On June 6th, I gave a webinar about the biggest questions of change. It was sponsored by Soundview, a company that provides professionals with business intelligence in time-efficient ways. It offers business book summaries, author webinars, and video interviews to build awareness and skills on the latest business thinking.
A webinar is an on line seminar where participants hear your voice and watch your slides on screen. They also have the ability to ask questions and leave comments. There are both benefits and challenges to this presentation format.
On the benefits side, you are presenting in a controlled environment with the freedom to review your notes and pace your talk. Also, it is easier to answer questions and discuss comments because the moderator frames and sequences them. Another benefit is that you are not distracted by the participants because their phones are muted and they are invisible, which is helpful, especially when the audience is in the hundreds, like this one.
On the challenges side, you are talking into a speaker phone for forty-five minutes non-stop. Your voice needs to modulate to make points and create excitement so that people stay engaged.
My friend, Michael, who is an excellent speaker, suggested I adopt a conversational tone. He also suggested that I ask people to reflect on my points and invite them to consider their relevance based on what they were experiencing. Both tips were helpful and made my talk sound more personal. It felt like a conversation every time I posed a question to participants.
It’s always helpful to be a member of a great team. Ursula, the executive producer, and Andrew, the moderator, were incredibly helpful. They shared presentation tips and examples of other successful sessions. They were also very supportive and personable. By the time we went “live,” I felt like I knew them personally although we had never met in person.
The 3-2-1 countdown before starting a presentation is always a “time stands still” moment for me. This is when I straddle between preparation and action just before I take my step into delivery. I started my talk with a story about my first change project and went on from there. My time flew by and forty-eight minutes later I asked Andrew if there were any questions.
The participant questions were ones that I had answered in Change with Confidence. It was good to see that people were interested in what I had dealt with. They included changing priorities during a change project, dealing with resistance, and avoiding slipping back into old ways of working. This part of the session was the most dynamic and enjoyable.
Attendees were invited to leave a comment on my website if they wanted a copy of my slides. Over seventy-five people left comments and received my Powerpoint slide deck. I thought about sending a PDF file of my slides but my goal was to help people delivering change, not to protect my work. I hope they use my slides in their change presentations.
A couple of weeks before my presentation, I got the great news that Soundview had awarded “30 Best Business Books of 2013” status to Change with Confidence. This means they will write an Executive Book Summary and record a twenty-minute audio version of it. They will also record an author interview that will be distributed to all members. I couldn’t be more thrilled.
The Soundview experience has been tremendous. One thing did lead to another and another. It may even lead to another. That’s how it works.