Killer Web Events

Robin Good invited me to participate in an online event named What Experts Need To Know To Prepare A Killer Web Event at noon Eastern on Wednesday, February 24th.

Since I prepared three online presentations in the last two weeks and am working on two more this very moment, I thought I'd better being recording some of what I'm doing, sort of acting as if I were an introspective anthropologist. At this point, I'll be jotting down more about presentations than events, because mine were 1:200 affairs, not back-and-forth conversations.

Alignment. My first step for any event or presentation is to contemplate my intended audience. Who are they? And what point of view do I want to convey to them? What's my stance?

Message. Next I brainstorm things I want to get across. A talk may have half a dozen messages. For each, I try to think up an illustrative story or an interaction/demo.

MindMap. If I'm juggling a lot of ideas at this point, I draw a Mind Map to sort them out. This is for my use; rarely do I share these with others.

(Here is the final presentation that began with this map.

PowerPoint. Whether you use PowerPoint or not in your final presentation, it's a wonderful tool for organizing ideas, images, sound, and even video snippets. I dump things into PowerPoint and move them around.

Sleep on it. At this point, I delegate organizing and embellishment to my subconscious, knowing that I'll awake with new insights. If you believe that, they will be there.

Get feedback. This item really covers several points:

  • practice, practice, practice
  • time yourself (and then add 50% because live always takes longer)
  • record yourself giving the presentation (e.g. narrate the PowerPoint)
  • send the recorded presentation to a knowledgeable and emphathetic critic

This may sould like a time-burning activity but it doesn't have to be. For me, I copied the presentation to my laptop. I cut on Macromedia Breeze, gave the talk, and uploaded it to the web. I invited a friend to review it on the web. He emailed me feedback. Granted, this is a short presentation, but going through this cycle took me no more than 45 minutes in all.

Notes. I invariably print out what PowerPoint calls "Handouts," pages with 4 or 6 or 9 slide images per page. I usually go for 9. And I add notes to myself on transitions, rough spots, and announcements on this "shooting script."

Posture. Whenever possible, I give presentations standing up. (I do the same for important phone calls.) Standing up makes the voice richer and mroe powerful.

Mantras. Immediately before I begin to speak, I say these words to myself; it's a prescription from speech coach Dorothy Sarnoff:

  1. I'm glad that I'm here.
  2. I'm glad that you're here.
  3. I know that I know.
  4. I care about you.

Breathe. Whenever you want to be calm, take a deep brreath. Do it now. Nice, eh?
Do it before you speak online, too.

Treat the microphone as you would a person.. In the photo, the presenter is using handsignals to make a point during a webinar.

What tricks of the trade do you find useful?

Posted by Jay Cross at February 7, 2004 01:03 PM | TrackBack

Stephen Downes on Online Conference Discussions gives good tips for appending online to face-to-face. You've got to advertise. It will take some time. Use a discussion paper to keep things focused. Useful links, too.

Posted by: Jay Cross at February 7, 2004 11:07 PM

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