Boring presentations — we’ve all sat through them and wondered what a waste of time they are. Haven’t we?
That’s a feeling you don’t want your webinar audience to leave with.
When people sign up for your webinar, they’re giving you their time, and you need to make it worthwhile.
So how do you engage a distributed audience that is prone to distractions? Webinar design plays a huge role.
A well-designed webinar slide:
Has a clear goal.
Drives home the message.
Let’s take a look at how to create webinar slides that captivate your audience, keep them interested, and are accessible.
Want to see an example of an effective webinar?
1. Outline Your Presentation
The first step is to work on the skeleton of your webinar presentation. Plan how your information will flow, and make a note of what each of the slides will include.
A webinar slide deck typically includes the following slides:
A brief introduction of the presenters
An agenda (or what attendees can expect from the webinar)
A summary of the key takeaways
When you create a strong webinar outline, it serves as a guide and keeps you focused while designing, making sure the entire presentation is tied together well.
Product technologist Aaron Weyenberg has an interesting piece of advice for slide design: “Building your slides should be the tail end of developing your presentation. Think about your main message, structure its supporting points, practice it, and time it — and then start thinking about your slides. The presentation needs to stand on its own; the slides are just something you layer over it to enhance the listener experience.”
2. Design a Powerful Title Slide
Look at this title slide from one of HotJar’s webinars. It clearly communicates what attendees can expect from the webinar and uses visuals to illustrate the title.
When you design a compelling title slide and start on an engaging note, you’re able to reel in your audience from the beginning. It’s the first thing people will see, so you need to make a good first impression with your title slide.
Here are some title ideas that you can consider for this slide:
How-to formulas (e.g., How to Build a Successful Startup)
List of best practices or features (e.g., 5 Features of Sales Cloud 360 You Didn’t Know You Needed)
An intriguing question (e.g., Mindfulness Meditation 101: Am I Doing This Right?)
Statistics and facts (e.g., How Intercom Saved $400K With Support Automation)
Stating the outcome (e.g., Making the Boring Interesting: Perk Up Your Writing)
Remember to include an image or illustration that complements the webinar title so the slide doesn’t look dull. Just make sure the imagery doesn’t interfere with the readability of the text.
3. Limit to 1 Point per Slide
You might have a lot to say, but that doesn’t mean you can dump everything onto one slide. That will just overwhelm your audience.
You can create 20-30 slides filled with quick takeaways and visuals, but it’s certainly not acceptable to design 10 slides filled to the brim with text.
Make sure you limit yourself to one takeaway per slide. This will maintain a clean webinar design while keeping your audience focused.
A strategy for condensing text is to focus on the core message and eliminate everything else that doesn’t support it. For example, you can retain:
The rest can be communicated verbally and visually. Remember: People have signed up for the webinar to listen to you. The text on the slides just needs to complement what you have to say.
Here’s a good example of a focused slide from one of Intercom’s webinars. It sheds light on one important data point, leaving the rest for the presenter to elaborate on.
4. Visualize Information With Graphs and Captions
What do you understand from this bar graph?
Not much, right?
That’s because numbers and raw data alone don’t speak for themselves. You need to find stories in data and extract meaning from it to convey why it matters.
This is where data storytelling enters the scene. It is an effective way to persuade, motivate, and inspire audiences — and you must use it to improve your webinar presentations.
Use the right charts and graphs to represent data points accurately without misleading the audience.
Here’s a guide to help you pick the best charts and graphs for your webinar slides:
Use donut charts and pictographs to convey a single data point.
Use bar graphs, pie graphs, bubble clouds, and stacked bar charts to make comparisons.
Use line graphs, timelines, and area maps to show change over time or location.
Use lists, flowcharts, mind maps, and tables to show groupings or processes.
Use scatter plots and histograms to reveal relationships.
While creating a graph, make sure you focus on one visualization per slide, giving viewers the scope to grasp and understand the data before proceeding to the next.
It’s also a good idea to mix up the types of data visualizations to drive home the message and prevent your audience from getting bored.
Here’s an example of a slide deck that uses a variety of graphs and charts, making for an engaging presentation:
Also, make sure you insert captions or use the webinar software’s automatically generated ones to ensure your webinar is accessible and understood by everyone.
5. Use Bullet Points Strategically
David Paradi’s “2019 Annoying PowerPoint Survey” revealed the top three things that annoy people about PowerPoint presentations.
Many presenters make the mistake of adding full sentences to their slides. The moment you do that, you lose your audience because their attention gets divided. They don’t know whether they should read what’s written on your slides or listen to you.
The solution lies in using bullet points strategically.
But that doesn’t mean you use full sentences as bullet points and subject your audience to an endless list of pointers. The purpose behind bullet points is to convey the key idea or important elements. So keep your bullet points short, and don’t hesitate to split them up across slides.
This is a good example of a short, to-the-point bulleted list from one of BigCommerce’s webinars:
Another good tactic is to replace bullet points with icons to highlight key takeaways and guide the viewer’s gaze.
Below is an example of a slide template that uses icons well. Instead of bullet points, it uses crisp text and illustrative icons to summarize the information.
6. Use Infographics to Illustrate Concepts
Your webinars need to be impactful, and attendees need to leave feeling that they’ve derived value from it.
While you can run an interactive session and share some interesting insights, what can help pack a punch is including infographics in your webinars. After all, when a visual is paired with a piece of information, people are likely to retain 65% of the information three days later.
Below is an example of an infographic that could be used in a webinar slide. It conveys the message without overwhelming the audience.
7. Emphasize Important Information Using Colors
There is more to color than just improving aesthetics.
Let’s say you want to highlight a statistic, keyword, or phrase. You can emphasize that important piece of information using a contrasting color. Doing this makes it stand out, helping your audience instantly take note of it.
Similarly, you can experiment with bold fonts and text weight to draw attention. Take a look at the below slides — each uses different bold elements to create a focal point and attract attention.
8. Alternate Slide Layouts
Imagine having to see the same layout slide after slide for a 50-minute webinar. Boring and predictable, huh?
Don’t be that presenter.
Use illustrations, charts, infographics, diagrams, images, and minimal text to create slide layouts to convey what you have to in the best possible way while keeping your audience excited and engaged.
Give people a reason to look forward to your next slide. You can bring consistency by choosing a consistent color scheme, icon style, and font style to make sure your webinar design looks coherent while still offering variety in the layout.
A lot of effort goes into developing, marketing, and running webinars. So if, after all that work, you’re unable to keep your audience engaged during the webinar, it certainly is a missed opportunity.
These webinar design best practices can help you create webinars that will captivate your audience and help you deliver an impactful session that generates the results you’re after.