Thursday, May 16, 2013

How to Have Better Webinars in Half the Time: Webinar Templates

Get Things Done in Half the TimeAlthough webinars are very efficient for participants, they can be very time-consuming for presenters. It takes time to prepare the material, organize it into a slide deck and rehearse for impact and timing.

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution.

When an architect designs a new building, he/she has some ideas in mind, even if it’s a new, unique design. When a songwriter writes a song, he/she follows a certain structure – words, rhyme, rhythm and chord progressions. When a sports team takes the field, it plans certain strategies, plays and tactics to execute.

This doesn’t mean the architect, songwriter and sports teams can’t be creative, different and innovative. They can – it’s just that they work within standard structures.

You should do the same when designing the slide deck for a webinar.

Don’t start with a blank slide deck.

Don’t start with a blank PowerPoint file and start building the slides one by one. That’s the most difficult way to build a slide deck, because you’re starting from nothing and trying to construct the structure at the same time as creating the content.

Of course, you do have to fill in some slides with the unique content for this webinar. But you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by starting with a standard template, which puts most of the structure in place for you.

Using a template offers a number of benefits:

  • You focus on the most important slides – those with the unique content for this webinar.
  • You have a structure in place already, rather than trying to design the structure at the same time as the content.
  • You can reuse some “standard” slides – for example, running a poll, introducing the presenter, stopping for questions and so on.
  • It’s much faster to create your slide deck, which is especially important if you present a lot of webinars.
  • When you become familiar with the template, you spend less time rehearsing and preparing each webinar.
  • Everybody in your organization can use the same template, which means a consistent approach to all your webinars.

If you don’t already have a template for your webinars, a simple way to get started is to strip back a slide deck from an earlier webinar. Even if this isn’t perfect, it’s still better than starting with a blank slide deck!

Here are two templates for you to use.

An even better option is to start with a well-designed template, crafted to suit the typical sort of webinar you present.

To make this easier for you, I've teamed up with the folks at Citrix - who provide the GoToWebinar software - to create two PowerPoint templates, especially designed for webinar presenters. One template is for a marketing webinar, and the other is for internal communications:

Both templates include standard slides, template slides (for you to complete) and instructions on how to use them.

You have our permission to download and use the templates yourself. Modify them to suit your organization’s needs and use them as the starting point for your next webinar!

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