Tuesday, 8 March 2011

5 Tips for Speakers on Webinars

Speaking on a webinar is not the same as speaking to a roomful of people. Here are our top five tips for speakers to ensure their webinar runs smoothly:

  1. For even the most experienced of speakers, webinars can take some getting used to. Take the time to attend a practice session and play around with the webinar platform. You’ll feel much more comfortable on the day. There may be a delay between when you see your slide move forward, and when your audience does. Try to get a feel for this lag in your practice session, and factor it in to your delivery.
  2. If you have time to read the user guide for your webinar’s platform, then great. If not, make sure you know how to mute yourself quickly at the very least - remember you will be on open line to listeners for the duration of the session.
  3. Your audience will be in listen-only mode. This means they can hear you, but you can’t hear them. If you think you might find the silence deafening, ask at least one quiet attendee if they can leave their microphone unmuted. Being aware of someone else “in the room” can help it feel less like you’re talking to yourself.
  4. Prior to the actual presentation, warm up your voice by talking to someone else one-to-one for a bit - even if it’s just your cat. Remember, it’s all about the voice with webinars. Try using facial expressions as if you were speaking to someone face to face. You may feel silly, but it can help to keep your energy levels high.
  5. Ask for the registration list before the webinar to see where people are dialing in from. It’s not always possible to cater your content to the situation in every country of course, but it helps to at least be aware of where your listeners will be dialling in from. Webinars cross all country borders, and as professional linguists, we're used to straddling a minimum of two cultures.
Finally, Eve Bodeux has a great list of tips for speakers on webinars on her website - check out her back-up tips in particular.


  1. Thank you, Sarah, for those tips - I particularly like # 2 and # 5. And, #4 too - I try do that, because people often ask me, "Oh, were you napping?" just because I have not been speaking to anyone (freelancing can be a solitary activity!), so always try to speak at least a little out loud before starting a webinar or important phone conversation.

    Thank you as well for linking to my tips for giving webinars as well!