Have you ever attended a webinar? We’ll bet you have. Did you stay until the end? If you did, raise your hand. I don’t see many hands raised and that’s because most webinars are BORING. Oh, no, not another webinar. You may be saying to yourself that the last one I attended I couldn’t tell one speaker from another and the slides went on and on and on.
Remember that a webinar is a presentation and the same rules apply as they did before there were webinars. Don’t let your audience die off by clicking “leave webinar” half way through the slides. To ensure a successful presentation, follow these simple steps:
- What is the purpose of this gathering? Clearly define your objective and then book the speakers who are experts on the topic.
- Match the topic to the audience. What are their information needs? Is this a topic they are interested in? Will you be solving a problem for them or educating them about a new service? You might want to test the topic on a few people in advance to be sure you’re on target.
- Keep it short. The unwritten rule is one hour and studies show the best time to attract the largest audience is 11 a.m. Eastern Time. Limit your speakers to two or three at the most. To vary the presentation, have speakers alternate presenting and remind the audience who is talking. Keep the slides simple with not too much copy and use graphics to illustrate your points.
- Allow time for Q&A. If you have a large audience, allow at least 15 minutes for Q&A, either by asking listeners to write in or by having an open conversation. Written questions enable you to pick the ones that most people want answered.
- Provide a link to the presentation. Send an email to each attendee (and those who registered but didn’t attend) with a link to the presentation so they can download it for future reference. Offer to answer their questions if you didn’t have time in the webinar.
- Follow-up. If you’re addressing clients and prospects, be sure the appropriate client service manager follows up with each attendee. This list is golden. Decide your strategy for follow-up prior to the webinar, and, drum role…
- Practice, Practice, Practice. I’ve saved this for last not because it’s the least important but so that if you remember nothing else from this list you will leave with this final takeaway. Do not try to wing it. Insist that each speaker set aside time to practice his part of the session separately. Then schedule at least one and preferably two or three sessions to practice together as a group. Speakers are tuning in remotely so there shouldn’t be a problem. No one needs to fly in for a live rehearsal.
Remember the webinars when you cringed at the inept presenters? Don’t let that happen to you. Prepare and practice if you don’t want your listeners to flee before the end of the presentation. Instead, make them stay, wanting more.