Create compelling messages for web conferences

Friday, January 4 2013

Web conferencing can be enjoyable for presenters and participants, especially if speakers engage their audiences. However, leaders who fail to deliver compelling messages may miss the mark and risk alienating attendees.

A web meeting might appear challenging, particularly for first-time presenters, but the following tips can help you develop content that will keep participants interested in the gathering.

1. Manage your anxiety
Presenters who are well-prepared can typically avoid getting butterflies in their stomachs before web conferences. Consider the information that needs to be delivered, the best ways to present materials and the web meeting's audience to successfully create materials.

Practice is essential for web conference presenters because it enables them to review their materials and consider their deliveries. For example, a web meeting that deals with complex topics might require a speaker to spend extra time defining terms and answering participants' questions. If a presenter fully understands the content, he or she can effectively respond to attendees' queries and ensure that participants recognize the value of specific information.

Additionally, remember to speak slowly and enunciate, as presenters who feel nervous may speed up their pace. It is important for audiences to receive content during a web conference, and providing materials at a slower pace helps ensure that attendees can immediately review data.

2. Evaluate your visuals
Speakers may use various diagrams and graphs to display statistics during a web meeting. Ensure that presentation visuals are in sync with the information that is being delivered, because failing to do so could prove disastrous.

Treating the web conference like an in-person meeting is a great way to evaluate visuals. Presenters can imagine that they are standing in front of attendees in an office and providing materials based on data included in a Microsoft PowerPoint slideshow. By evaluating visuals in this context, speakers can determine if information should be added or removed based on how the graphics might appear to audience members.

Visuals should be relevant to a web conference's theme, but presenters must avoid the danger of adding too many details. Use bullet points and elaborate on these topics during presentations. Provide attendees with opportunities to ask questions if clarification is necessary.

3. Examine the real-life surroundings
Background noise can negatively impact a presentation, and speakers should ensure that they deliver materials from distraction-free environments.

For instance, presenters who are working from home offices may close the door and turn off their cell phones to minimize interference. Attendees should take similar steps, as these participants must follow along with the presentation.

4. Pay attention
Active listeners can deliver compelling messages that will keep participants engaged for extended periods. Keep attendees involved by asking questions throughout the presentation and focus on audience members' responses to ensure that they understand the content.

If possible, address respondents directly to promote participation. Speakers who take attendance before a web conference can determine who is listening and if the their presentations are easy to understand by speaking to participants as they normally would during an in-person meeting.

Regular question-and-answer sessions and periodic breaks are helpful for web meeting presenters and participants. A comprehensive web conference may feature a wide range of materials, and giving attendees a few minutes to provide feedback or simply relax can enhance the value of the gathering.

After the meeting, reach out to audience members for extra feedback to potentially improve future web conferences. Speakers can send short polls or surveys to learn how audience members felt about a gathering and may use the feedback to improve their presentations.