Webinars Archive

When Should You Use a Webinar?

Posted December 17, 2014 By Callie

Webinars offer the ultimate in online collaboration. They make use of audio, video and a variety of other technologies to create an interactive experience that’s almost as good as meeting in person. And with today’s fast internet speeds and inexpensive hosting services, just about anyone with a computer and webcam can have one.

Still, a successful webinar requires a great deal of thought and preparation. You must come up with a good topic, choose a capable presenter and put together an itinerary. You have to promote it to attract the right audience and make sure you’re giving them the information they’re looking for. It’s a lot of work, so before you jump in it’s important to make sure that a webinar is the appropriate vehicle for your message. Here are some of the situations in which webinars are most effective.

* Interactive training – Training can often be accomplished via email, recorded video or a conference call. But in some cases, live, interactive video works best. Participants can follow along with you, asking questions every step of the way. This type of webinar works best with a limited number of participants.

* Product demonstrations – Bricks and mortar businesses often hold demonstrations to show consumers what their products can do. If you sell online, a webinar can accomplish the same goals. It’s better than recorded video because you can interact with viewers and answer their questions right away. You can also record the webinar and post it to your site so that those who are unable to attend can see what they missed.

* Focus groups – Businesses often use focus groups to refine their products, services and marketing efforts. They choose participants from their target market and show them ads or presentations, then ask questions and allow free discussion to see how they react. Online focus groups work well for online business owners because they allow people to participate without regard to geographic location.

* Establishing yourself as an expert – Online marketers often hold webinars as a means of establishing themselves as experts in their respective fields. This format offers a number of advantages. It allows customers to put a face and personality with their name, increasing trust. It also makes it possible to share information in a variety of ways and gives participants the opportunity for interactive discussion.

Webinars can be helpful throughout the sales cycle, from finding new prospects to sealing the deal. They allow you to connect with your audience in ways that are impossible though email and other methods.

Tools You’ll Need for a Successful Webinar

Posted December 16, 2014 By Callie

Holding a webinar isn’t as difficult as you might think. But there are certain tools that you’ll need to make it a success. Here’s a brief rundown.

* A good internet connection – You simply can’t have a webinar without an internet connection, and it will go much more smoothly if you have a fast and reliable one. Aside from dial-up, most of today’s connections are sufficient to provide good video and audio. Use a wired connection for the highest reliability.

* Camera – You don’t need high-end video equipment to conduct a successful webinar, but you’ll want to make sure your camera produces nice, clear video. It’s best to use an actual camcorder rather than a webcam, because it will provide better quality and greater portability. Make certain that your camera battery is fully charged before you start, and that the camera operator is familiar with all of its functions.

* Microphone – It’s best not to rely on your camera’s built-in microphone when you’re holding a webinar. A personal microphone or headset for each speaker is ideal since it will reduce background noise. Whatever set-up you decide to use, be sure to test it well in advance so that you can make adjustments as needed.

* Webinar platform – There are several good webinar platforms to choose from, each with its own unique features. Look at as many options as possible, and pick one that has all of the features you need. Common features include built-in chat, polling, whiteboard and two-way audio. Some platforms offer packages with different features at different price points. Once you’ve decided on a platform, make sure that your computer meets its requirements before purchasing.

* Visuals – You’ll need something to show your audience. It could be a live demonstration, some charts or a PowerPoint presentation – whatever you need to make your point in visual form.

* Moderator/crew – It’s difficult to pull off a successful webinar on your own. You should have at least one person on site to take care of the camera work and handle any technical problems that may arise. This person may also act as moderator, or someone off-site can handle that duty. A moderator monitors chat and helps participants with any technical problems they may have on their end.

* Notes – When you’re holding a webinar, it’s not a good idea to “wing it.” Preparing some notes ahead of time will help ensure that you stay on topic and cover everything that you planned to cover. You don’t need a full script – a good outline will suffice.

These tools are the basics that you’ll need for a successful webinar. Along with careful preparation, they will give you everything you need to succeed.

With today’s economy in the lackluster state of affairs that it is, the need to generate leads and sales is more important than ever. Gone are the days where traditional advertising was adequate.

Even with the onset of social media, there is no better way than public speaking to promote sales and leads. Everyone and anyone from beginners to experts are using social media and technology to generate leads; however, the public is growing weary of being so disconnected.

Up Front and Personal

The next generation is showing a trend of desiring more social interaction – and not by texting or emailing either. Many individuals are becoming frustrated by the lack of social skills and manners that other individuals they interact with maintain.

People today are looking for that up front and personal contact. Ask anyone you meet on the street if they are frustrated at best with making a telephone call today. Any one of them are likely to reveal that they long for the day when they can speak to an actual person without having to press a half dozen numbers in order to do so.

When you speak publicly, you have the option to show your facial expressions, the inflection in your voice, and the enthusiasm of what or whom you are selling. Traditional advertising boards and social media are missing that key ingredient.

Reinforcing the Message

After the event, you have the opportunity to speak with individuals that you may have noticed were unaffected with your presentation. This gives you a double opportunity to promote a future customer out of that individual.

By seeing an individual’s interest or non-interest, you can pick and choose who to follow up with in order to possibly gain a potential customer.

Handouts

At a public presentation, you have the opportunity to give out handouts that outline your message or information about your product. Having something in print to go along with your dynamic speaking abilities will only reinforce the benefits of why that consumer needs your message or product in the first place. This can be a complete win/win situation.

As individuals all learn differently – some by listening, some by touching, and others by reading. This works to reach the customer on many more levels than just a simple ad or social media campaign.

With so much competition out there, you will want to make sure that you cover all the bases for generating leads and sales. Public speaking does this on many levels.

Seven Webinar No-Nos and How to Avoid Them

Posted December 16, 2014 By Callie

Holding a webinar is an effective way to connect with your audience and present information. But if you’re not careful, you could end up boring or annoying them. Here are seven common webinar mistakes and how you can avoid them.

1. Poor audio and/or video – If you’re going to go to the trouble of having a webinar, it’s crucial that you make sure that participants can see and hear you well. You don’t need top of the line equipment, but it is important to use a camera with good resolution and microphones that produce clear sound. Pay special attention to lighting, keep background noise to a minimum, and thoroughly test your equipment in advance.

2. Choosing the wrong date and time – You’ll need to schedule your webinar at a time when your target audience will be able and willing to attend. The middle of the week is usually best. Try to choose a time that is good for viewers in all of the time zones you plan to cover (usually early- to mid-afternoon Eastern time in the United States).

3. Too much information – If you try to pack too much information into one webinar, one of two things will happen: either the webinar will go on too long, or your audience will suffer from information overload. You can avoid this by choosing a narrow topic and staying focused.

4. Not enough information – Webinars should be more than just one long sales pitch. Attendees expect to learn something. Give them something they can use!

5. Trying to “wing it” – Careful planning is a must for any webinar. If you go into the broadcast unprepared, you’re asking for trouble. While you don’t want it to seem overly scripted, it’s important to have a plan. Make notes of what you will cover, and include sources to back up your claims.

6. Not using visuals – Webinar attendees expect to see something interesting. If you only plan to talk, perhaps you should have a conference call instead. Visuals will keep your audience interested and help drive your points home.

7. Failure to interact with the audience – Interaction is an important part of any webinar. Without it, your webinar has little or no advantage over a recorded video. If possible, set aside time at the end of the webinar to answer audience questions. Alternatively, you could ask attendees to send in questions via email ahead of time and answer them during your presentation.

Don’t let these common mistakes turn your webinar into a disaster. Take full advantage of the opportunity to make a connection with your audience!

Public Speaking: How to Get Audience Participation

Posted December 16, 2014 By Callie

Public speaking is not something new. Public speaking has been around since ancient times, representing the ability to speak in a public forum – whether for political or legal reasons. In today’s society, public speaking is the norm and not the exception. What with today’s abundance of life coaches in every field from business to personal, public speaking is expected on all levels.

It is one thing to gather the courage to get up and speak in front of others, and another thing to engage your audience. Yet another component of public speaking is to get your audience to participate.

Make It about Them

If you are like most people, you are intimidated about speaking in public, whether it is your first time or your fiftieth. If you want your audience to engage with you, you first have to engage with them. Letting your audience know right out of the box that you are there for them will ease their own intimidation of speaking in public as well. If they know that you are there to help them and that you intend to help them get what they came to get and what they may have even paid for, then half the battle is won.

Make It Interesting

If you want your audience to engage in conversation with you, then you have to be engaging. Make your topic of choice interesting and fun as well as informative. If your audience is snoozing while you speak, chances are that they will not have paid attention if you call on them to answer. Not only does that embarrass them, it is also a sign that you are not holding their interest.

Confess a Little

After introducing yourself and after your initial introduction of the subject, feel free to confess to your audience that you were once just as they are in the audience – afraid to speak up for fear of embarrassment. Let them know that everyone in the room is just as afraid as they are and that you are all one in this subject. If you have a funny but true story about how you had a little goof-up, then this will ease the audience’s tension and let them know that it is all good.

Inject Humor

Of course, the purpose of public speaking is to share knowledge of what you know and to motivate or convince your audience. However, if you present a dull and repetitive speech without humor injected in here and there, you are less likely to engage your audience. Tell funny anecdotes that are relatable to your audience; put them at ease.

Ask Questions

There is no greater way than to engage an audience than to ask questions. You will almost always find that someone is willing to stand up and speak out.

How to Make Your Presentation Memorable

Posted December 15, 2014 By Callie

Having a webinar is a great way to get your audience excited about your brand and your offerings. It gives you the opportunity to make a connection that is hard to make through an email or a web page. But since many attendees won’t take action right away, it’s important to make your presentation as memorable as possible. Here are some ways to accomplish that.

* Hit the ground running. People tend to remember the beginning and the end of a presentation best, so it’s important to start out strong. Of course you’ll want to introduce yourself, but keep it short and sweet. Then move on to the good stuff. Start out with a compelling story or an eye-opening statistic that will really stick in the viewer’s mind, to take full advantage of the opportunity for increased retention.

* Use plenty of visuals. You’ll be talking throughout the webinar, so those who learn best through hearing are covered. But lots of people learn better through visual stimulation, so it’s important to make use of graphics as well. Charts and graphs are good as long as they’re not overused. Photos also work well where appropriate. You might even sprinkle in some fun graphics to help hold the viewer’s attention.

* Have more than one speaker. If possible, it’s good to have two or more speakers for your webinar. It’s fine if one person does most of the talking, but a different voice will help keep the viewer’s attention. If you can’t have someone else speak live during the webinar, consider featuring a short video of a different speaker.

* Make it interactive. One of the most important features of a webinar is the ability to interact with your audience. If you’re working with a small group, it’s a good idea to have each participant introduce him or herself to break the ice. If the software you’re using allows it, you can have participants ring in when they have questions throughout the presentation. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to set aside some time at the end of the presentation for a question and answer session.

* Wrap it up neatly. Close with a summary of your most important points and a call to action. Direct participants to your website for more information, and tell them where and when they will be able to download the webinar video or a transcript.

A webinar is a grand opportunity to connect with your audience. Make it as memorable as possible, and they will keep coming back for more.

How to Find Guest Speakers for Your Webinar

Posted December 15, 2014 By Callie

Webinars are great vehicles for establishing yourself as an expert in your field. But that doesn’t mean that you have to do all of the talking. Sharing the floor with a guest speaker can add to your credibility and give your audience the benefit of a different perspective.

Some marketers are intimidated at the prospect of finding guest speakers. Maybe they are afraid that they will have to pay huge fees, or perhaps they worry about being rejected. But many people are willing to speak at webinars at little or no cost since they will gain exposure by doing so. Here are some tips for finding guest speakers for your next webinar.

* Use your social networks. One of the best ways to make connections these days is through social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Why not use them to put the word out that you’re looking for a guest speaker for your webinar? One of your followers might be interested, or maybe your followers will pass the word along to help you find someone. LinkedIn is another good source for potential presenters since it is focused on business networking.

* Send an email. If you have a particular speaker in mind, go ahead and shoot him or her an email. Those you’ve done business with previously are often happy to oblige. And even if it’s someone with whom you’ve never made contact before, there’s no harm in trying. Just introduce yourself, explain why you think they would make a good guest speaker, and ask if they would be interested. You might be surprised.

* Ask readers of your blog or newsletter for help. Ask them who they would like to see as a guest speaker for your webinar, or if they would be interested in doing it themselves. Let them know exactly what you’re looking for and what kind of expertise is needed, and you should get some helpful responses.

* Offer something in return. While many speakers are willing to help you out in exchange for added exposure, it never hurts to offer something in return. If you’re charging for admission to your webinar, it’s only fair to offer guest speakers a flat fee or a percentage of profits. For free webinars, you could offer to return the favor at their next webinar or write a guest post for their blog.

A great guest speaker for your webinar could be just an email or tweet away. Don’t be afraid to put the word out and see what happens!

Since public speaking is so popular these days, it is not uncommon to also see it as an elective in many college degrees. However, college degree or not, until you actually partake in the art of public speaking it is difficult to know what it entails.

Public speaking comes with various ups and downs. Knowing some of these benefits and pitfalls as you go along is a great addition to your public speaking experiences.

While many public forums are free events, there are just as many that are paid events. Both have benefits to them.

The Benefits of Paid Public Speaking Events

While it may seem obvious to most that public speaking offers the attendee the benefit of receiving what they came to hear, many individuals do not realize this important fact. One of the biggest benefits of a paid public speaking event is the high expectancy that attendees have before they even enter.

Individuals fully expect to get their money’s worth and are willing enough to put their hard-earned money down on the table to come and hear what a public speaker has to say. With that type of confidence coming into the arena, it is a tremendous benefit to the public speaker. The speaker knows full-well that everyone there had enough confidence to put their money down and attend, knowing that they would get what they paid for and more.

This gives the speaker a heightened sense of worth. It has often been said that you earn your keep. When a public speaker gives something away entirely for free, the value of that speech seems to diminish. Individuals may think that if it is free, it is not worthy.

Another benefit of paid public speaking events is the ability to use the term “sold out.” When a forum that requires individuals to pay is at full capacity, the speaker gets the added bonus of saying that their presentation was “sold-out.” This will reap monumental rewards in future advertising.

The Benefits of Free Public Speaking Events

There are many benefits to offering free public speaking events. One of those benefits is that a speaker will have the opportunity to set up in a public forum such as a high school or library and begin to get his or her name out there.

Another benefit is the ability to obtain permits to host public events in town parks during the nicer weather. If you combine a free public speaking event with lovely settings and prime outdoor weather, you are more than likely to draw a crowd.

By offering your public speaking forums for free when you first set out, you gain the invaluable opportunity of speaking to people that you may not have otherwise reached. Free sessions bring people to your message and will more than likely turn into future customers.

Public speaking is not a new concept. The ancient Greeks held public speaking forums, and throughout history it is known to have existed as well. However, for today’s speaker there seems to be so much attached to the art of public speaking. There seems to be this foreboding of debate over every topic from religion to politics, and it is no wonder why people freeze when they have to speak publicly.

However, that sense of foreboding does not have to exist. As a matter of fact, it is more of a myth than it is a reality. Today’s society is searching for answers and hope, as well as motivation and change in their lives. For that reason, the public speaker has more than everything going for them.

Why People Freeze When Speaking

There are numerous reasons why people freeze when speaking, and the biggest reason is fear:

* Fear of making a mistake
* Fear of embarrassment
* Fear of offending someone in the audience
* Fear of not being able to answer a question and give up credibility
* Fear of failure
* Fear of freezing up and forgetting what you were going to say

Some of those fears are understandable, and when put all together it is no wonder why an individual speaker would freeze up. However, there are many ways to overcome these fears.

How to Overcome These Fears

* Make sure you know your subject matter – If you are going to have the courage to get up and speak in front of an audience, it would be in your best interest to know your subject matter thoroughly and precisely. Being well versed in your subject will give you the confidence you need to go out there.

* Practice makes perfect – Although it may sound corny, it does help to practice in front of the mirror and even your family, friends, and neighbors before going out live. This will give you much-needed rehearsal and the opportunity to pick and choose the inflections and tone of your voice.

* Keep helping others as your focus – If you go out there and focus on yourself rather than the message you have to put out, then you will most likely freeze up. When you make it about helping others, you are in the giving mode and not the receiving mode.

* Rehearse some worst-case scenarios – If you rehearse some worst-case scenarios before speaking publicly, you will most likely find that nothing even close to those scenarios will happen. This will give you confidence for next time.

Putting these tips into practice will help you to prepare yourself, as well as give you the confidence you need to get your all-important message out to others.