A good speaker can either make or break your webinar. They can either push your webinar over the edge making it an interactive, exciting and informative presentation or they can bore the audience, ultimately driving them to be less engaged with the broadcast. It’s important to put some thought towards selecting a webinar presenter.
One aspect that doesn’t need consideration when selecting a webinar presenter is their practical computer knowledge and skill. Here at Xtalks, aid every presenter so they execute a smooth webinar. Additionally, you don’t need to limit your speaker selection by geographic location, as webinars can run globally – your office could be in California, but your speaker could be presenting from Sydney, Australia, while your audience is in Asia.
Keeping reading to find out what you should look for in a strong speaker.
The first and most obvious criterion when selecting a webinar presenter is, speaking experience. Previous experience could entail speaking at a conference, podcast, a lecture or even at a meeting. Ensure that you (or a colleague) has seen them present, heard them present or at the very least they come with a highly regarded referral.
Having previous presentation or hosting experience will be evident during the webinar. An experienced speaker will typically come across as more confident, less scripted and more comfortable, thus keeping the audience members more engaged throughout the webinar.
This also means that the presenter has previous experience constructing or aiding in developing a slide deck or presentation, which is also a key component for successful webinars. It’s critical that not just the speaker is engaging, but the presentation slides are as well. Having too much or too little text/images can alter the audience’s impression of the live webinar. For more information, check out these previous blog articles to learn how to create an effective webinar slide deck and some PowerPoint design tips.
You should always be looking for someone who is an expert in the webinar topic. Selecting an expert will not only add credibility to the live webinar, but will draw more people to register and attend the event. Someone who is an expert in a particular topic typically also has a sense of passion for the topic as well. This will be just as important to engage the audience during the presentation. Selecting a presenter who is passionate and experienced with the webinar topic will not only engage the audience throughout, but ensure a smooth question and answer session at the end. Along with expertise, it’s always important to incorporate some third party knowledge as well. We recommend also selecting one speaker outside the realm of the company for added credibility during your webinar.
Since webinars are live events, and need to start and end on time, it is imperative that your speaker has strong time management skills. They will need to manage their time throughout the live webinar, to ensure they have time for all the slides as planned, and if they find they are proceeding too slowly through the presentation, they’ll need to be flexible enough to ensure that there is ample time for the question and answer section of the webinar.
Most companies are eager to acquire the biggest influencers or speakers in the industry for live webinars. However, this might not always be easiest task – considering these individuals have very busy time tables. Webinar presenters need to be available for: pre-webinar session(s), the live webinar and sometimes a post-webinar session. All these meetings, while typically short in length, are vital in ensuring a smooth live broadcast. Additionally, you’ll want a speaker who is able to dedicate some time towards creating the content of the webinar, and perhaps running through a few practice sessions.
So far, we know that a potential speaker should have some previous presentation experience, should be an expert in the topic, should have good time management skills and should be available through the duration leading up to the live broadcast (and possibly after). It is equally as important for a speaker to be able to adapt to any situation.
When it comes to the question and answer session – questions are asked live on air, so it’s important that presenters are able to answer or divert unexpected questions. (Click here to read some tips and tricks for a great Q&A session).
Also, Xtalks webinars have options to include live polling questions, product demos, handouts and other variations of webinar formats that would require the speaker to adapt their presentation or slide shows. For example, let’s say the speaker launches a poll question expecting a certain answer from the audience – if the answer is different, it may be beneficial to your webinar if they are able to think on their feet and address any unexpected outcomes.
Going Beyond the Webinar
Lastly, a key attribute that most companies forget to consider is selecting a presenter who is not just willing but keen on getting involved beyond the webinar. This would include: providing contact information to the audience (so the audience can follow up or ask further questions after the webinar, or while watching the recorded version) and even promoting the webinar through their social platforms, and to their own network of colleagues and contacts.
While Xtalks takes pride in executing all forms of marketing for live webinars, it’s always great to have a speaker who is equally as excited. If a speaker is willing to leverage their contacts and social network, it’s always an added bonus!
After selecting your webinar speaker (or speakers), you’re ready to move on to the next step of the webinar planning process, leaving you one step closer to connecting with your audience! If your company is thinking about running a webinar, or have any questions about the webinar process, contact us or check out or sponsorship opportunities.