Webinar Bootcamp: Proven Steps to Success

In this discussion with James Hilliard of Hilly Productions, we discuss webinars, and some tips that you might use to think about webinars a bit differently and make them more effective.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          I want to welcome everybody to today’s event and as you’ve been hearing, we’re talking about webinars, which is one of my favorite topics. So just to remind you I’m Sharon Fitzpatrick, the editor of PresentationXpert. And with me is James Hilliard, from Hilly Productions, who’s done a lot of webinars. We’ve enjoyed getting to know each other and learning about the different philosophies and stuff we have about webinars, and I know he’s got some great content for you as well. Want to thank Citrix for being our sponsor for today, we’re really excited to have them on board. And we’re using Citrix platform today so you can try it for free for 30 days, all on your own. Join us, stay connected, we’re on Twitter, we’re everywhere. You can also, if you decide you want to share this with someone after the fact, you can find it on YouTube or our website. So at this time, what I’d like to do is turn it over to James.

Bootcamp for Webinars

James Hilliard:  Hey thanks Sharon and what I want to do right out of the gate here, Webinar Bootcamp, I want to kind of define what that is, what it means to me, and kind of give us a mindset so we can think about today’s presentation. A bootcamp. Typically, if you’re exercising, those boot camps are ways to kind of shock your system, do things a little bit differently. And so that’s the mindset that I had what I put this presentation together. So whether you’re someone that’s just getting started with webinars or whether you’ve done a ton, think you’re going to be able to take ideas throughout all this. I say these are proven steps to success because I’ve tried them all, they’ve all worked. Will they work for you? I think they most likely will but what it always takes, any time you’re putting these types of presentations together, is a little experimentation. With this audience today, this is a much more community-based group. So based on that, will do things a little bit differently, we’ll make some adjustments.

If I was doing this at another outlet, some other group that had a different focus, maybe less of a community focus, then I might do things a little bit differently, right? Experiment and trying to really hit the audience. Fast and furious ideas and tips as we go through and that we do have some handouts which I’ll talk about in a little bit which are really geared towards doing your extra work at home. Yeah, you go to the gym to work out but you should be doing a little bit extra outside of the gym as well, so that’s the idea behind those handouts.

What I love from all of you right now is touching your computer. Doug, calling out to you, Judith. And just let me know many webinars have you produced, coordinated, been the lead on whatever language you want to use their want to get an idea of how many of you have really done these. Miguel, zero. Right, so you’ve attended a lot as we heard, you and Sharon know each other through this platform and these platforms that haven’t done any. Owen, zero. Ray, hundreds. Awesome. Teresa, six or so. Gretchen, four. Brian you’re in the hundred-plus club as well. Pretty cool. I’m going to let more of you type on and we’ll come back to a few more or those here in a bit to see how many you have done.

As you’re continuing to let me know that, I want to let you know that our goal is to talk about and give you an idea of getting away from 60 minutes and moving towards 30 minutes with maybe some 15 minutes of Q&A. Now today, we’re probably use a majority of the hour but I’m going to share with you how to move towards 30 minutes. We’re going to talk about those handouts, you can download them now. They’re really useful to again, continue experimenting and practicing after this event is over. You can ask any questions any time which I really do encourage. Sharyn’s going to be along to continue to move some of those in. We’ll have a couple section breaks and that’s where Sharyn’s definitely gonna jump in with some of the questions that she’ll be watching from all of you. And a couple polls that we’re going to be popping out to you as well, those are coming a bit later in the presentation.

Camille, you designed and deliver some of these events, which is awesome. Linda, you’ve done about 10. Dozen says Karl. A few dozen says Gary out there. Five to six from Audrey. So we’ve got a range, we’ve got some in the hundreds, some kind of just getting started and in the few. I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of approximately 3,000. Haven’t done the official audit but doing about 200 a year for 14 plus years and some years were bigger and more, about 3,000 and I enjoy this as a medium. And I want to start, as I dive into a little bit of the content, kind of flip the script a little bit. Oftentimes you might go to a webinar and someone will make an argument for a whole bunch of things and then at the very end they say, “Hey, here’s my key takeaway.” Well my key takeaway, I’d like to surface right at the beginning for all of you. And it’s, have a plan. It goes back to the bootcamp idea. You might start a bootcamp, you might start an exercise program, you might start jogging because we’ve just come out of holidays and we ate a little too much so we want to trim down a little bit.

We might have gone to the doctor and said, “Hey James, cholesterol, a little high, let’s get some more exercise so that we can lower that.” Whatever reason when one starts usually some type of exercise, you have an end goal, you have a reason to be doing it. I suggest that a lot of teams are missing that reason, that why, to do a webinar and so I really want teams to focus on that. And one of the big key kind of why’s that I suggest two teams is webinars, as I said a bit earlier during our icebreaker, great to have a communication and share information with audiences. But also a great opportunity to listen to audiences and hear what they are saying.

And so I think there’s a ton of content that gets created in a webinar. And a lot of teams just don’t do anything with that. They think the end game is just get through the webinar just present it and then they’re done with it. I suggest there’s so much material you can mine from these events. One of the things I love doing is transcripts of these for my customers. Rev.com calm is one of the places you can do them yourself as well. If you get a transcript of a sudden you’ve got a ton of content that you can now start using on your blogs, Twitter, infographics. The items on the right, those are some highlights from my website. Just little cut downs, two and a half, three minute spotlights of some content that happened on a live webinar. Little voiceover says, Hey, on a recent webinar Sharyn talked about this.” And then there’s a clip of Sharyn sharing some great info. And then that little voiceover, “Hey, if you liked what Sharyn said, she also talked about X and Y, go listen to the archive.

Much more dynamic than the typical reminder emails that say, “Hey sorry, we missed your event, you didn’t come out, here’s the link.” So keep your eyes on the endgame, why are you doing these events, what is your end goal? I think a lot of teams don’t think about that so I think you should.  [inaudible] segments and we’re going to break it down this way, we’re going to structure, talk about ten minutes or so kind of the timing of events. We’re going to talk about setting up for success, that’s going to be the more technical, it’s going to be talking about audio, lighting, video usage that type of thing. And then we’ll talk about some engagement with your [inaudible] just going to jump on in and facilitate some of the questions that are coming in from all of you out there. So really appreciate all you being on board here.

I’m going to go ahead and kill the webcam so we can focus on some of the slide content in those right now, we’ll probably bring it back on during the final Q&A session. Let me turn that off right now and talk about timing. I mentioned earlier that one of the things that I believe is that we need to have these shorter. And it’s not just me thinking that. I got this email earlier this year just about two months or so ago. Major PC manufacturer. And in their email they said, Hey, IT decision-makers,” and I work with a lot of technology and IT firms. They’ve got busy schedules. We see our webinars are not getting as many people and they’re too long. So what can we do about it? And I was just smiling ear to ear. I was thrilled to give this email because it played into an idea I’ve been sharing with a lot of team that we need to start thinking about 30 minutes for webinars. Are you getting to there overnight? probably not. If we start working out in the boot camp we don’t go from a size 36 waist to a 32 overnight, go from a 14 to a 10 overnight, it’s a process. So I’m going to share with you some ideas on how you might start trimming and cutting your content down in terms of time here.

30 Minute Webinars

Look at your calendar. Probably 30 minute meetings all over the place, might have an hour here or there, but most likely 30 minute meetings. It’s that type of world we live, we live in a Twitter world, 140 characters to try and get a message out. These are the types of things that if we think about our lives, now let’s start thinking about our audience. Our audience has these shorter time frames as well. You may have seen a Microsoft commercial, not a Microsoft commercial, Microsoft was behind some of the survey data that was used but it’s a television commercial out there and a young lady’s driving and she starts singing and all of a sudden she disappears into her mind and she’s on stage and everything. And the whole premise is that then the car can be taking over and break for her and keep her safe.

It goes to this idea, it came from a Microsoft survey, looked at content consumption by consumers between the years 2000 and 2015 with all this digital media and content that we have coming at us. Our 12 second attention span back in 2000 is now an eight second attention span in 2015. One second smaller of an attention span than goldfish. Apparently goldfish have attention spans of nine seconds. Who knew? Who did the research? I’m not quite sure but the bottom line is we want to try and get to content sooner and faster for audiences. So let me give you an example or two of how we can do that.

My argument is that we should be shorter. One way that all of you immediately could cut time out of your events is cut out, if you haven’t already, i-charts like this one. Well, I know it’s hard to read on the screen but I’m going to read it to you anyway. If you’re in Scottsdale you want to get on the 51 and go south towards Phoenix and then… These i-charts, how many of you, you can actually raise your hand, we got the raise your hand function enabled on the GoToWebinar tool today, you can raise your hand. How many times have you been on an event where someone brings up a very busy slide and says, “Hey, I know this is hard to see but I’m just going to read it to you and waste your time anyway.” Lauren, Ann out there, Tammy, I think you were the first ones throw your hand up. We’ve got like 30% of the audience almost now, Clinton raising your hand, Julie out there, right? People do that.

If you’ve done it, knock that off. That’s not what a webinar is for. Maybe that’s a one on one demo. Maybe that’s a phone call with your customer. But not in an environment like that so that’s one way that you could shorten a lot of content. Or use some handouts, I’m going to kind of demonstrate that at the end of this section in talking about several the handouts that I have, which are the real tactical tips I think you can use when you walk away from this event. So cool, thank you for raising your hands on that, we’ll do that one or two other times throughout the presentation here.

Let me show you just a couple of real simple examples, these are oversimplified. But when we’re trying to deliver content to our audience we want to give it to them in a manner that they are used to. In the left-hand side A is a problem. B is kind of a solution to that problem. And C, this is how your world is now, this is the benefit, this is the end game, It’s a very simple way of sharing content in a world where we’re bombarded with so much content. We have these short attention spans, why not go with a very simple easy formula to share your story. That’s one option on the right hand side, those chevron’s is just another repeatable way of structuring content. Main point number one, then maybe give a little example, and then share a story. Then main point number two, examples, story, and then so on. And what you’re building is a repeatable pattern that your attendees start saying, “Oh yeah, I know that pattern. “Okay, I’m going to hear… He just gave me a main point, I’m going to hear an example now. Now I’m going to hear that little story.” It’s just a very repeatable easy way to deliver content. So those are ways that you can shorten and start editing your content.

We are humans, creatures of habit. We remember things in patterns. In the Q&A, tell me whose phone number this is? Do not, please, please, please, please don’t go to Google and don’t put this in there. This is from your own memory, whose phone number is on the screen? I will come back later on, Teresa you’re right, but I will come back later on and share whose phone number that is. The reason I put this in here is I bet you could also, you can do your own little experiment right now, think about your home phone number when you were growing up as a kid. It’s the same little seven digit pattern I bet many of you can remember it. Clinton you’re right, it is a song, think about it it will come to your mind. And I promise Clinton, I’ll tell you at the end of the event if you don’t remember who it is, I’ll tell you who it is so if you’re not suffering the rest of the day trying to wonder what’s going on there. Repeatable patterns, that’s the general idea that I’m sharing here.

In terms of, I said that you want to try and move towards 30. A lot of us do 60 minute events, you can’t just one day do a 30 minute event. It’s going to be hard so you might want to start chunking your content. Maybe you do a two part series, share part of the content on one event, share part on another. Another thing I’ll share, if any of you happen to do technical content. I run into a lot of teams that try and talk to technical people as well as business people in the very same event. That’s going to need to be like a 60-minute event, that’s two conversations you’re trying to have at once. My suggestion, how about two different conversations? How about a 30-minute technical conversation and then at the end of that saying hey technical audience I’ve got some business ideas to share with your business partners there will be much more focused kind of on the language and the challenges they face. Share this with them have them register for the business conversation it’s only gonna be 30 or 40 minutes of their time, and then you’ll both have heard content related to a main subject but really geared towards your individual audiences. IT maybe and business, and then you can have a better conversation offline about this new technology while user what have you.

So the idea of doing things in segments, ongoing conversations, those types of things are ways you can start shortening things down. Now it does take some work. I pulled this quote, many of you maybe have seen a quote like this before attributed to Churchill, other heads of state. I pulled it from an old book about public speaking back from 1915. The gist of it here is, if you ask someone to do say a little ten minute speech, takes a little editing. If you’re doing a presentation, all of you right, we’re here with PresentationXpert, you understand that it takes a lot to trim down and create a really concise presentation. So if you need to do a 10 minute deal, it’s going to take you a while to put that together. If you want to do a half hour presentation, and you’re starting already at an hour, you’re gonna have to whittle and edit and cut some things down.

If you want to do, like me, if I want to talk for three hours about webinars right now, Sharyn and I could easily do that, that’s what we do, we love this stuff. So it takes effort to cut things down. But if you do, I suggest you’re going to get to the real key nuggets that are of interest to your audience, it’s going to benefit you, it’s going to benefit them as well, they’re not going to feel like any time was wasted when they finally do join you. This is almost the very end of section one, there are other items that go into your timing and it goes into the idea of preparing your content, promoting your content, things of that nature that all go into a successful webinar program. The GoToWebinar organizer checklist that you can download from the handout section, that is really tied to some of the things I’ve just talked about. It’s a great I think just two page guide that walks you through all the little steps that you could be doing four to six weeks before an event, two weeks before an event, hours before, minutes before, et cetera.

The dry run conversations, that’s really going to tie towards the next section that we’re going to get into. It’s a bit of a checklist that I’ve created and there’s some of the conversations I like to have with teams about a week or so before we do a live event and then the five steps to moderating a webinar is something that I wrote for Citrix and GoToWebinar about two years ago, still really relevant I believe and it’s going to tie really to the third section the idea about engagement and if you find yourself in a moderator roll, some of the things you can do. So those I would love to have you [inaudible] would be a little more technical, be set up for success. Love to toss it back to Sharyn and see if there are any questions or comments again we’ll share that song later, but if there are any other questions or comments or anything Sharyn you want to add here on the timing ideas I’ve talked about.

Webcams During Webinars

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Actually Jim just came up with a question asking what was the strategy to turn off the Webcam? Isn’t visual variety really important in a webinar? I think that’s a great question.

James Hilliard:  It can be and there are many different ways to use webcam. Some folks keep the webcam on the entire time that they do a presentation. There are certain presentations that I do, Jim, where I do keep it on there. In here we chose, start at the beginning, little bit of in the engagement, cut it back down. Especially because I’m going to be doing, as is a little bit different from these PresentationXpert webcasts that Sharyn often hosts. A little more of a back seat today from Sharyn in terms of allowing me to get through the contents in a very short period of time instead of just having her there kind of as a bobble head, just listening and nodding around or anything like that we chose to cut those down there was less distraction there on that.

I also talked to a lot of teams, Jim, that are just getting started with webcams. I think it’s a really great way to start by starting small. A lot of people don’t like to be on camera. I used to be on video and do some television, news reports and things like that so I’m very comfortable with it and enjoy doing that. I know Sharyn is as well. There are teams, Jim, that aren’t, so it’s a demonstration of start small, use the tool effectively and then move on. But definitely you can experiment and if your audience is calling for, “Hey, we want that video all the time, it’s something you can absolutely work on. And Clinton, the handouts should be on the GoToWebinar tool on the right hand side of your dashboard, should have a handout section to download those, Ed’s work with some of you all those as well. Anything else that you saw there Sharyn.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          No, everything is pretty quiet I’m going to turn it back to you.

Webinars – Setting Up for Success

James Hilliard:  All right, well let’s talk about setting up for success. A team is a great thing to have Sharyn on board, me, Ed working on some tech questions on the back end, I’ve got one of colleagues from Citrix joining in watching as well learning, she and I are going to be… Actually she’s going to make an appearance later on the presentation, she might not know that but a colleague Erica is with us, she’s going to make a special appearance later, so get ready for that Erica. Bottom line, I hope, I would wish all of you could have a team this big. Raise your hand again if you have a team this big. Odds are you don’t, you probably have a team of one, maybe two, maybe three or four. A lot of you are probably going to find yourselves out there doing your own type of events. Whatever your team is, if you do have a team, it’s great to get together. Sharyn and I today, we’re talking about some execution ideas, we’ve spoken in the past, so we know what we’re going to do. Ray, you would love to have one or two to help out, yep I bet you would. I would as well, it’s great when I have someone like Sharyn on board. But oftentimes, many of us are going to find we’re doing things by ourselves.

And so I’m going to share with you through the section a couple things that you can do to set up, make things easy for yourself so you could execute an event as a solo or maybe two folks out there. If you’re lucky enough to have a big team, and I saw a few people raise their hands, you want to make sure everyone’s involved. Does your sales team know that you’re doing a marketing webinar? And if they do know, do they have access to those handouts? So that when someone, a potential client, emails their sales rep and says, Hey, just watched that webinar bootcamp thing, you got those handouts?” Your sales person doesn’t say, “What bootcamp and what handouts?” So make sure as many people know about the event as possible.

Locations are important. This is actually a pretty recent picture of the location I’m in right now. I’ve got some lighting, I’ve got microphones and extra headsets, I’ve got telephones, I’ve got extra mics, I’ve got lighting, I’ve got sound proof, I’ve got a lot of things that make me very, very comfortable. My idea here is not to say you have to go out and set up your location just like this, because some people might get freaked out by a bunch of lights and a bunch of cameras and things like that. If you’re lucky enough to have a space, get people in there ahead of time. It’s kind of like any of you that have done presentations on a live stage, you probably feel a lot better when you get to be on that live stage before your event. So let people be in a comfortable location. I would suggest that a cubicle farm, not the best place to do a webinar because there are a lot of distractions. If you’re using video, Jim, you might have people walking back and forth behind distracting from the events, those are things to consider.

But you want to make sure that your attendees your speakers are at a really good comfortable location. Might be a home office, could be a conference room. But it is important to think about that and think about the environment so that you can be in a very comfortable place to deliver the content. Your audience needs to hear you. That, first and foremost, is still a foundation for webinars. Do you use the telephone or you do you use some type of microphone or headset? Quick little story on the phone there you might be saying, “Man, rotary phone, why would you pick something so old? Those old AT&T rotary phones were magnificent. Great microphones in them so they sound amazing. If you could get your hands on one, more power to you. Probably can’t. A lot of phones these days, cell phones in particular, aren’t the greatest on audio. So I do encourage teams to stay away from that. I happen to use a microphone, I’ll actually show you the one I use a bit later on, but this is a USB microphone that I use.

What’s cool about the GoToWebinar tool that we’re using, is you can quickly scale through different types of audio. My biggest suggestion is hopefully the platforms you choose, hopefully it’s GoToWebinar, but if you’ve got other platforms, get into that platform and do a test. See what your audio sounds like. See if people could really hear you. Now sometimes, I’ll do a quick call with a colleague and I’ll just use my laptop microphone. It’s good enough for 10 minutes. I wouldn’t want you all to suffer listening to me for 45 minutes here on that crummy audio. I want to respect my audience more so I’m going to try and give the best sound possible. So my big advice here, test, see what sounds good. If you’re using a headset, see if it’s comfortable for you for a longer period of time if you’re going to be doing 30 minute or hour long type presentations. Is that comfortable for you? If it’s too heavy, try and get something smaller and test every time you go live because sometimes you might use another program and your microphone might get hijacked by that other application, so test those before you go live just to make sure That’s where you’re having one or two other people to be part of your team would be great just to be able to listen in, make sure that ultimately your audience can hear the message you’re trying to share.

There’s Erica. I told her she would be making a special guest appearance. She did me this favor of taking this unflattering photo and sharing it several years back with me. We did it to demonstrate that when you’re using video you want to make sure that you’re looking as good as possible. There she opened up the shades it was staring right into the sun, right, making it very difficult for her to see and not a good visual ultimately for the audience. So that’s something you want to avoid. Again, my suggestion here is testing. Jim, you mentioned one I’d use webcams all the time, it’s definitely an option. Whatever choice you make folks about using video, test it. It is a tool, it can distract from your event if it’s not set up correctly.

And I’m actually going to be a little demonstration of my video here in just a moment. This is an example of a layout, me doing a pre-call from my house, you notice the headphone but I’m kind of in grubby clothes, my kids or my wife could go walking in the back [inaudible] we just slid forward on slides a little bit, we’ll leave it here for a second because I’m gonna go right to the demo anyway. But I wouldn’t want to a webinar, there’s a little shadow on my face there are some things that can be done to make the video better. So let me pop the video camera back on here. There we go, and I’ll advance one more slide here just this little demo here.

And the idea is having good line sight with your eyes, so I’m looking right into the camera now. Jim, that’s another reason that I suggest the team’s practice a lot before keeping their camera on the whole time because often what I see is something like this. I see people have a camera on but they’re looking down at notes or content and that’s not connecting with the audience. That I think is more distracting, right? So I like to be able to get that line of sight. You saw my setup, I’ve got my laptop I’ve got a second screen now and that screen, this is high tech folks, is up on a little wicker basket. But what that does that raises the webcam up so I can have that good line of sight, If you didn’t have that opportunity, maybe a tripod? You can put the camera on a tripod and raise that up?

It’s another thing you can do, if you have multiple people in the room, and you’re trying to use one camera, one existence, let’s say GoToWebinar to communicate, if that’s on a tripod, you could gently move that and now you can have again that same line of sight using one camera for multiple people in a room. So experiment, play around with what you want to do there. You see the headset in the screen grab here is how I’m talking to all of you today, this is a AT2020 USB microphone about 120, 150 bucks. I get no residual, those are kickbacks on it. I just love the microphone, it sounds strong, it sounds good, and coming from my old radio background, I’m just used to talking to microphones and then so the feel for me and my location helps. And I have it just below the screen so it’s not distracting it’s not in the way but I can still gives really good audio.

You notice my background, not very distracting. I’ve actually changed things up a little bit got rid of a couple pictures and put in an old radio I had there. Maybe I’ll keep it, maybe I won’t. But you notice the background not distracting. I also have some lighting which you saw in the picture previous. Maybe I’ll scroll back up there just a little bit to my desk area. As I do that, have some lighting in front and put the lighting up there so that you can have a good look, not a lot of shadows and things like that and we’ll come right back in here, you see there’s one of the light rigs in front of my computer, that’s where you see the webcam is elevated. So those are a couple things that you can think about in terms of if you are going to use the video, make sure you use it so that is very effective, make sure you’re using the best audio. Test all these things, that’s the big key with all of these slides in idea, is test it before you’re out there with your audience.

Cool thing about these tools is you can share video and you can immediately take it away. You can switch audio if something happened to your computer, you could move quickly over to the telephone. So there are a lot of things that you can do in that manner in terms of just testing and making sure it all works. Last thing, I’ll show you here, back to this slide, is that you see I’ve pulled out the polls, I’ve pulled out the questions. This allows me to see a lot of things. Some tools allow for it like GoToWebinar, others don’t. I really suggest teams fine tools where they can spread out and have as much access to all the tools as possible. Utilize two monitors if possible, really makes organizing and delivering event, especially if you’re doing it solo like so many of you said earlier, gives you that opportunity to do that because you can see everything at your fingertips.

Last idea I’ll share on kind of the setting up for success is don’t forget that we are really in a mobile first world, and this is something, you saw a picture of Erica earlier, that she utilizes when she logs in, she logs in on a tablet as well so that she gets an idea of what the audience is seeing. And I don’t want any of you to forget about that because more and more, you will have people on their tablets, on their phablets, on their phones, logging into these types of events, don’t have a lot of words on the screen. You see that I’m trying to do a lot more visual, I’ll talk a little bit about visual presentations and design in a couple of moments, but it’s really important to understand the experience that your attendees would be having and because so many of us are going to be consuming these presentations and events mobilly, make sure you know how things look and this can help you start adjusting your slides, your content, your interactions things like that. So don’t forget, mobile world, some teams are really focused on presenting for the PC, for the Mac, but they’re forgetting that oh yeah, people are coming in. So something to think about and consider there.

We will be talking about engaging with your audience, that includes things like slide design, I’ve got some examples from PresentationXpert that I’m going to direct you to that I want you to engage with because I think there’s really good things on the site that talk about design and all that. But before we talk about some engagement, let me come on back to Sharyn and see… I know that we’ve been a little active here in the Q&A, is there anything else that we can address in terms of setting up for success Sharyn?

Microphones for Webinars

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Well I would say we have a couple of things. Number one is, let’s tell everybody about your mic again because we’re getting a lot of questions asking it. So they want to know what model it is.

James Hilliard:  Yes, it is the AT2020 Audio Technica is the company. It’s the AT2020, the USB version, again about 120 to 150 dollars. Blue makes some very good microphones, there are some two, three, four hundred dollar USB mics out there Sharyn, I think that’s probably overkill for most people. Yeti has some good microphones out there right? Lauren saying, yep Yeti. Mike, it’s awesome. And glad to hear I’ve been an Audio Technica guys since I was radio so I just gravitate that way, but love to have that in, and there’s freedom in having the microphone. I also had mentioned the idea of putting a camera on a tripod, you can put a microphone like this on a little mic stand if you’ve got multiple people in the room, you can just swing that mic stand around and then everyone’s using that great strong audio as opposed to maybe looking down and talking to a speakerphone, that’s not the greatest experience for your audience. So a lot of things you can do by using in microphone. You also notice folks, I don’t want to mess up my hair so that’s why don’t use a headset. Oh wait, I don’t have hair. So yeah, AT2020, great thing but yeah, there tons of great mics out there.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          I think it’s a good point, I mean I had some audio challenges this morning with a brand new pair of Bose headphones that I just got and I would up having to go on the phone. So making sure you do the audio check before so you’re not saying, “Hello, hello, is anybody there? Can you hear me?” is a great way to do this.

James Hilliard:  Absolutely. I saw one question here from Ray just confirming the transcript service. And Ray I’ve used rev.com, I think it’s a dollar a minute of audio 30-minute presentation it’s gonna cost 30 bucks for the transcript, usually get it within a couple hours and again I love having that because now you’ve got Tweetable excerpts that you just can highlight and pull from, you can do memes, you can do infographics, you can now use it just on your blog. Lots of great stuff, so yeah, Rev.com R-E-V.com, rev.com, and has been a good service. There are other transcription services out there, you might have internal people to your organization that can do it, you might be a good transcriber so definitely things you can do. But I love just the general idea of being able to get a transcript.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Okay…

Speaker 3:           Anything else there Sharyn that we should address at this point ?

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          I think we’re doing great, let it go back to you.

Engaging Your Audience

James Hilliard:  Alright cool. So engaging with your audience, hopefully that’s what I’ve been doing this whole time. I see that our numbers have grown and are still steady, we’re not losing folks so that is important. It goes back to what you saw from again, a major PC manufacturer that said to me an email, “James, dude, our events are not engaging enough, what can we do?” So let’s talk a little bit about this and again the moderator download is something that you can look at and I think is going to talk a little bit about the engagement as well.

So engagement. One way that we as humans engage with each other it’s through emotion. And so I want to introduce you to two of my kiddos, my third one will make an appearance a bit later on. Dylan is on the left. Madison is slipping sliding on the right. Emotions, pictures, those are ways that you can make connections with your audience and pictures often can tap into emotions in a way that text can’t. Let’s turn this into an interactive experience instead just telling you, “Hey, emotions are important,” I want you all to go to the Q&A box and I’m going to be quiet here for about 20 seconds. I’m gonna let you look at these pictures, think about Dylan, what he is, what he’s showing, what he’s doing think. About Madison, what she’s doing, what she’s showing, the emotion she has, and type that into the Q&A. Quiet time, 20 seconds, think about it and share in the Q&A what emotions are you seeing on display?

All right, well I have done this presentation a handful of times and it’s really cool to see the comments as they come in here, and they’re flying by quickly, but I’m seeing a lot of ideas about determination, right, especially on Dylan here. Total determination, focus, says Lauren that about Dylan. A joy on the right, Judith saying Madison joy unfettered, having a blast loves to play. Mylene, glee. No one else has said that word yet in the several I’ve done with that is great. Ray, Dylan, serious, wanting to throw that strike, absolutely the determination. So there’s a lot that that comes across and in seeing pictures and images, those are great ways to get your ideas across. So thanks for playing with that, again, I’ll introduce my third little guy later on in the presentation.

Emotions, what about this, right? You can look at these Reebok exercise balls, bring us back to the boot camp idea. Maybe you have a good experience of going to a gym using these exercise balls and you look at that like, “Huh, maybe I’m a little motivated, I should get back in there and do some more exercise.” Or maybe you’re like, “Heaven no, I never want to see one of those again.” The importance of using images is well known. There are webcasts on PresentationXpert about the importance of slide design and pictures and things like that. But it’s also important to understand how pictures can have different meanings to different people. And so this is where some of the experimentation may need to come in place and you need to be cognizant of that. I would not want to, and I chose not to use any political references here, it’s too much of a charged atmosphere now to use any political type of imagery, so I’ve taken that out of this and other events that I’ve done, I just think it needs a little cooling off period there.

So those are things to think about when you’re choosing your images and ideas. I often get people asking me where you get a lot of your images. Morguefile.com you’ll see is reference they’re, great free resource and you just need to attribute and then you can utilize those images, you don’t want to be stealing anything through Google or anything like that I think we all know that as presentation folks. But that’s one resource that I use that I find some good images on. Other ways to tap into emotions, you can create word lists, and what I mean by that is you can go back and see through things like the questions you get. I mentioned that I think webinars are great for listening to your audience. You can listen to your audience and see what types of questions, what types of words, what type of language are they using with you and that might be a way that you can learn how to tap into the emotions of your audience.

For those out there doing various versions, right, some a/b testing, any of my marketers out there that do that type of versioning. Webinars I think a ripe to do a/b testing you really try to tie in and hone in on what does your audience really relate to. And an example can be positive or negative type emotions. Do you use more language in your promotional material like challenges and overcoming obstacles? Or are you more optimistic in your language? So those are things that are important to think about as you’re trying to tap into emotions and really connect with your audience. And that’s where there is a [inaudible] mother-in-law so I had permission from him to use his little post from Facebook here.

Language is important. I’ve said images are but language is as well. Oops got a little ahead of ourselves there, we’ll go back. Here on the… This was a Facebook video that was being shared a lot like almost 60 million views or so, but it had great language. Feast your eyes on this. The most satisfying video in the world. That’s some strong language, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t the most satisfying video. But I definitely want to click on it to make that determination myself. If I had just seen, “Check out this great glassblowing video,” I might not have wanted to click on that. But feasting and satisfying, those are things that got my attention. So I suggest to you try and think about that type of language, this is really important when it comes to your promotional material, your email sends, your landing pages, trying to really find an emotional way to engage, and then utilize that when you’re going through your presentations as well, trying to avoid cool or great or nice, right, language that really just are filler words they don’t really mean much two people. So that is my little thought here.

That will move us into one more little engagement section here, I’m going to launch our first poll this is just a placeholder here, I’m going to actually launch the physical poll for all of you right now so you can go ahead and vote on it. And the question is which headline would you most likely share? Hotel travel tips. I’m trying these brilliant tricks during my next hotel stay. Make your next family hotel stay bearable. Or you wouldn’t share any of these with anybody at any time because they’re all horrible they’re not interesting and that is fine if you choose that go ahead again vote here on one of these four if you want to go back to the Q&A you can give me a reason why you may or may not share something.

Now, if you don’t have, say kids, or maybe your kids are grown and moved on to college, maybe the idea of a family hotel stay being bearable isn’t something that interest to you because that’s not your lifestyle right now, right? Hotel travel tips, maybe they’re just a little bit boring. Doesn’t matter what you share in fact I’ll give that you one second, two seconds, three seconds, I’m going to go ahead and close the poll. I’ll share the results, they don’t really mean anything except to give you an example of what people were willing to share. Their biggest vote-getter happen to be what has most often then, I’m trying these brilliant tricks, Jill I see you in there in the audience you’re saying, love the word brilliant.

The idea behind sharing this poll in doing this little activity more so goes along the lines of can you create webinar content that people want to share? Are most of your webinars more hotel travel tips or are more [inaudible]? If you find that you’re saying, Oh man, James doing a little inventory, yeah, maybe my webinars are more hotel travel tips,” then try and be a little more engaging, visuals, with your language, with how you interact with people. Make content that they’d want to share. Which goes back to my key takeaway earlier when I said, “Hey, create an event where you can pull out these little highlights. Where you can pull out a transcript and utilize good content now in different avenues and venues to meet your various audiences.” So that is the whole point behind this little example of trying to share with you what to do.

Let me close out the poll there and I’ll move on to the final idea or two and then we are going to be opening up to the rest of the questions that are coming into the queue. So you got the questions, you got the comments, you have the ideas you want to share with me, absolutely do that. And we’ll move on to the final kind of sequence here which is about engagement. And it’s really finding a good flow to your event. So an opening hook, having some short introductions, interacting with your group, doing segments and having some good visual design.

I’ll explain each one of these as we go through. The opening hook. I’m hoping that in the future you can all move to a point where you no longer say, good morning good afternoon or good evening depending on where you are in the world, the slides will be pushed to you blah blah blah, who cares. We all know how webinars work, that is wasted time for the audience. What I tried to do is a little more of a James Bond opening for all of you today. We did our icebreaker, which I think is fabulous that Sharyn does with your teams here. And then we went right into, “Hey, here’s a our presentation, quick definition and tell me how many events you did?” And I got you touching your computer. And we went through some content, I had the camera on. We tried to do a little more it wasn’t really gun firing explosions but a little more of a James Bond opening than a stiff and stale boring open.

On the introduction, you didn’t hear a whole lot about me. Hilly productions was mentioned by Sharyn. I’ve done 3,000 of these events, I don’t think I mentioned that to at the very beginning. It wasn’t important, you’re not here to hear about me you were here for some proven steps to success, you were here learning some tips. I can tell you right now you can reach out to me hillyproductions.com, you can see examples of the work that I do, you can hire me to come in and consult and or do events just like this for you. But I don’t want to start with that, because that is all about me and that’s not why you’re joining the event. So you all, I encourage you to think about your audience. How can you engage with them right away.

Another thing I love doing on intro says, “Hey welcome to the event. I’m James, she’s Sharyn. Hey Sharyn, let me ask you a question,” and get the guest speaker speaking immediately and sharing a great nugget of information. Then you can go back and do some agenda and things like that. I hope I demonstrated that in the beginning. [inaudible] had you raise your hand, I’ve had you type things in. We stop down for some Q&A. I hope that’s pretty self-explanatory. If you’re doing polls I hope it is not polls that say, “Hey, when you’re going to buy from us?” Right? I just used to pull about these travel tips to [inaudible]. Again, that pole didn’t mean a whole lot in terms of I’m not gonna take this way and say,  “Oh I saw that Karen out there is going to share the how to make your next family stay bearable so now I’m going to market to her.” That’s not going to be the case. So make sure that it’s related to the content and not just a marketing type ploy if you’re doing your interactions.

Segments. I try to break it up, give you a little bit of time to digest one bit of content, stop, move on to something else, right? We set up for success than we stopped. We’ve talked about engaging for your audience, we’re going to stop shortly and just do a general Q&A. So segment things for sure. Visual design, I am not going to claim to be the best in the world. I try and continue to learn on a regular basis. In fact, there was I believe Sharyn on your side, there were two, Laura Foley did one webinar which was about slide design and went through some great tactical steps about taking really busy slides in getting him down into short sweet and attractive type slides. I think there was one that was also called Slide Diet Sharyn, is that correct?

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Yes well we had… Laura did Cheating Death by PowerPoint, which is always a big audience favorite. And then Bethany Auck did a great webinar on Slide Diet and how you can put your content on a diet so you can make it more appealing.

James Hilliard:  Awesome, and what I’ve done folks is I’ve learned from some good design people out there and presentation folks about slide design, colors, the ease of use. You notice that I tried to do the segments, those were the big gray charcoal backgrounds, very large fonts told you what we were doing. Blue slides kind of like this one’s kind of where I was talking, it’s where we’re sharing ideas. Again, tried to take in the idea of not having too many words so that my mobile attendees can still get benefit out of here. And then anything that was orange, I ended up… Those are the like the interactive points. They’re also key for me, they help remind me, “Oh yeah, I’m doing something interactive here,” so that I don’t have to have something written out verbatim, scripted, but I’m using color cues and ideas that help me know where I’m at in my presentation. So visual design is important, there’s a lot to learn out there. You may have some great ideas. Ray you use Prezi out there, I have not used Prezi. A lot of people have found great success doing that. So bottom line though you definitely want to make your content more visually appealing. I hope mine has been close to that.

If you’re a great new presentation individual and you have some good tips or ideas on slide design everything you all share with me, I’d love to hear from that, but I think I’ve been doing a whole lot better. If I’ve done this with you all like two years ago, you’d be like, “Man, those slides suck.” So I think I’m getting a lot better at that. I told you that I would introduce my last little guy. There is Aiden, he’s behind all the pumpkins. Bottom line that I’ve tried to share with you is that 30 is the new 60, if you can start moving your content to shorter content understanding that audiences are looking for shorter, digestible, usable content. Webinars are a great way to put that across. 60, that’s starting to go away. Try and trim down, get closer to 30 if you can.

Be emotional if you can, emotional language, emotional images, ways to connect with them. Tell stories which are ways to connect with people. And if you can engage yet people touching their computer, whether it be with a poll, raising their hand, doing something instead of just listening to a long boring college lecture then you’re most likely going to be setting yourself up for success and you’re going to be improving the webinars that you put out there to your audience. With that, the final poll is coming up on the screen right now. How long is the attention span of a goldfish? Is it four seconds? Is is eight seconds? Is it nine seconds? Is it 12 seconds. Or what, I’m sorry, what was the question I mentioned this early on in the presentation.

The other thing that I mentioned early on in the presentation, I’m going to go back, Clinton, I’m going to call out to you because I put a phone number up on the screen in Clinton you said, “Hey, it’s a song, I can’t remember it but did sing it back in the day.” Clinton do you remember did that come back into your mind as to that song tied to the phone number I’ll give you like five seconds here’s we give folks five more seconds. Ah, Clinton’s saying, no it did not come into his mind. Jenny 8675309. I won’t sing it to you but that was Jenny’s phone number. Maria, you’re welcome. So yes and Clinton, I appreciate I said don’t go to google and cheat and Clinton did not so awesome Jenny’s phone number.

Here are the results of the poll I will share them out there 27% of you said four seconds. 16% of you said eight seconds. 40% of you got it right, nine seconds. I’m sorry what was the question, oh yeah we were talking about attention span I’m sorry I was starting to drift there. The point is, and this is another great little example, that’s just something I said you won’t find it anywhere in the slide deck, I didn’t have a print out there. But it was just a little throwaway comment and we are bombarded with information. Whatever you can do to focus down to your main points are going to serve you and your audience well. There are a bunch of things that you can do moving forward from here, we’re going to hang out for another maybe 10 minutes or so for some Q&A. You can go to GoToWebinar com 30-day free trial of GoToWebinar. You can also download those handouts, all of those handouts are going to be really useful for you to go after the fact and practice and work on of course the archive is going to be available as well.

Michael I see your thank you comment to Sharyn and I’m glad that you picked up some good tips here today. With that Sharyn, what I want to do is hand it back to you full control fire away any questions comments you have. I’m actually also going to, for Jim, throw my webcam back on and we’ll have that on for the remainder here.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          I can do the same I’ll put my webcam on so we’re live. And yeah we have lots of great questions so first, I want to go back to Ray and just talk to Ray about Prezi and say that one of the things you may want to look at is in Powerpoint 2016 which is part of Office 365 online, you’ve got Morph which is kind of their answer to Prezi. And I love it it’s definitely one of the fun things to do. So James can we take the poll down so we can accurately see everyone? See each other, that would be great.

James Hilliard:  There we go.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Also, people have asked where they can find out about the Slide Diet webinar and we have a section on our website presentatioxpert.com/webinars or if you go to the front page you’ll see a picture of Bethany, you just click on that, or the one below which is Laura’s, and you can go to both webinars to see it. Want to make sure our audience knows that. We have a question from Gretchen. Our content is often so lackluster because we train on regulations but I have that tone of voice and my performance seems to get better reviews. Any other ideas or suggestions?

James Hilliard:  Stories Gretchen. Obviously, when you’re dealing with this, there are some organizations that we work in that are highly regulated, legalities, many of you probably have to put content through legal approval often, so it can be tough. I definitely suggested that your presentation your story-telling the voice that engagement that’s going to be the biggest tool that you have. Video might be another way. So if you’re not already using webcams that could be a way that is going to allow people to see you a little more animated see you may be smiling about the content so they might be having a little more energy in there. A co-hosting type situation, don’t know if you have that, but two people to play off of content, especially content I find that in a lot of the technical work I do. If their technical events, having people to bounce off is great. Metaphor language, things that can make those connections with people.

Was doing something with a team recently all about computer security and we ended up using the idea of driverless cars ended up being our metaphor vehicle. And it really tied the conversation together and helped people out and got people thinking about kind of a boring topic but in the new fun sexy way because who doesn’t want an electric car or a self-driving car, that’s all in the news today so making your content connect to things that have a little more interest is a way to do it. Storytelling, maybe having a hero, is there a way that you can create or utilize a character that is going through these technical processes or these highly regulated processes and how that person navigates? Those might be a couple of the ideas I’d share with you without knowing the full details.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. I think there’s lots of things we can do to kind of get across. I think one of the things that’s really interesting is for some of the regulation, and we talk a lot about this, this year. The big trend for 2016 was the year of the story, and that was really what we really saw as a trend in the presentation community that this was a story year and we did a lot of webinars and articles on that this year including one with Keith Harmeyer the author of smart storming or Nolan Hames, who is the king of storytelling and a Microsoft PowerPoint MVP. Both of those webinars are on our site, also we’ve written several articles about it as well. So I think there’s some really good information there and I think it’s really a good point.

So we have a couple of other questions and then we’re running out of time. So we want to have… Somebody talked about, there was a whole conversation offline I’ll share with everyone, about words and how can you find great words like [inaudible]. So we suggested words that sell, there’s greatwords.org so just want to suggest all of you do that and look at that. So let me kind of at this point I know we’re running short on time, I’m going to ask James to advance the slide and we’re going to close this out with a thank you and just a reminder that we need to always come back and tell us what you think of webinar bootcamp and anything that has to do with PresentationXpert, we love hearing from you. You can always call or email me at webinars@presentationxpert.com or editor@presentationxpert.com.

I really enjoyed today and I think James is a lot of fun and I learned some stuff, a different way to do presentations, that I really enjoyed. I’m going to use some of it and I think that’s just a wonderful way to do that. We do have a question. Simon wonders where James got the info on the average attention span?

James Hilliard:  Yes, one of the sources out there was Microsoft went back and looked at a whole bunch of other surveys, it was tied towards the idea of the flooding amount of content that’s coming at us these days, was done between [inaudible] all those surveys between 2000-2015. So that’s where that came from. I can go back through some of my materials if need be and we can get you the exact source in there but if you do a search Microsoft 12-second attention span, you do that nine second goldfish, that’s where where that came from.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          That’s great information I love it. Well, I think we’re at the end of our program here today but I do want to thank you all for coming, so thank you again and have a wonderful holiday season and a great rest of your day. Thank you.

James Hilliard:  Take care everyone.

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