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How to Host a Webinar That WOWS!

Tips and Tricks

Presenter Tips

  • Provide clear objectives for presenting the webinar and list any intended outcome(s).
  • Know your WebEx® software.
  • Provide clear instructions on the collaboration tools and ground rules (ie..mute your phone) etc.
  • Use a headset with a microphone.
  • Vary your tone of voice and enunciate.
  • Speak slowly.
  • Limit “pause” words like: “um,” “like you know,” “ah,” etc.
  • Avoid reading your slides to the audience.
  • Interact with and engage your participants every 4 minutes or so.
  • If you are using a webcam, stay in frame, be still, and in focus.
  • Enlist a producer to assist you during the webinar (OED can help).
  • Practice your webinar with your producer.
  • Acknowledge your participants by first name.
  • Enthusiasm works!
  • Be prepared and practice.
  • Avoid “information dumping” on your students!

PowerPoint® Tips

  • Create a powerful Welcome slide.
  • Use relevant graphics to emphasize key points.
  • Use animations and transitions wisely. For example, having text and graphics appear on screen just when you need them can be a nice touch, but overdoing animation detracts from your presentation.
  • Avoid using all-text slides and reading to the audience.
  • Use high-contrast colors on your slides.
  • Choose a light slide background color with dark text.
  • Use the SmartArt tool in PowerPoint® to create interesting graphics with text. Animate parts of the SmartArt graphic so that each object can be displayed as you present them.
  • Leave some white empty space on your slides.
  • Use sans-serif fonts, such as Helvetica or Arial for text.
  • Include appropriate USGS branding on your slides.
  • Include accessibility (Section 508) requirements for people with disabilities:
    • Have a script for your presentation and make it available to your participants.
    • Make sure all graphics or photos have an ALT tag describing the image.
    • Videos must be closed-captioned or a script provided for your blind participants.
    • Avoid using red, orange, or green as a text color. Eight percent of men and 0.5 percent of females have a form of color blindness. (Wikipedia, Color blindness)
    • For tables, make sure each column has a heading.
    • Use a live, real-time, captioning service for deaf or hard-of-hearing participants.


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