We often stress the importance of practicing before the event and ensuring that your moderator is prepared to fill the role that you have envisioned for them—especially if they are not in the same room as the rest of the speakers.
The fact of the matter is that the speakers may not only be in the same room, but they may not even work for the same company. While the diversity of tone and viewpoint from multiple webinar speakers can create a huge advantage, it can also leave the audience feeling like they’re at a variety show.
As a solution to this challenge, in order to create a cohesive webinar, we introduce the three T’s: timing, tone and template.
Each person has a speech cadence that is specific to them and what comes naturally. While no one cadence is better than the other, speakers with a similar style can find it much easier to collaborate in presenting content. Moreover, audience members can focus on the content as opposed to timing when the pace of both speakers is similar. Hubspot points out: “if you have more than one speaker, have them play off of each other, making the webinar a discussion instead of two different monologues.” Doing this can be a huge advantage for the audience so long as both speakers keep the momentum going.
Three people could have the same webinar, and each one could have a different tone; one could be persuasive, the other cautionary, and the third informative. Assuming that all of the presenters are focused on the same topic—and they should—they would need to approach their portion of the content with the same tone. Otherwise, the audience could become confused and unconvinced: neither of which is in good standards for the webinar.
The first two T’s are focused on audio, but there is also a visual component when it comes to conducting a cohesive webinar. The slide deck can have participating logos on it, but there should only be one master template for the whole webinar. This best practice applies far beyond webinars to all presentations, such as Powerpoint. Patrice-Anne Rutledge points out in the PowerPoint 2013 Absolute Beginner’s Guide, “Although it’s easy to apply multiple themes, you should carefully consider whether it’s a good idea. Too many contrasting styles and designs can make your presentation confusing and hard to follow.” Just as with varying speaker timing, switching from one slide template to another disrupts the flow of content and forces the audience to pull the content together for themselves: something the presenters are supposed to do for them.
If you have ever found yourself viewing a webinar that felt like a bunch of sessions that were carelessly put together, you would know that the timing, tone, and templates were surely overlooked. The experience created by a webinar’s visual and audio components should be cohesive, otherwise the audience will be focused on the disconnects rather than the takeaways.