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.
What’s the secret of a great webinar?
A webinar is a broadcast, something like a radio programme or a movie.
If you want to keep people engaged, provide value and make your session memorable, there is one thing you absolutely have to do, and it’s something you can learn from the movies.
You have to focus.
Last week I received a mail I hadn’t been expecting. It came from Joanna Kori. Jo is an colleague in the L&D field whom I coached for a Learning and Skills Group webinar in 2013.
The mail was triggered by the publication of Webinar Master, my ebook on how to deliver presentations well online.
I thought Jo would have forgotten all about our couple of sessions together, but apparently not, as I read:
Just a note to say how pleased I am that you’ve got this ebook out – I still have the notes I made from when you coached (or maybe I should say coaxed!) me through the LSG webinar on the Flipped Learning Model this time 2 years ago.
I remember your advice on pacing, expression and tone of voice, and most importantly to feel confident about getting the audience to participate – asking questions not just lecturing.
The positive experience of that webinar was quite a turning point for me.
As I read, I had to stop for a moment to catch my breath. I was delighted that Jo had found what we did together useful, amazed that she had kept the notes for 2 years, and honoured that she had taken the time to mail me about it.
Like most people I’m pretty busy, trying to get the most out of each hour, but mails like this from Jo make it all worth while, because this is what coaching is all about. Anyone in L&D will agree that there is nothing better than helping people realise their potential. It puts the relentless pace and the battle to wring the most from each day entirely into perspective.
Thank you, Jo, for taking the time to share your thoughts.
Although my ebook Webinar Master is about great online delivery, a successful webinar needs more than just a good presentation.
I reckon there are six key roles to any webinar. The most important may not be the one you expect.