Roger Courville has published a small book covering tips for speakers on webinars, webcasts, and other web events. The book is titled “The Virtual Presenter’s Handbook” and can be ordered online. The US price is $24.95 (the site also gives equivalent pricing in British Pounds and Euros).
The book is an easy read, structured more as a compendium of highly compartmentalized tips than as a continuous narrative. Roger lays out his suggestions and best practices in a straightforward, conversational style. Each topic area has its own heading (“Polls”, “Chat”, “Screen Sharing”…) and gets quickly to the point, without a lot of introductory rambling. But the handbook is never a dry textbook. Roger breaks things up with practical examples and humorous stories taken from his experiences in hosting and delivering webinars, along with occasional diagrams when they help to clarify a point (primarily in dealing with presentation slide design).
My favorite feature is the way that Roger ends each topic section with a clear, single-sentence summary of his main recommendation or takeaway. It helps to crystallize what you have just read and gives you an easy hook to remember.
The book may be oriented slightly more towards novices or presenters without formal training, but even experienced presenters should find some specific recommendations to help them improve the effectiveness of their delivery.
Since I am in the same business as Roger and give similar training and coaching to virtual presenters, I wondered whether I would find tips I disagreed with. But out of more than a hundred pages and dozens upon dozens of topics, I only noted one small detail where our recommendations differed. That’s pretty impressive. I can wholeheartedly recommend the best practices found in The Virtual Presenter’s Handbook as a compact guide to improving web presentations.
In the introduction, Roger is careful to point out that his intent is to present basic principles that are not dependent on a particular web conferencing technology or version of software. As such, he takes pains to avoid mentioning any vendors or technologies by name. There are no comparisons of web conferencing products or feature implementations. That should keep the book useful and relevant for a long time.
My only caveat to purchasers is a small one. If you have a background like mine, where you spent time as a proofreader in an advertising agency, you may find yourself alternately amused and frustrated by the typos sprinkled throughout. A second printing with an editorial assist should clean things up. But don’t let this note frighten you away. The content is professional, and the value to price ratio makes this an easy buy for anyone involved in virtual presentations.