It’s taken a couple years, but the webinar has finally taken off. How do we know? Have a look at our inbox – it’s full of invitations for this, that and the other one.
While we don’t have time to attend every session (we’re too busy blogging), we’ve seen plenty of marketing-based sessions to offer our opinion on the oft-overlooked dos and don’ts.
1. Presentation is nine-tenths of the law
They say that presentation is everything. We’re not as melodramatic as ‘they’ are, but presentation does account for the majority of good, for lack of a better word, presentations. If you’re using the PowerPoint or Keynote programs, opt for clean graphics and clear, concise bullet points while forgoing distracting and miscellaneous elements and information. If you find that some content isn’t serving a specific purpose – that it’s just there for show – delete it. Additionally, be sure that the written content is accurate and expertly edited. People are probably paying for the session, and they deserve their money’s worth.
2. Bam! Kick it up a notch
Live video via web cam or digital video camera will give attendees a better sense of who you are as the presenter. They can physically see you, so they’ll naturally be more engaged versus if they had to stare at a slide show for an hour. Also consider offering a whiteboard with annotation, which will allow you and/or the attendees to highlight or mark items on the slides. If note taking is indeed the best way to retain information, an interactive whiteboard is the perfect fit for your webinar.
3. Put them in coach – they’re ready to play
Ever been yapped at for an hour? We have, and it’s not our favorite pastime. Open up the lines of communication during your webinar by using text chat for live Q-and-A sessions, limited to those connected to the meeting. Text chat can be public – allowing all participants to see the messages – or private, between two participants. Polls and surveys are another engagement opportunity, allowing the presenter to direct questions with multiple-choice answers to the audience.
4. Tick-tock goes to clock
We know you like to hear yourself speak – but you might be the only one. As a rule, a webinar is best when it’s brief. But you don’t want to shorten it so much that you fail to convey anything useful to your audience. Longer than an hour, however, and you’ll lose ’em for sure. There’s never a perfect length – attention spans vary – so shoot for somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes. Most pros can handle your self-praising humor for at least as long as it takes to watch an episode of Mad Men.
Have you recently hosted or attended a webinar? Do you have an opinion on techniques to adopt or avoid? Let us know in the comments section.