Tag Archive for: presentation

Webinar lessons from my annual webinars

Mastering the technology for my first webinar in 2014 was hell, as I have shared in “Tech tips for your educational webinar—learn from my experience.” Things have gotten easier since then, especially because I’ve stuck with GoToWebinar, but things can still go wrong. If you’re an infrequent webinar presenter like me, you can learn from my experience presenting my annual investment commentary webinar.

Lesson 1. Stick with the same software

There may be webinar software that’s better or cheaper than GoToWebinar. But over four years of annual webinars, I’ve learned how to manage its basics. Also, the branding and some other settings that I’ve established in past years carry over from year to year. That saves me time.

You may think that all webinar software functions basically the same. My 2014 experience shifting to GoToWebinar from an awful low-cost provider suggests that’s not true. However, I only have experience with two providers.

Lesson 2. Plan to practice early and often

Things will go wrong with your webinar software. At least, that’s true in my experience. So run practice sessions—including sessions with simulated viewers (and co-organizers, if relevant).

In my experience, moving the cursor is often a source of problems. So, manipulate it a lot. Sabotage yourself, and then practice recovering. Then, if something goes wrong in your live presentation, you’ll recover more rapidly.

By the way, if you’re only moving from slide to slide, you may be able to skip moving your cursor because you can advance slides using an arrow key. However, this means you’re not using tools like polls or highlighters. Nor are you reviewing and managing participant questions or comments. By not using those tools, you lose opportunities to engage your audience. That may hurt the effectiveness of your webinar.

If you uncover problems early enough, you can work with the webinar provider to find a solution that minimizes them. Through multiple exchanges—on the telephone and in the online support community—this year I found a less trouble-prone way to advance my slides.

Lesson 3. Be aware that software may change from year to year

Software changes. There may be “improvements” or the software may change to accommodate new operating systems, like Windows 10.

For example, I believe that, back in 2014, the lines that I drew using GoToWebinar’s drawing tool disappeared when I clicked to the next page. That was convenient. But now I have to erase those lines. That’s an extra step that slows me down so I’ve stopped using the drawing tool.

In short, you assume at your own risk that what works one year will work again the next year.

Lesson 4. The experience of your helpers matters

I’m lucky to have worked with some wonderful helpers on my webinars. One of my helpers had lots more experience in webinar presentations and technology than the others. Her experience made my experience more relaxing.

I highly recommend using helpers to manage your introduction, Q&A, and behind-the-scenes logistics. They’ll improve the experience for you and your audience. However, if you’re a worrywart like me, you’ll also do some practice sessions in which you play all of the roles. In a pinch, I could have introduced myself, launched my polls, and handled technical problems and Q&A on my own. Sure, I would have felt like an anxious mess. But I could have blundered my way through the presentation.

Consider these lessons to give yourself and your audience a better webinar experience.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

The Six Keys to Confident Presenting

Beverly Flaxington knows the investment and financial advice industry and she knows how clients and prospects think. I still remember how her explanation of personality types riveted the audience at a Boston Security Analysts Society presentation that I organized. I’m delighted to feature her advice below.

The Six Keys to Confident Presenting

By Beverly D. Flaxington


There are many very smart people in the investment business. It takes a lot of dedication, intelligence and discipline to obtain a CFA, or CFP or other investment industry
designation. Unfortunately when it comes to delivering the knowledge to others, many very smart people are sorely lacking in their ability to communicate effectively.

As a college professor I watch students struggle with this, and as a consultant and coach to the investment industry I watch advisors and portfolio managers, among others, struggle with this daily. It’s important to know how to communicate, and how to present because excellent information can get lost on the audience.

There are six keys to confident presenting to think about before the next presentation of any type, to one person or to many, you need to make:

(1)    Know why. Think about what you want as an outcome. Why are you delivering this material? Don’t just focus on content, think about purpose.

(2)    Know who. What is the make-up of your audience? What do they already know about what you are presenting? If you can research before the presentation, it’s great but even during the presentation ask for a show of hands of how many people know certain information. Or go around the room and ask what people know, and what they want to learn.

(3)    Create flow. This means chunking the information down. Have sections, or groups of material. Too many times a presentation is a mish-mash of all kinds of data, charts and background information. Look at your information for themes and categories.

(4)    Provide context. Adult-learning principles tell us that adults learn best when they can interpret information through a lens that they understand and recognize. Show the audience why they should care and the “so what?” about the material Don’t ask them to figure it out, make the link for them.

(5)    Understand your style of communication and that of your audience. Talk fast but your audience is more slow and thoughtful? Modify, and match to your audience.

(6)    Provide closure. What do you want the audience to do as a result of your presentation? What’s next from the meeting? What is the follow-up? State it. Get commitments.

Review your next communication in light of the six steps and see if there is anywhere you can improve for greater success.

Beverly is co-founder of The Collaborative and Advisors Trusted Advisor, consulting businesses devoted to the financial services industry. She is a human behavior expert, a college professor, an award winning and bestselling author and investment industry expert.