Webinars Suck...

…but, with a little effort, they can suck less.

The Webinar tool has been a viable tool for presenting to large groups for years, however, for many it is still a new frontier in the presentation realm. The verdict is still out about whether or not the telecommuting convenience makes webinars a better option than the in-person alternative.

However, I believe that webinars are often better than conference calls when presentation is the main purpose.

Positives and negatives of webinars…

The Upside

  • can use notes
  • not as much pressure to “perform” for audience
  • can bring presenters and audience together who are in different geographic locations
  • quick and easy to organize, does not require reserving a space, worrying about transportation or providing refreshments

The Downside

  • can be more difficult to engage audience
  • can be difficult to understand and gauge audience reaction
  • the audience isn’t likely to retain a great deal of the information presented - *this is due to lack of engagement

Ways to overcome webinar difficulties

One way to ensure a successful webinar presentation is to have a backup script available. I say backup script because if you plan the webinar around reading a script word for word, then you will sound “stiff” and your audience will be able to tell that you are reading. However, having something to refer to when the inevitable glitch happens will help set you at ease and keep the flow of the presentation consistent.

In either case, whether a live training or a webinar, the pre-event engagement and follow up really help enhance the user experience.

3 Steps to Success

Step 1. Engage - Engaging the audience ahead of time, in order to hear in their own words what they would like to learn and how they would feel that their time was well spent, will first help each audience member anticipate the training and will encourage their involvement.

Step 2. Inform - Use this information to help shape the content of the presentation to be of interest and importance to the participants.

Step 3. Follow through - On the other side of the event, a follow up e-mail with helpful links will go far to keep each participant interested in what you have to offer.

Here at Aspiration they have a phrase that summarizes their training process, “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.” That triple delivery of the message and information helps ensure that the audience leaves understanding the information that you intended them to understand.

Have you found any effective ways to engage audiences during webinars?