The Linguist

The Linguist 57,4 - August/September 2018

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 22 of 35

@Linguist_CIOL AUGUST/SEPTEMBER The Linguist 23 FEATURES introducing some interactive elements, like polls or quizzes. This can also be a useful way to learn about your audience and keep them engaged. If your webinar has a host to introduce you, then they can also keep an eye on any questions or comments that attendees type in their chat boxes. If you're relying on audience participation – say, to have a discussion – then be prepared in case your crowd is shy and unforthcoming on the day, although you can try to head that problem off with a little prodding and humour early on. It's all in the delivery Moving on to the delivery dimension, I'd recommend practising several times so that the words flow and you find the most effective way of saying things. No one wants to sit through a load of umming and ahing, or a river of drivel. It helps to commit your stumbles and faux pas in private rehearsal, and to smoke out any tongue twisters or unintentional innuendos before you go live. You could practise in front of a friendly stooge to see if you have any irritating verbal tics to iron out. (If you say 'ok' or click your teeth at the end of every sentence, your audience will soon be driven to distraction.) Rehearsing also helps you get the timing right: early attempts may be slower as you grope for a more elegant turn of phrase, but by your final run-through you'll have a clearer idea of how long the whole thing will take. Familiarise yourself with the webinar software: GoToWebinar or similar. You'll learn where to put the control panel to keep it out of your way; you'll note how to put the slide-show view on your main monitor (for attendees to see) and the presenter view – including your notes and what's coming next – on the other one (for your eyes only). Close as many other apps and documents as you can before curtain up, not least to prevent an impromptu appearance from any irrelevant material – personal messages or NSFW (not safe for work) content – as if you would be looking at such a thing, gentle reader. If you turn your camera on, be aware how wide its field of view may be. If you need to scratch an itch, move well out of shot first; don't ask me how I learned this! If your presentation includes a live demo (of a writing tool, perhaps), practise it thoroughly. Don't rely on anything beyond your control, like the order of the Google search results on that particular day, and make sure you can find your way from your slides into the demo and back again without flailing or floundering or losing your place. On the technical side, if your internet connection is more push bike than Porsche, it may be a good idea to ease the burden on it by leaving non-essential images out of your deck. You could even present over the phone (but if you live abroad, be sure to use the webinar company's local access number for your country to avoid hefty international charges). And if the worst happens and the net goes down, have a means to alert your host, such as a mobile phone with a different network, so they can take appropriate action. After the webinar, review how things went, assimilate the feedback, and ask for the recording to see how you performed. Attend webinars to learn from other speakers in action: what do they do that works well? Is there anything you find irritating or frustrating in their delivery? It's all good grist to the mill. If you're about to dip your toe into the wonderful world of webinar presenting, you would do well to research and approach webinar providers, such as eCPD, as well as companies that market their business via webinar. Once you've got your first gig, be prepared, take courage and enjoy yourself. You might even get a taste for it; I did! CIOL bought eCPD Webinars in March in order to offer high-quality online training to translators, interpreters and other professional linguists, with a 10% discount for CIOL members on webinars and videos. Find out about forthcoming courses at Making preparations Once you have your content, you'll need to organise it. A presentation is a type of text, and it benefits from being structured accordingly. Which information should go where? What needs to come first in order to explain what comes later? Does this section need fleshing out? Does that one need hacking back? You could start with a little story to capture your audience's attention or inject a light-hearted remark to get everyone relaxed (including you) and looking forward to the talk. At individual slide level, get the amount of text right: too much and people can't listen to you and read the words at the same time; too little and they won't understand the slides when they come to review them afterwards. I tend to reveal the information point by point, hopefully without overdoing the bullets. Avoid having too many clever visuals, as they can be distracting – the magpie-minded Homer Simpson loves the 'star wipe', which is a pretty good reason to bin it, if you ask me: Reread and edit to make your message as crisp and clear and effective as you can. A great writer once said, "I'm sorry this is so long; I didn't have time to make it shorter"; find the time. How much content do you need? How can you avoid overrunning or, even worse, drying up too soon? I reckon on having 50-60 slides per hour. You can always add a couple of bonus slides at the end, just in case you get there faster than you expected. One last point on content: unlike a speech at an event, in a webinar you can't see your audience, so you will have to do without the feedback of nods and smiles, or frowns and yawns, that you can pick up on in a face-to- face setting. This doesn't seem to bother me, but if you like, you can compensate by Don't rely on anything beyond your control, like the order of the Google search results on that particular day

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Linguist - The Linguist 57,4 - August/September 2018