Webinar presentations: What are they for and how should they be created?


Useful tips, answers to the most common questions, and step-by-step instructions for presenters from the Pitch Avatar team.

Do you need a presentation in a webinar?

First things first, let’s examine whether a presentation is even a necessary part of a webinar. In fact, isn’t a webinar itself a form of online presentation? It’s a reasonable question. To answer it briefly, a presentation (or several presentations) embedded in a webinar makes it a more interesting and effective event. To understand why, it is enough to remember what a webinar is. It is an ordinary face-to-face seminar, lecture, or conference, “moved” to the Internet. Now let’s consider traditional, offline seminars in auditoriums or lecture halls. Which ones are better – those with or those without presentations?


A good online presentation allows you to illustrate and make the main ideas or theses more memorable for your audience. In addition, it can be used to change the rhythm of the webinar, “shaking the audience up” and resetting their attention.

How does a webinar presentation differ from a regular online presentation?

Basically, webinar presentations are different because you can keep them simple in terms of structure, focusing entirely on the products, goods, solutions, or ideas that are the webinar’s focus, or comprise its key parts. Introductions, team introductions, guest speakers, and question and answer sessions can all be dedicated to separate “chapters” of the webinar, placed before and after the presentation. 


However, it’s important to remember that your presentation should be a stand-alone piece of work that can be used beyond the webinar. This means this presentation should have a title, a beginning, a climax, and a finale. The finale should include contacts with active links and give the viewer clear, concise, and unambiguous instruction on how to take their next step. We’ll talk more about what a webinar presentation should be like below, in our step-by-step instructions, which you’ll find in the second part of this text.

What should a modern webinar be like?

The best way to look for the answer to this question is through examples. Let’s imagine that you invented… well, let’s say, a mobile translator that allows you to communicate with animals. A miraculous device with dedicated software that makes you feel like Doctor Dolittle. What should a webinar dedicated to this device look like? 


  • The webinar should be viewer-centered. As you are preparing your webinar, keep your audience’s interests and desires in mind at every stage. Let’s say you are presenting your Dolittle Device to veterinarians. It makes sense that the webinar should primarily be about the problems and challenges that this device can solve for animal care professionals.


  • The webinar should be created with the “preacher’s rule” in mind. This rule states that even the most enthusiastic audience member who attends an event through their own initiative will get tired and lose focus after 10 minutes. Webinars, on the other hand, usually last longer – from half an hour to an hour. Therefore, in order for the webinar to be successful, every 7-8 minutes you should “reset” the audience’s attention. Including presentations in your webinar, among other things, serve this purpose. 


In addition to the suggestion above, there are several other popular ways to “reset” the audience. Question and answer blocks, game assignments (tests, quizzes, and the like), and, of course, changing speakers. In our example, this could mean inviting people who will share their impressions of using the Dolittle Device. Or those who will speak about the peculiarities of its use in different conditions and with different animals. The appearance of a new speaker is guaranteed to get the audience excited. Please note that these days it is no longer necessary to spend time and resources on inviting interesting guests. Modern technologies, such as Pitch Avatar‘s intelligent presenter assistant, allow you to create any number of virtual speakers.


  • The webinar should be richly and originally illustrated. Our brain perceives pictures better than words, processing images 60,000 times faster than text and speech, which means that the emphasis in delivering information should be on slides, videos, animations, and the like. How many illustrations are needed during a webinar? Perhaps the answer to this popular question should be sought in Guy Kawasaki’s presentation formula, according to which there should be one slide for every two minutes of the event. In our experience, we advise using one illustration for every two minutes of the webinar, not including those used in the presentations that are embedded in the event. Of course, these images should not be abstract pictures or videos. Each should be directly related to the underlying theme of the webinar. In the case of our example, most of the slides, videos, and animations should be original content illustrating how the Dolittle Device works in different conditions, situations, and circumstances. 


  • A good modern webinar should allow the audience to actively participate. Q&A blocks, quizzes, tests, interactive slides – try to maximize the use of all these tools to engage the audience in the webinar process. Note that engagement is one of the most effective ways to increase the appeal of an online event. Especially if the viewer’s active participation is rewarded with some kind of discount or other incentive. Raffle a dozen free trial periods of the Dolittle Device among the veterinarians and zoo workers attending your webinar, and your sales will surely increase.

Creating a webinar presentation step by step

Let’s make it clear right away that these instructions are mostly universal and are generally quite suitable for creating online presentations for a wide variety of purposes.


  • Get a clear idea of who you’re making the presentation for. Again, think back to who your content is intended for. This is your audience. Spend time researching and exploring their interests. Proceed from the premise that you need to demonstrate how your offering fulfills your viewers’ desires and helps solve their problems. Let’s go back to the Dolittle Device example. If your audience is veterinarians, then you should focus on how the Dolittle Device will help them more accurately diagnose animal diseases and monitor treatment.


  • Clearly define the topic of the presentation. Oddly enough, this advice is often problematic. “I want to talk about my proposal. What other topic could there be?” This is a pretty typical response from presenters faced with this task. But that’s the thing, simply talking about your offer works very poorly. In fact, it’s not a theme at all. Again, imagine your hypothetical webinar on the Dolittle Device and the veterinarians in attendance. Are you picturing it? Here are some topics to present to your audience regarding our hypothetical device: “Improving animal diagnostics by communicating directly with animals in their language”, “Expanding knowledge of the needs of different animal species with the Dolittle Device”, “Using the Dolittle Device to solve conflicts and problems in animal-human relationships”. Agree that these topics will be much more interesting to veterinarians than a simple “Introducing the Dolittle Device.” 


  • Determine your presentation’s approximate timing and the resources you can devote to its creation. It’s always important to remember that you’re not James Cameron or Steven Spielberg. You don’t have their budgets or capabilities. You are not tasked with creating a feature-length movie. What is the optimal length of a modern online presentation? According to recent research it is approximately 3-5 minutes. It’s easy for the author of a webinar presentation to keep within this timeframe because he or she doesn’t need to allocate time for a personal introduction, team introductions, and audience interaction – all of these elements will be accomplished during the webinar, outside of the presentation. 


How much time can you spend on preparation? Based on statistics and our experience, eight hours is enough time to create a good, effective presentation. Before you get started, make a list of technical and financial resources that are available and the people you can involve in the production.


  • Step away from your computer, and put away your tablet and smartphone. Instead of the usual devices, arm yourself with an ordinary notebook and a pen. Have you forgotten how to use them? You need these old-school tools to come up with truly original ideas and a script for your presentation. When working at a computer, it’s too tempting to use existing templates and developments – either your own or any of those available through a variety of resources. Try not to use your familiar devices and applications until you have a rough idea of what you want your presentation to look like, what ideas and messages you want to convey, and how you want to deliver them.


  • Frame your presentation in the form of a story. Try to build the problem and/or conflict that your presentation is addressing into an interesting tale. A compelling story is an excellent way to convey information. Facts embedded in a story are 22 times more memorable than facts presented by themselves. Think about how you can demonstrate change for the better, in an accessible way, within your story. In the case of our example, it’s easy to envision a story that begins with frightened, sick animals , trying to bite and scratch the nervous, tired veterinarians trying to help them, and at the end of the story are the same doctors, who were able to negotiate with their patients, give them the treatment they needed and, consequently, are now surrounded by happy and healthy animals. 


Be sure to think about what emotion you want to evoke in the viewer. What are you trying to achieve? Is it to smile at an ironically funny presentation given in an style that is almost comedic, or is it to experience a moving drama with a happy ending? Your answer to this question determines the style you choose for your presentation.


  • Get to work on the visual side of the presentation. It’s time to get back to your computer and start working on slides, videos, and animations. Most presenters start by writing and editing the text that fits their scenario-story, leaving the visualization for later. This seems convenient, because it seems that it is more efficient to create a series of visuals based on a completed text. But this is a flawed approach. Practice shows that text polishing very easily eats most of the time allocated for the presentation’s preparation. As a result, illustrations are often created with whatever time remains after completing the text. Here we will take a moment to once again remind you that visual information is perceived, digested, and retained much better than textual information. This is the way our brains work. And what do we get if we sit down to the text first, leaving the illustrations for later? Almost certainly we will hurriedly complete the most important part of the presentation with the remnants of our strength. Therefore, we repeat, first deal with slides, video, and animation. At this stage it is also best to deal with the music selection. Keep in mind that video and animation are strongly favored by the modern viewer in comparison with pictures, and dramatically increase the number of conversions. 


  • Start working on the text. Now you can deal with the presentation’s text and speaker notes. Believe me, turning a script outline into a full-fledged text based on visuals you have already assembled will not be a difficult task. The motto for almost any good presentation is delivering the maximum number of words in the minimum amount of text. This is especially true for inscriptions on slides. Viewers do not like text slides. Therefore, make it a rule – slides should contain no more than six words, and these words should occupy no more than a quarter of the slide’s area. Anything that goes beyond these limits is not perceived as an image, but as text. Fortunately, working with texts for online events has become a lot easier these days thanks to intelligent presenter assistants like Pitch Avatar.  


  • Invite viewers to take one simple step at the end of the viewing experience. The simplest option is to ask them to click on a link to purchase a discounted item or receive some sort of giveaway. Returning once again to our example, it could be something like, “Follow this link to our store, buy a Dolittle Device today and get a second Dolittle Device as a gift!”


  • Rehearse, edit, and rehearse again. This is a tip we’ve saved for last – both for preparing the webinar as a whole and for the presentations that comprise it. Rehearsals help you identify most mistakes, inconsistencies, strategic errors, and technical issues. The best option for rehearsing is to gather an audience that does not consist soley of colleagues, friends, acquaintances, and relatives but also to include representatives from your target audience. In the case of our Dolittle Device’s imaginary webinar, you must invite a veterinarian. Or better yet, several. Don’t neglect rehearsals! Be sure to set aside time for at least two – a rough rehearsal, after which revisions are made, and a dress rehearsal, after which… Well, revisions are also usually made after the second rehearsal, too, but a lot less. Keep in mind that rehearsals have another important property – they directly influence the quality of the speakers’ work during the presentation by eliminating errors and hesitancy. And this, in turn, affects the effectiveness of the webinar. Audiences like charismatic and confident presenters.


Good luck to everyone, successful online events, and high income!


Source: Pitch Avatar Blog

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