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Top Tips and Tools to Make Your Next Online Presentation Sizzle

By Hector Cisneros
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Have you ever wanted to know how to expand your reach, audience and customer base? Most of us who engage in word of mouth networking know that doing a presentation in front of your networking group is a great opportunity to educate the crowd, expand your reach and obtain leads and new customers. What if you could do that same thing without any drive time, gasoline cost or having to set up in an unfamiliar room? Well, you can accomplish this by providing your presentation online. In this episode of Working the Web to Win, we will cover the basics needed for any good presentation, then explore several of the best online presentation tools, plus provide some useful ideas to make those presentations work overtime for you.

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So why listen to me? I’m not new to Presenting - I have been engaged in live presentations for over 30 years and online presentations for more than ten. I have written a book on presenting. It’s called 60-Seconds to Success and has been purchased by people from all over the globe. It’s in its second edition and available on and Barnes and Plus, I have also written several articles discussing how to make your 60-second presentation and posted them to The NetWorkers Apprentice Workshop. There you will find all kinds of articles on Word of Mouth Marketing. Check out: How to Make Your 60-Second Presentations Sizzle and Minding your networking P's and Q's for specific tips and techniques.

There are Three Parts to This Story – The principles of good communications, understanding different types of online conferences and the products you can use for your presentations.

Part one, The Principles of Good Communications. Any presentation worth its salt will be focused, timely, relevant, useful and entertaining all rolled into one. Your carriage, demeanor, dress, attitude and delivery are all very important elements. Do poorly in any of these and you hurt your credibility. Do well and you capture the audience’s hearts and minds. These must be appropriate for the venue at which you are presenting. You should practice your presentation multiple times before the presentation day, and it’s a good idea to get feedback on your presentation from a referral partner before you take it to the general public.

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Principles You Need to Follow - Now to make your presentation focused and timely, you need to narrow the subject matters to no more than three items for every ten minutes of presentation time. I break my presentations down into three segments. The method I used has been called; “Tell them, then tell them more and then tell them again.” I start with a summary of what I am going to talk about. I essentially summarize the three topics in my presentation (if it’s a ten-minute presentation).  The intro takes about a minute. Then I take each of my three topics and present them in more detail. Each topic receives about two to three minutes. Then I end with a short summary of what I have presented and then open the floor for questions, if that is allowed. If I have more time, I just add more topics (at the rate of 1 topic for every 3.5 minutes).

Presenting online is not so different than presenting live. The main advantage is that you don’t have the crowd staring at you, which is the main cause of stage fright. You can do almost as much online as you can live, except you’re presenting via online conferencing software. You can allow questions online, but try to take them in-between topics or at the end of your presentation. The primary difference between doing a face to face presentation and one online for me is that if you’re presenting face to face, you need to control your mannerisms and delivery. When presenting online, you will normally switch to a screen view, so most of the audience will be focused on the presentation and not on you. Also, when presenting online, you have to master whichever technology platform you're using. The last thing you want is a mistake or glitch to ruin the presentation for your audience.

Why Present Online? - If you have been doing live presentations for a while and feel good about your presentation skills, make sure you record all future presentations. These records can be used in multiple ways to boost your business presence online by posting them to your social nets, showcasing them on your web pages and also using them as part of an online presentation. So, if you're successful doing live presentations, why would you want to do them online? The answer is simple. It expands your reach from local to the whole world.

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Features and Benefits - Now online presentations come in a variety of forms. You can stream live presentations on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. You can email recorded presentations, and you can provide online conference presentations using applications that take advantage of VOIP technology. Prime examples include WebEx, Goto Meeting, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Skype, Join Me, and Free Conference Call.  These packages allow the user to utilize almost anything you can bring up on your digital device's screen. That’s right; you can engage in a presentation on a smartphone, tablet or computer. These applications allow you to stream video, Power Point slide shows, demonstrate software applications, even share documents by letting the audience download them. You can also allow members to chat and upload documents as well. These presentations can be recorded and then made available as recorded events for future use by anyone you deem a good candidate. Some people use them as training programs, while others use them as online commercials for their products. These recordings are also great fodder for your social nets. Their use is only limited by your imagination.

In today’s global marketplace, businesses and professionals are using online presentation tools to expand their markets and service their clients faster and better. These tools allow business owners to gain more prospects and close more deals without the expense of travel. I have personally used all of these products and believe they each have a niche that will suit most users. One of my favorites is Goto meeting because it’s simple to use. However, I have interacted with many clients who swear by many of the others.

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The Reviews Start Here - Some of the most common features included with this product can be viewed here.  Most provide full video conferencing, session recording, screen sharing, applications running for demonstrations, slideshows, telephone sharing, calendar integration, social media integration and much more. Some even have interactive collaboration whiteboard capabilities; operator assisted, multinational toll-free numbers, cloud storage, and multiple language support. Almost all have a free trial version, and many have a minimal user free version. The differences in price range from free to several hundred dollars a month depending on the number of features, how many can join the meeting simulations (audience size) and how many users are licensed to use it. Now let’s talk a little about each of these online conferencing products.

WebEx, by CISCO, comes with a 14 day free trial for the premium plan, with no credit card needed for Signup. Its paid version starts at $24.00 a month for eight users and $49.95 for 25 users. It is a full-featured product that works well, but it is a bit pricey when you start adding a bigger audience. The Free plan only supports three users.

I learned about Goto Meeting while using Goto My PC many years ago. It is simple to use, inexpensive (10 participants run $19/mo. and 50 participants runs $29/mo.) but is not as full featured as some of the others in its class. However, this company also offers other products like Goto Webinar and Goto Training to address these needs.

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I love using Google Hangouts on my Smartphone. It makes a face to face conversation easy to do. This product has evolved since its launch as part of Google+. It is a feature rich product and was included free with Google+ and Gmail. However, to take advantage of all of its features, you would need to subscribe to Google’s G2 platform (Google Drive for business). This is a great product for collaborative conferencing, and it allows employees on the system to easily video conference between each other. The only thing its missing is the “record your session” feature, which can be fixed by using any screen capture software.

Skype has been around for a long time. It was recently purchased by Microsoft. Skype’s claim to fame, in my opinion, was that it allowed you to make calls all over the world via VOIP. These calls could even be made to landlines and cell phones as well at a very low cost. Today’s Skype is a full-featured video conferencing package and is one of the few that include live translations and bots to do fun and work tasks. Since Microsoft purchased it, some of the free features have been moved to the paid version, and from what I read there are lots of people who are unhappy with the new transition product released under the Microsoft name. Having said that, it reviewed well and comes bundled with Windows 10.

Most of the marketing sales reps who call us, use “join me.comas their platform. It is a top-rated product for small business, that is very easy to use and is also feature rich. Its main drawback is that it does not support toll-free conferencing and a few applications had problems during screen sharing. Having said that, it was still rated as second overall in a field of 10 of the top players in its field.

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Free Conference Call started out as a free landline conference service which made its money by routing calls through exchanges that paid them for that service. Today it's still free and offers a full-featured online conference capability. You can also purchase their business grade service as an upgrade. That means that is not free when you add these features. This is a great product at a great price. It allows for collaborative conferencing with screen sharing. The sound quality is good, but I have experienced dropped calls on several occasions and sometimes getting on was a problem. Also, you can only mute the group, not individuals, (but what do you expect for free).

Here are links to all these products websites that I have discussed in this article. Also, check out the reviews on the links listed with each product and the additional article links listed below. Understand that I did not necessarily discuss the best of the best packages out there, only the ones I am directly familiar with. You will read PC Magazine's opinion by going to its link by clicking here. Also, understand that these products are always evolving (sometimes devolving) and it's always best to download the trial version and give it a spin. Here are the links to the vendors' websites.
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If you are planning to engage in online webinars, conference calls, and presentations, you need to do your due diligence and find the right product for you. This article provides all the resources needed to make that decision. Our notes page also has links to more than a dozen articles discussing the top online presentation, webinar, support, training application and other types of collaborative conferencing software. Check the Notes Page out for a comprehensive overview of the market today. It is my hope that you find the best application for your needs and that you use them for your companies benefit.

That’s my opinion; I look forward to reading yours.

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In this article, I have provided three important parts to any online presentations. A basic understanding of the principles that goes into a great presentation, an overview of what’s software elements are involved in providing online presentations, (including common features and capabilities) and an overview of six of my favorite online conference products along with links to their reviews by PC Magazine and others.

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If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family, and co-workers. I recommend checking out the links in the blog, along with checking out other related articles on our Show Notes Page.  Also, don’t forget to listen to the BlogTalkRadio show on this subject.  If you have a useful comment or opinion related to this article, leave it in the comment section of this blog.  

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 Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.” 

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