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Yesterday, I was the featured speaker at a PR Daily webinar about scoring media coverage on a limited budget. (My slides are here).

It was my second PRD webinar, and, I believe, it went better than the first.

Both of the webinars I’ve led have been challenging:

  • We have had no cameras, so I talk without seeing anyone’s reactions to my words.
  • Even though the audience can stop me and ask questions, no one has (even when prompted) so I end up talking for a long time. Clearly, I need to do more to alleviate this problem.
  • As with most speaking gigs, one is never aware of the level of knowledge the audience possesses about the subject so tailoring communication is sometimes hard.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE hosting these events. In fact speaking about PR, business and social media might be my favourite professional activity. It is super rewarding for a myriad of reasons. However, that does not diminish the challenge of the non-camera, webinar format.

Here, based on my very limited experience, are 5 tips about speaking at webinars (if you have more, please help me by adding them in the comments):

  • Practice several days before with a small group who you know will offer constructive criticism. Michael Sebastian has served as a sounding board for me both times I have presented for Ragan. His insights and criticism have been invaluable – in fact they have saved the day.
  • After that initial run through, be open enough to rework your slides, switch up the dialogue/delivery etc.
  • On the day of the webinar, log on/call in early so as to prevent last second screwups with the technology. If I had not done this yesterday, there would’ve been big problems.
  • As with any speaking event, during the Q and A you WILL get questions that you have not anticipated. Just do your best. It is OK if you take time or say ‘I don’t know, maybe we can continue this dialogue over email/in person/on the phone later’.
  • Read the survey results that come in from those who’ve paid to listen to you. But, please, realize that you will NEVER make everyone happy. Take both the extremely positive and extremely negative with a grain of salt and try and pay particular attention to any reasoned, constructive criticism.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Krista says:

    Hey Jackson–I am miffed I missed your webinar! It looks like you had some great insights to share with the group, so thanks for posting your slides.

    You also make some good points about the dynamic of a webinar vs public speaking. It’s a challenge not to see your audience but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare. Hope to catch your next speaking gig 🙂

  • Thanks for the comment K. Hope all is well.

    I will let you know next time round. 🙂

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