How To Handle an "Invisible" Webinar Audience

One of the most common problems new webinar presenters encounter is the feeling that they are presenting to an “invisible” audience. This can be very unnerving, especially if you’re used to speaking in front of groups. In fact, experienced presenters struggle even more with this, because they don’t realise just how much they rely subconsciously on cues in their environment.

As a presenter, there are some simple things you can do to tackle this particular issue.

Solve their problems.

The most important thing you can do is to be sure your material is answering their real questions and problems. This gives you confidence that you are providing value, even if you don’t get this feedback from the audience’s body language.

To be sure you’re solving their problems, of course you need to know their problems. You can do this in many ways – for example, by running a survey beforehand, by asking a few people informally, or simply from your experience.

Chat with attendees beforehand.

Log on early and chat informally with the “early birds” – just like you might chat with attendees before the start of a workshop or seminar. Most webinar presenters don’t do this, but there’s no reason why you can’t be different. Just have a simple conversation with the people who are there, and it will help settle your nerves and increase rapport.

Allow them to speak.

If your webinar technology allows it, turn on microphones and let them speak out loud. In other words, don’t restrict audience interaction to written comments only.

Involve your moderator.

If you’ve got a moderator or organiser, involve them as much as possible – for example, to run the polls, read out questions, and comment during your webinar – even if you know you could do it yourself.

Stop for questions.

Stop for questions early and often, just as you would do in an in-person presentation. Don’t drone on for 55 minutes, and leave 5 minutes at the end for questions. If you do, don’t complain about the audience seeming “invisible” – they might as well be!

Design engagement.

Build lots of engagement and interaction into your presentation. Polls and questions are the obvious options, but even private exercises (“Write down your financial goal”, “Do this calculation”, etc.) keep your audience engaged, and encourage them to take part in polls and questions.

Do more webinars!

The more webinars you present, the more comfortable you will become with presenting to an invisible audience.

Source by Gihan Perera

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