Best Practices for
Preparing Online Presentations
Takeaway notes from a Citrix
Online webinar. By Aliza Bornstein, copywriter,
Jeanne Hopkins of MarketingSherpa presented a
step-by-step how-to on creating and executing
webinars on June 17.
Webinars are great!
They help position you as an expert in your field
and your company as a thought leader. They also put
a face on your brand, provide a cohesive method of
providing content, and can be re-purposed (once
you’ve created the webinar you can continue to
publicize through a variety of media tools).
A webinar is not a meeting
You don’t go into a little conference room and look
at the other people across the table from you. You
completely lose those body language cues and you’re
actually staring at a screen. Therefore, you need to
grab your invisible audience’s attention.
Know your venue
Just by moving your presentation online you are
changing your venue. Like any other change of venue,
you should go into the space ahead of time, look at
the configuration of the room, examine the type of
equipment that’s already there, what more is needed,
and understand the logistics to make your
presentation more meaningful.
Content is key. When you’re delivering a webinar and
lose some of those visual cues and personality you
might bring to a face-to-face presentation, you need
to create the content that’s going to allow you to
have an engaging experience with your attendees.
To do an online seminar or webinar the timeline is
much more compressed than doing an offline event
(like a conference).
1.) Shorten your marketing cycle. The decision cycle
to attend an online seminar is compressed—made much
closer to the event than for offline events.
2.) Shorten the webinar. You can’t expect to keep
online seminar attendees for much longer than 45
minutes. 30-40 minutes in an optimal length, any
longer and your attendees get tired or bored.
3.) Mention your webinar everywhere. You’ll pick up
additional attendees if you have sign-up forms at
your site’s homepage. Add it to your social
networking sites, tell friends and co-workers,
publicize it in e-newsletters—anything to get the
Webinar timeline: A planning schedule
8 weeks prior: Identify your topic and pinpoint
6-8 weeks prior: Select speakers; assign
roles/topics; select vendor(s); delegate technical
tasks; design customer elements.
6 weeks prior: The promotion begins. Start ads and
media alerts; registration page launched and tested;
2-4 weeks prior: Send the first email blast to
existing contacts and new mailing lists; promotion
campaigns containing online ads/banners; have your
co-workers spread the word!
1 week prior: Email reminder; test run (check for
snags and tweak timing).
2-3 days prior: Email reminder with computer
compatibility check included.
1 day prior: Conduct a full dry run with speakers.
1 hour prior: Email reminder with archive
information and repeat previous reminder checks.
1 hour after webinar: Email a thank you to your
attendees with recording information available.
1 week after webinar: Analyze your success—compare
to your goals; plan your next webinar (bigger and
It’s your event. Choose the tools and options you
want to use during your webinar (polls; surveys;
voting; feedback (verbal/written); drawing tools;
Use two to three monitors or laptops; one to run the
event, see the attendees, statistics, and answer
questions. Use the other to see what the attendees
are seeing; they may be seeing something on the
screen you’re not aware of, like the wrong slide.
Have a back-up person to remind you to record the
webinar; help with technical issues; and respond to
1. Go to the bathroom 15 minutes before the webinar
2. Put a sign on your door to alert colleagues you
are busy and unattainable—then lock the door!
3. Have a glass of water handy.
4. Print out the presentation notes for safety, but
do not staple them together.
5. Make sure everything is plugged in and works.
6. Breathe deeply.
---Source: Citrix Online June 17,
2009 webinar (www.citrixonline.com). Jeanne Hopkins
is the Chief Marketing Officer for MarketingSherpa.
Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org