greet people and ask them their names and purpose
– (End) In the Q&A phase – when you want people to ask questions
– (During) In the Polls, or “engagement” phases, when you want people to answer your questions.

If you use WebinarJam Studio, it’s very easy to suspend public chat during your event. Just click this button and you’re done.

Google__Hangouts

If you use EasyWebinar it’s a little tricky, since it does not have a proper chat system, but you should search for an embedded chat system that has the ability to be turned on/off at your will when you need to.

5. Be Transparent about the Sale at the end (if you have one)

John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur on Fire mentioned this in an interview he gave to Casey Zeman from EasyWebinar.
In the introduction part, where he mentions the outline, what will come in the next hour (during the webinar) he also mentions that by the end he will have a special offer for those that like what they learn and want to dive deeper into the subject.

It’s good practice to do this although you might be scared that your audience will leave early. Don’t worry about this. Those who leave early or during the sales pitch will probably never buy from you.

I tested both approaches (transparency and non-transparency) and realized there will always be people who will accuse you of over-selling. It’s like a 33-33-33 percent split in your audience: 33% will love you, 33% will hate you (or your sale) and 33% will be ok with you.
 Worry about the 33% that loves you and make the other 33% that is ok with you love you. Then make them both buy from you.  This is your target 🙂

Be transparent and you will come out as very confident in front of your audience.
They will be warned right from the beginning that it will be a sale and their disappointment level (there always is some freebie only persons) will be low because you were transparent.

6. Be in charge all the time – get a presentation manager

This one is for you if you use WebinarJam Studio.
During your presentation you need to be focused on many things, so keeping tabs with the chat room is NOT your priority.
You must be fully inside your game to deliver the best presentation, with the greatest ROI.

Add webinar manager

Here comes the nice part: you can ask for help inside WebinarJam Studio, because there is a control panel feature that allows anybody you want to become your assistant.
You just need to add you assistant as an admin from the webinar setup dashboard.

Then give him/her the link to the control panel:

send control panel link

Once inside, the assistant has the following tasks:

  • Pay attention to you presentation
  • Enable/disable public chat when appropriate
  • Respond to questions from the audience
  • Give you the important questions so that you can respond live
  • Kick out any attendee that misbehaves in some way (this is important since a bad attendee can ruin the other people’s experience during the public chat times (see #4 above)
EasyWebinar does not have this feature at the time of writing.

7. Tell attendees to prepare their environment – silent/headphones/rules of the house

You’re the boss.
It’s your party and people are invited.
So you should have some rules of the house – it’s easier for everybody to know what your expectations are too.

What I always do: I put up a slide with “Silence Please” and ask people to pay attention to what is coming next (the presentation), put their phones to silent mode, close Facebook, close other notifications and if possible close the door and ask family/coworkers to leave them alone for the next hour.

I felt skeptical about this at first, but it works like magic and it will help you keep your public engaged and attentive. These are prerequisites for a good sale 😉

8. Ask people questions/polls, engage them every 10 minutes

Ted Talks are short (up to 12 minutes) because scientifically our brains get bored after 10 minutes.
Same thing happens during the webinar.
So you must  break the pattern every 10-15 minutes and ask the audience to DO SOMETHING .

The best ways for this engagement are:
– Ask them to write something inside the chat box – ask a question, wait for the answers
– Ask them to respond to a poll (with WebinarJam Studio poll feature)

I always put up a slide with this request, for 2 reasons:
– So that I don’t forget 🙂
– So that they can see the request also (not only hear it)

9. Tell their names and ask them to act immediately (write their location / business)

This should have been posted in the top of the list, but it’s better later than ever 🙂
As I said before, you are the boss, the host, the owner of the party…
What does a good host does when people come into her house?
Exactly, she greets them 🙂

That’s what you should do immediately after you press the Start Broadcast button.
Engage with your audience personally and ask them their name, their location, their business.

The best way to do this is to start individually with 4-5 people by calling their names and giving them the request then asking everybody to do the same.

10. Get hydrated before the webinar and during the webinar

Hydrated means only WATER.
You need water. Plenty of it.

water glass

Because you will be speaking almost continuously for at least an hour and your body will dehydrate fast.

What to Drink:

Be careful: prepare at least a bottle of non-sparkling water , at room temperature.
Even if you’re used to ice-cold water, you should avoid it during your presentation.
The conditions of a webinar are totally different than when you come back from sports and need a drink of water. You must protect your voice at all costs, because it’s your sales tool and you must keep it sharp.

What to Avoid:

Avoid soda drinks, cola, sprite.
Avoid coffee and drinks with caffeine.
These will make your lips make funny sounds when you speak.
Also your mouth will feel dry and you’ll have a hard time concentrating to your speech.

That’s it 🙂 Feel free to comment below and let me know how this helps you.

Disclaimer: I use both WebinarJam Studio and EasyWebinar so the links towards these tools are affiliate links. I think both products are great and deserve to be promoted as excellent tools for webinars, each with its set of pros and cons.

About the Author Ciprian Soleriu

Ciprian is a procedures "guy" and he loves to see people succeed using his blueprints. Follow him for the latest business hacks to get you up and running in no time. Results you will see: more business and less stress. Try it if you don't believe it.

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