(Hannah Höch, Collage 2. c.1925)
A webinar is made up of six elements. In order of importance, they are:
While each of these is necessary for a successful event, none is sufficient by itself; a webinar without visuals is a radio show, without anecdotes it’s a lecture, and without good content it’s useless. For the purposes of this blog, I’m going to assume that you have content useful for your audience, and we’ll concentrate on the other five elements.
Not everyone will agree with this ranking, so let me explain why voice is at the top and visuals at the bottom.
I’ve hosted webinars where people have done a great job engaging with the audience using their voice alone. With very simple slides of just a few words, they initially set out a point of view, then answered questions and engaged with the audience, who were entranced and left delighted with how they’d spent that hour. Voice and interaction, then, have to come first.
Visuals are the least important for two reasons. First, bad visuals can break a presentation, but adequate visuals will get you by. Adequate content won’t, and an adequate voice will only work if your content is stellar. Provide only adequate interaction and you’ll lose a substantial part of your audience. Your structure can be basic, but it must be well thought through, and your anecdotes must be carefully selected, honed and rehearsed. Visuals, then, are forced to the bottom of the list.
Secondly: it’s easy to spend a lot of time on visuals, persuading ourselves that we’re working on making our presentation better, when in fact all we’re doing is being busy. Get the visuals good enough, then work on the rest of the list and come back to the visuals once you’re sure everything else is okay. If you find you can’t polish the visuals to your satisfaction, that part of your presentation can always be subcontracted. Working on your anecdotes, content and voice can’t.
As I say, however, all six of these elements are necessary, and the richness of a well-prepared, well-delivered webinar comes through their interaction.
This is an extract from Webinar Master, a free 44-page guide to great online delivery.