The Walpole Daily Practice | How to Ace the Webinar with Debrett’s

Walpole hosted the first of its new Business Guidance for Luxury Brands webinar series just before Easter, and although I’ve had a huge amount of practice in introducing Walpole events during my time as CEO, and I’m happy to hop on a stage and say a few words at the drop of a hat, I found the digital version strangely nerve-wracking.

Being on camera seems to demand a new approach to planning, preparation and delivery and with video calling, webinars and online presentations a fact of life right now, I was lucky enough to have Debrett’s Academy director, Rupert Wesson’s advice so that I didn’t let the side down. 

Here are his six tips for successful webinaring and maintaining your professionalism when presenting from home:

  1. Look the part: if you’re presenting to prospective clients, wear something suitably formal for an office environment. You might be able to dress down for meetings, but keep it professional and avoid sportswear, loungewear or nightwear (at least as far as is visible).  
  2. Be prepared: give yourself an extra five minutes before the meeting or presentation to log on, test your camera and mic and resolve any glitches. 
  3. Pause: pausing will give you time to think, breathe and relax a little.  It will also give the audience a chance to reflect on what you are saying and to ask any questions. 
  4. Minimise distractions: if seeing your own image on screen makes you self-conscious, keep it out of your eye line and concentrate on your audience instead. It might help to imagine that they are directly in front of you, rather than focusing on a screen full of faces.  
  5. Adapt your body language: remain animated but not manically so – it’s best to keep physical gestures subtle but confident, and hands relaxed. If you’re seated, sit up straight but don’t be too rigid.  Standing is arguably easier for feeling at ease – just don’t wander off camera. 
  6. Break it up: if you’re presenting slides, break up the presentation by cutting back to yourself. This might feel uncomfortable but will be more interesting than slide after slide of information read aloud to your audience. 

For more, including the invaluable Etiquette of Working from Home, go to Debrett’s Academy and look out on the Walpole Daily Luxury Digest for the announcement of the next Walpole Business Guidance webinar.