An online presentation – whether it’s a webinar or other form of online training – is just another presentation, and there are plenty of articles, books, videos and coaches that teach presentation skills. Yet most presenters – even experienced ones – do a poor job with their online presentations.
Of course, some may argue this is because we are using new technology. However, online presentation technology has matured to the point that it’s reliable, accessible, and easy to use. So the technology itself is no longer the biggest obstacle – the real problem is that the physical environment of online presentations is different, and some presenters haven’t yet learned the necessary skills to adjust.
In a typical in-person presentation, a room is set aside and arranged for the presentation. Your audience is with you in the room and they have set aside time specifically to attend. They are sitting next to others sharing the same experience. All of these factors greatly contribute to your overall presentation.
Here’s a typical in-person presentation, where you can see a number of factors that help the presenter:
Online, things are different. The physical environment works against you, rather than for you. In particular:
- You are a much smaller part of their environment – literally just a slide show on their computer screen.
- Your audience is impatient and easily distracted – and if you lose their attention and interest, it’s much more difficult to regain it.
Here’s a typical webinar attendee, where you as the presenter are just one small part of a very distracting environment:
This means you have to put more work into preparing and planning your presentation so you can overcome the obstacles of the environment.
I recently wrote a blog post on this topic for Citrix, the company behind GoToWebinar (the webinar technology I use).
I also wrote a special report, “The Secret Formula for Webinar Presentations that Work Every Time”, for Citrix. You can download the report here.