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Five presentation tips

When you host a webinar from home, there are quite a few things that can go wrong. This might leave an unprofessional impression. What are the secrets to successfully hosting a webinar from home? Our project manager Lobke Bijman provides five valuable tips.  

1. Be energetic and enthusiastic

“When people look at a screen, they are more likely to be distracted. Especially when they themselves are not visible on the screen. Then they start to check their mail or send messages on their phone. At a physical meeting people are less likely to do that because it is impolite. That’s why as a webinar presenter you have to do your best to keep the attention. Think of it as a performance. Your energy must pass through your screen to the audience. For example, you can do some push-ups beforehand to let your energy flow. Remember to stay ‘on’ during the webinar, for example by sitting upright. You can also keep the audience active by regularly (every 10 minutes) asking a poll question that is really relevant. When participants give their opinion, they feel more involved.”

2. Speak towards your camera

“It feels unnatural for many people to talk to a camera on a computer. After all, it’s above your screen, while you have people or a presentation in the picture. For your viewers it’s just very important that you really look at the camera. Consider how uncomfortable it is when a person doesn’t look at your eyes but at your mouth or just past you. It is the same for the camera. The audience keeps their attention when you look at them through the camera. This contributes to the power of your message. A trick is to place a brightly colored arrow next to your camera or dim the light from your screen. It is also wise to place your screen at eye level, so that you really seem to be talking to the viewer. Therefore, place some books under your laptop if necessary.”

3. No dirty laundry in the background

“A messy background, it just doesn’t come across as very professional. Therefore, think about the visible background beforehand. Our advice: a neutral wall and a plant or poster. The laundry, an unmade bed or a noisy living room: stay away from it.”

4. Lighting is key

“It is annoying for viewers if your image in the picture is very dark, or even worse, half-dark / half-light. For example, when there’s a window at your side. Or when the light changes during the broadcast. This is especially a problem in the evening at dusk. Therefore, make sure that the light falls on your face. Our advice: make sure the light shines from behind your laptop. You can do this by sitting in front of a window with daylight. In the evening, or in a room with no place near the window, you can put a desk lamp behind your laptop. These are simple adjustments that really increases your webinar’s quality.”

5. Say what you want to say

“Don’t beat around the bush. Tell your story and don’t waste time with unnecessary phrases like “I’m going to tell you something about …” or “I hope you hear me”. You’ll lose attention. Start right away, with a good icebreaker, tell what the webinar is about and introduce yourself. You want to prevent people using their phones.”