What NOT to do in a presentation

I just came off a recorded webinar on the subject of “Do you have what it takes to be a virtual online trainer?”. Interesting enough topic – right? That’s why I went there.

The webinar started off with a moderator giving a 3-minute “overview” of a very complicated home page. She was trying to explain to the audience what each and every button on the screen (and there were lots of them) was supposed to do. And then the instructor (or “coach” as she called herself) came on and fumbled with her speaker volume for a minute – apologizing all along about why it was hard for  the audience to hear her. And then she went on and “polled” the audience for another 3 minutes – asking the audience to complete a long series of inane questions. After that fiasco, she spent 3 more minutes telling the audience about her life story – as if anyone really cared. There was a LOT of idle chatter.

It wan’t until 12 minutes – yes 12 long minutes later – that she began to talk about the subject of her webinar: Do you have what it takes to be a virtual online trainer?

Of course, all her slides were loaded with mind numbing bullet points. That’s about the time I clicked off.

Here are some lessons we can all learn from this horrific experience:

First of all, keep everything SIMPLE!!! If you have to spend a minute (let alone 3!) to show people how to navigate around your site, it is TOO complicated!

Second. Fix your technological problems BEFORE you come on your webinar – not during. I am not a big fan of long rehearsals. But this is where rehearsal comes in handy. Test your mike before you come on – please.

Third. Forget about polling the audience before you get into the meat of your webinar. The noble intent of polling your audience is to customize your presentation to the needs of your audience. Most speakers don’t do that. They go on with their pre-determined content. Poll it afterwards if you must.

Fourth. Keep your life story to a minimum. No one cares how many dogs and cats you have unless you are doing a webinar on pets. Please keep your idle chatter down. People set aside their valuable time to hope to learn from you. Show some respect and don’t waste their time.

One last point: What’s with this thing about calling yourself a “coach”? When people say coach, I think of Bobby Knight. LOL. Maybe it is just me, shouldn’t the term “coach” be reserved for basketball, baseball and football? I know someone who calls himself  a “life coach” – presumably to teach his clients about dealing with life and finance. He has been divorced multiple times and his house is in foreclosure. Is that the kind of coach you want?


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