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VIEWPOINT: WEBINAR MAGIC Using technology to reach your audience

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A webinar (an online seminar conducted over the Internet) is an ideal medium to deliver your message to small or large groups. Its use is limited to your imagination.

  • When to use it: If you have your own business, webinars can be used to market yourself or your business product or service. Webinars can also be used as an online teaching tool, especially if your team, audience or clients are based in different geographic locations. It is an effective way to talk to a large audience and reduce travel time and costs.
  • How to use it: Just like during a live presentation, your webinar audience need engagement and interaction every four minutes. Do this through a show of hands (using the ‘polling’ option); ask the audience to text online questions that you respond to; create a web tour; or show your audience a PowerPoint presentation. You can use webinars to teach content by sending out pre-reading material that you ask their opinion on and then respond to their comments during the webinar.
  • What to prepare: A webinar is usually 45 minutes long: 30 minutes of content, 15 minutes for Q&A. Take the time to prepare the flow to your webinar that focuses on the objective of the talk while ensuring that the critical information is included. If you are using PowerPoint, ensure that your slides are easy to read. With a verbal presentation a presenter can speak for 2–3 minutes about one slide. In a webinar, you will need to incorporate a new slide every 20–40 seconds to keep your audience’s attention. Graphics such as graphs, charts, images, audio and animation are another way of engaging your audience. Use collaboration tools like whiteboards to share documents or images and explain the purpose of those documents using annotation tools within the webinar software.
  • Post-webinars: You could re-purpose the recording: edit parts and upload it as a podcast, edit the video for uploading as a YouTube video, or package your videos as a series for downloading on your website.

Author: Dineshrie Pillay CA(SA) is a business owner and public speaker trainer

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