I’ve delivered presentations to audiences of various shapes and sizes over the years, I’ve chaired scores of conference calls, and I’ve facilitated dozens of meetings. But last week was the first time I’d ever led my very own webinar thanks to the association for whom I serve on the national board, the Society of Government Meeting Professionals. It was a presentation I’d given four times previously, all as part of greater conferences with lively and interactive audiences. This time I’d flip through the presentation and deliver the same talk into my speaker phone!
From the feedback we’ve gleaned since and from the smattering of commentary allowed by the webinar’s interface, I’m able to proudly determine that it was another successful delivery, but the manner in which I delivered it had to inherently be altered. For one, I use a lot of timing in the way that I deliver information – the same way a comedian uses timing to underscore their punchlines. And while I could no doubt get the words out just the way I would infront of a live audience, the requisite feedback a speaker gets, from his own audience, whether good or bad, is generally necessary to advance to the next line or slide or topic. It took some getting used to – making eye contact with not a single soul – but a few minutes into the presentation, I felt a groove. It was really quite a valuable alternative way to deliver information to folks who might ordinarily not be able to get it because, for one reason or another, they couldn’t attend the conference.
But as someone whose livelihood still rests on the premise that it’s better to meet in person than over the phone, virtually, or by webinar, it felt blasphemous for me to derive any sort of enjoyment out of it, truth be told. That said, given the value it creates for those who can’t otherwise get it, I’ll gladly submit my name for the next chance to give one!