As the old adage goes: practice makes perfect. Keep that in mind when preparing to do your first webinar, says Ellie Mirman, head of small and mid-size business marketing at Hubspot, a marketing software company based in Cambridge, Mass.
"Preparation and practice are some of the most basic elements to having an engaging webinar," Mirman says. "With the right tools, [a webinar] can turn into a great lead generator."
As a financial advisor, you probably have some experience in putting together an effective presentation. Mirman offers the following suggestions to help you focus that knowledge toward your first webinar:
> Add a voice
Consider having more than one voice in your webinar, to keep the presentation moving along. You might position yourself as the subject expert, Mirman says, with a moderator to turn the presentation into a discussion rather than a monologue.
Having another person participate in the webinar with you can help calm your nerves — especially considering that you will be presenting to a live audience. Another voice reduces the feeling that you are having a conversation with yourself. And the audience will likely be more engaged by a dialogue than what might sound like a lecture.
> Expect the unexpected
As Murphy's Law states: "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong."
Indeed, technical "gremlins" do seem to rear their heads at the most inopportune times.
To minimize glitches, verify that you have a good phone line and Internet connection. Consider having a backup laptop computer loaded and ready in case of last-minute troubles.
Have a glass of water nearby — because you are likely to get parched from talking so much.
> Stay focused
When you are practicing for your digital debut, Mirman says, you should, like any performer or athlete, enter with the proper mindset. That means blocking out any distractions and focusing solely on the task at hand.
With everyone plugged in, one of the initial fears to overcome is the absence of an audience to give you that reassuring feedback. Remember: you are well prepared and you followed the proper steps to have good, interactive content. It's time to bring it all to life.
> Listen back
Once you have done a few practice run-throughs, listen back to your webinar. Look for obvious flaws and make the necessary adjustments. This is part of the learning process.
Some of the most common shortcomings of webinar rookies, Mirman says, is that they don't realize they need to turn up the energy levels in their voices in order to compensate for the loss of body language. Another common error is in pacing — usually speaking too quickly because of the added adrenaline.
"It can be a bit painful to listen to yourself," Mirman says. "But it is incredibly valuable because you realize things that in the actual moment are hard to notice."
This is the second article in an occasional series on how to develop your own webinar. Next: The call to action — how to market your webinar.