Thursday, October 23, 2008

Webinar Presentation Tips for Nonprofits and Other Folks

I'm teaching my first webinar for a client in a couple weeks. Wahoo! I've been doing some research on how to present a successful webinar, and thought I'd share what I've learned.

For folks who are unfamiliar with webinars, they are online classes where participants watch the speaker's presentation on the web, while listening to it via their phone. NTEN, Idealware, and TechSoup host webinars that will answer many of your burning nonprofit and technology questions!

I'd like to see more nonprofits using webinars to engage supporters and potential supporters. They could be a fun way to do trainings for volunteers, fundraiser table captains, house party hosts, and concerned citizens who want to learn more about the issues you are working on.

Below are the webinar presenting tips I found. They aren't that different than best practices for face-to-face presenting . . . I hope you'll share your tips too.

1. Write the script, then create the PowerPoint. Check out Seth Godin's post Really Bad Powerpoint, Guy Kawasaki's the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint, and Presentation Zen's What is good PowerPoint Design? for ideas.

2. Run a practice webinar to work out any technical glitches.

3. Arrive early so you can welcome folks. Your first slide should let people know that the meeting will be starting shortly.

4. Review guidelines, like how people can participate (i.e. chat, raise hands), and how to mute phones.

5. Build rapport by posting your photo while you introduce yourself. If it is a small group, encourage people to make short introductions.

6. Get everyone's attention in the beginning: tell a story, provide a statistic, read a quote, or show a shocking image.

7. Provide a clear outline of everything you are going to cover, and what your learning objectives are.

8. Keep the session interactive by providing places for people to ask and answer questions throughout the presentation whether by virtually raising their hands, chatting online, or having a discussion over the phone.

9. If you know them, use people's names, and include them in examples when appropriate.

10. Share information in short segments.

11. Speak slowly and clearly. Pause frequently to allow people time to absorb the information.

12. Leave plenty of time for questions at the end.

Tips: Writing and Planning a Webinar on Quinn Creative
Webinar Hosting: 10 Tips on Hosting a Successful Webinar on Charlwood eMarketing
Professional Development and Corporate Training: The Webinar Weakness on E-Learning Queen.
What To Cover When You Teach A Webinar? on Online Webinars
Seven and Seven: Tips for Running Effective Webinars on Chief Marketer
Running Effective Online Trainings on TechSoup

Flickr photo credit: They just asked about twitter . . . uploaded by Beth Kanter
Cross-posted from NetSquared.


  1. Anonymous5:15 AM

    I checked out Guy Kawasaki's article from your link, and I just can't believe that every Power Point should only be 10 slides. Do you think he's only talking about business proposals?

    Thanks for posting the Webinar tips.


  2. I definitely want to try webinars with my organization. will you share some of the service providers that are available for this?

    Thanks for this post!

  3. Hi Beth - My guess is he is talking about business proposals, but perhaps the idea is that your ppt should be illustrating your presentation, not be your presentation (you know when people just read off of their ppt). A cool place to check out ppts is

    Abby - Because I haven't done a webinar, I can't recommend one product over another, but here are a few to check out:


    Mashable also has a list of 12 Tools for Kickass Web Meetings:

  4. I prefer to use GoToWebinar for most of our webinars. We've been using it internally for several years now and have managed about 1000 webinars.

    They've recently introduced some new features that have made using it so much more effective and easy to use. More here:

    A license of gotowebinar also includes a licenses of their popular GoToMeeting - which we use for quick desktop sharing sessions.

    The webinar service allows for up to 1000 attendees, provides a choice for users to listen over their computer speakers, use a VOIP (Voice Over IP) headset or to call in on their telephone.

    All for $99 a month!

  5. Thanks for all of that info, Ryan!

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