Image © Simon Adams, used with permission
We live in a noisy world – literally and figuratively.
When you’re conducting a webinar, you may find your audience ready to withdraw from everything else, mute their phones, turn off all alerts and quit email, just to focus on you.
It’s more likely that your audience will try to attend your webinar alongside everything else they are doing.
They will want to multi-task. You will want their full attention.
It sounds impossible, but it is possible to run a successful webinar under these circumstances; if you follow two simple rules.
You may not look relaxed when you’re on camera.
Should speakers use webcams during webinars?
Yes. And no.
Let’s look at the pros and cons and then I’ll deliver my conclusions.
Let’s assume you are delivering a one-hour webcast. During this you may only be presenting for some 30 – 35 minutes, with the rest of the time going to housekeeping, a Q&A, and wrapping up.
How will you make those 30 minutes count?
When speaking online, you can’t rely on body language, and as a result your content becomes supremely important. In fact, it is the essential element, more important than your voice, than interaction, than beautiful slides. Content trumps them all.
So how do you create the best possible content?
I was lucky enough to be interviewed recently by Lisa Minogue-White for Learning Now Radio, Colin Steed’s audio production that learning and development professionals. The interview was – of course – about webinars.
Lisa had taken time to read the book, and is a great interviewer. The result is something that I think is valuable and interesting to listen to:
Polls in webinars? In a word: no.
“But hang on, Don,” I hear you say. “I thought your watch word was interaction? Don’t polls allow you to interact with your audience?”
Again, in a word: no.
“Now you’re talking nonsense. You’re asking a question aren’t you? Isn’t that interaction?”
Again, no. It is not interaction. I never use polls in a webinar – with one important exception.
Most people have used Amazon for shopping sometime, and we’re usually pretty impressed with what it suggests as similar items to buy.
Sometimes, though, you have to ask: What was that algorithm thinking?
Running a good webinar shouldn’t be a matter of chance. Too often, though it is. People show up thinking they just need to re-heat their last face-to-face talk. Do that, and you’re letting yourself and your participants down.
Make you next webinar better – and easier – by covering all 6 essential webinar elements.
What are they?
In no particular order: structure, voice, content, visuals, anecdotes and interaction.
Which of those do you think is the least important? You might be surprised at the answer.