When it comes to learning from webinars (I call them Live Online Learning — LOL Programs — to erase the boring baggage of the term webinar), content really is king or queen. This means that your slides are correct and that you choose a style and format that supports the learning objective and is suitable for the audience. Before creating your learning material, remember the learning objective.
Complete this statement from the public perspective:
After participating in this _______________ learning experience, I will know _____________; I will be able to _____________, ______________ and ______________; and I will feel _______________.
For example, here’s an excerpt from a webinar I offer as part of a larger personal brand experience:
After participating in this Superpowers learning experience, I will know why strengths are important for professional success; I will be able to describe my strengths, integrate my strengths into my daily work and make myself known by my strengths throughout the organization; and I will feel authorized.
Refer to this statement often as you go through the content preparation process. There are many different formats for LOL programs: presentation, Q&A, interactive discussion, interview, group discussion, etc. For this article, I am focusing on the presentation format.
With a clear learning goal, it’s time to create your content. Identify the 3 key elements of the presentation. For this example, these elements are:
1. Know your strengths
2. Integrate your strengths
3. Become known by your strengths
Create the outline.
Use the famous triptych of the Greek philosopher Aristotle: tell them what you are going to say. Say it. Tell them what you said. This The formula may be thousands of years old, but it’s just as powerful today. When you use this format, you add repetition to the content, which helps with memory. German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus has learned that repetition is one of the keys to memorization.
Then make more use of the psychological power of three in how you deliver your content in a brain-friendly manner. Marketers know that the power of three is a way to magnetize potential customers, and it’s an equally valuable tool for learning.
Make your presentation stand out.
Whenever possible, you want your learning materials to be as different from the standard PowerPoint presentations that your employees use in meetings. You need to break the habits associated with attending mundane meetings and differentiate the learning experience from the standard work sessions that fill most people’s calendars. The purpose of the slide presentation is to create visual interest, reinforce key messages, and amplify the grip factor of the live online learning program.
First, use the right presentation software. As a public speaker, I am a huge fan of Apple’s Keynote. It was designed to deliver speeches on big stages and is equally valuable for LOL programs. It has a lot of features that you won’t find in PowerPoint. And the animations and transitions are different from PowerPoint, which will make your material distinct from what learners are used to seeing in meetings, creating a less expected and more innovative experience, which acts as a force field. to keep participants engaged.
If you are proficient at creating PowerPoint slides, it will be easy to learn Keynote. Note that Keynote is an Apple product and Keynote presentations can only be created and presented from Apple products. The output, however, can be shared on virtually any webinar platform. Use a custom template for your organization or create a template that helps you deliver learning. If you don’t want to make your own template, you can choose from many templates available from Envato. There are other tools, like Prezi, that can help your training stand out as well.
Give up the distraction.
Presenting online is much more work than standing on a stage or in front of a classroom. Distraction is one of the biggest challenges of webinars. It’s very easy to multitask, and most of us think we’re good at juggling; yet only 2% of people actually have the skills to multitask effectively. When creating webinars, making them sticky is essential if you want your teaching to be effective. “Keep the participants glued” should be your mantra. One way to do this is to vary the content. Choose the items that will best help you achieve the learning goal, including:
- Statistic data
- Formulas / Models
Then mix them up to keep the participants’ attention. Fluctuate among the items you choose every two to three minutes.
Make it visual.
The purpose of your slides is to create visual interest, reinforce your message, and keep participants focused. It’s hard to do with bulleted lists. Instead, go over the pictures a lot. There are many free or low cost image resources that will help your presentation come to life. Pexels, Unsplash, iStockphoto, Shutterstock are some of my favorites. Words come from the most speaking Subject Matter Expert (SME), so the word limit on most slides should be 12 or less (try for less). And because so many learners participate on mobile devices, make a font of at least 32 points. It will seem a bit of a stretch when you create it, but I promise it will be perfect when delivered via Zoom, Microsoft Meet, or Google Hangout. It will also help you limit the number of words you can fit on a slide!
Make it move.
We all know the old adage: a picture is worth a thousand words. And we know from research by James McQuivey at Forrester that a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. Embedded video helps you vary the content, which helps with engagement. Also consider video without sound for visual interest and glue.
Another way to add movement is to use Keynote’s dynamic versions and transitions. Again, with things moving on the screen, you can reduce the temptation to multitask. Although sometimes due to the speed of the internet and some webinar technologies there is a delay in the way the slides build and progress, it is important to keep your slides dynamic. When presenting, be aware that there may be a delay in changing or building on the participants’ screen – this gives you a moment to pause between thoughts.
Another way to make my slides more dynamic is to use backgrounds that change over time. I call it moving wallpaper. You can do this with an animated gif or a video moving texture that sits behind the posts you include on the slides. Here is an example of blue background texture videos from iStockphoto.
A powerful way to make your presentation sticky is to maximize attendee interaction and social connection. Use polls, whiteboards, quizzes, dynamic word clouds, chat rooms, instant comments, position papers, Q&A (via chat and audio), and more. You can experiment with polling tools built into your webinar software or use other tools like Poll Everywhere and Kahoot. And hold on to the results until all participants have contributed so that the responses of some do not influence the responses of their peers.
Breathe in the emotion.
Stories are the most powerful way to add a dose of emotion to your presentation. And they will make what you share memorable. Whenever I meet someone who has attended one of my speeches, even though it was years ago, what they remember are the stories. I was sitting in the BA lounge at Heathrow waiting for a flight to New York and a woman approached me who had attended a presentation ten years earlier. The first thing she said was, “I’m telling everyone the story you told about the woman whose dog ate the heel of her unworn shoe.” She couldn’t remember my full name, but she knew the story almost word for word.
Don’t forget to have fun.
Think edutainment. Neuroscience tells us that you learn more (and are more interested in learning) when you’re having fun. One way to amplify the fun is to add an element of surprise, like a special guest, smart music video, bonus, contest, etc. Fun is so important to learning, I will give it its own article in this column.
I follow this process for every LOL program I create for my clients. In addition to making the programs more attractive and catchy, this system greatly facilitates their design and distribution.
Speaking of presenting the webinar, I’ll cover that in a future post as well. So stay tuned!
Guillaume Arruda is one of the founders of CareerBlast and co-creator of MakeBoost – a video-based personal brand talent development experience.