So you’ve spent all this time coming up with the perfect topic or theme for your webinar, promoted the heck out of it and gotten a nice big chunk of registrations. Once your attendees sign in on the day of your webinar, they are prepared to spend the next 30-60 minutes with you, hoping you can provide them with valuable information in an interesting way.
There are a few things, however, that annoy your webinar attendees. Some are tolerable – things they’ll put up with for the sake of learning something new – others will send them right to the exit button.
For your next webinar, make sure you bear these things in mind to minimize the number of attendees leaving mid-session.
A whopping 92% of webinar audiences anticipate and welcome a Q&A session (Source: Citrix). Some of your audience members have unique issues that they believe your expert can solve. Others will want to clarify statements or get sources for things mentioned during the session. So it’s important that you include time for this in your webinar.
If you’re conducting online training sessions or a tutorial of some sort, it’s even more important to include time for questions during frequent intervals to make sure audience members are on track.
Action Item: At the start of the webinar, ask audience members to submit questions in a moderated chat and indicate at what intervals questions will be answered. Also share an email address or social media location where questions can be answered outside of the chat (if you’ve run out of time).
Are you not entertained?! No, not if your presenter speaks in a constant monotone, repeatedly uses cliché phrases and outdated examples, or spends the whole session reading from slides.
People come to a webinar to hear about an exciting topic from someone who is passionate about the subject matter. They must have new material or bring a different, most interesting viewpoint to an existing debate.
Action Item: Vet your speakers before asking them to appear on your webinar. Check out their other appearances, have conversations with them and do a run-through before the live presentation.
Some people have long, impressive resumes, we get it. Knowledge of your guest expert’s accomplishments and experience in the field is probably what brought us here in the first place. Those who hadn’t heard of them before probably read about them on your webinar promotion page.
So is it necessary to read out your entire LinkedIn page before getting to the reason we’re all here? We only have a limited time to cover the material and I’m sure attendees will have questions, so let’s get to it.
Action Item: Limit guest introductions to their names, current position and one-liners about the top three achievements related to the topic at hand. Refer attendees to their website or LinkedIn page if they want further information.
This is the one topic that has been stressed to death, yet it’s amazing how many people still copy and paste their whole presentation on slides. PowerPoints are called visual aids for a reason – they are supposed to be visually-oriented and aid in your presentation, not do all the work for you.
Action Item: Make a slideshow that complements your presentation using visual elements you can’t communicate orally, such as diagrams, pictures and videos. Simplify words into lists with minimal wording – they should be just enough to jog the audience’s memory of your presentation, not repeat it. Use the presentation below to help (you can also view it here).
If your audience signs up to your webinar based on your super-exciting topic, only to find out 15 minutes in that you are not actually covering the topic discussed, don’t be surprised to see your attendee drop like it’s hot.
Action Item: This one is simple. Stick to the advertised topic and make sure you can deliver as promised.
There is a time for making ‘notes to self’ on your Dictaphone (shout out to the Louis Litt fans). A webinar broadcasted live to (typically) over 100 people is not one of those times. If you’d rather just speak for an hour, instead of interacting with the audience, it’s best to make a YouTube video instead of a webinar.
Action Item: Engage in a two way discussion with your audience and use the tools available to you. Let them give feedback or share sentiments through polls. Break up speaking with videos and other interesting content. Allow them an open chat to discuss the topic during the presentation. If you don’t, they’ll usually head over to Twitter and do it anyway.
Webinars are usually held during the work day, which most likely means we have to get back to other things when this is over. Hence, you can understand our frustration when you delay the start of a webinar until ‘sufficient’ attendees are present or end up going over the end time you specified due to a long presentation. Five minutes to the expected end time, we’re probably already prepping for the next thing on our to-do list, so we’ll probably miss the rest anyway.
Action Item: Start on time – train your webinar audience to log in early for future sessions. Do a test run of with your speaker to ensure their presentation is kept under time, including any anticipated pauses or poll time. Add a little buffer (2-3 minutes) just in case there is a technical issue.
So, to summarize, keep your audience engaged and entertained, stick to the topic at hand, and make sure you answer their questions. Opt for a good webinar service with recording and embedded social media sharing abilities, as it will make your life easier post webinar. Do these things and they’ll be happy to return and bring friends. Ignore these things, and be prepared to have a snoozefest on your hands.
Teacher and students sleeping – depositphotos.com
Louis Litt and dictaphone – usanetwork.com