Webinars are a great way to develop a bond with a group of people that you want to connect with. It’s an efficient way to communicate complex concepts or to inspire people’s passions. It’s also a great platform for selling your products (so long as you provide a good education at the same time).
I’ve attended and presented at quite a few webinars, so I’m becoming pretty good at spotting the good, the bad and the ugly. I won’t claim complete innocence here because all webinar presenters end up with surprises, bumps and bruises.
Here are five surefire ways to screw up your next webinar.
1) Not covering what you promised (Bait and Switch)
I’ve actually seen bigger companies being the worst offenders here (for the accidental version). I think some companies plan webinars well in advance, including producing the marketing copy. Then the lucky stiff that gets to present wings it and creates what he or she thinks the audience might want to hear. Or their stock presentation has evolved and it no longer covers what it used to. Suddenly there’s a gap between the marketing and what actually gets delivered. This may be accidental bait and switch but it’s still a waste of an hour.
Of course, we all know about the marketers who tease us with the promise of exciting knowledge to come for an hour while they pitch their products the whole time. That’s an example of planned bait and switch and I hate that even more!
2) Having poor time management
In other cases, I’ve been to webinars where they spend most of an hour going through about 1/3 of a planned presentation. Then the presenter rushes to catch up in the last few minutes or skips most of the Q&A but finishes their presentation. Limiting Q&A can frustrate your audience who has patiently been waiting to clarify something or to ask that burning question.
Sometimes it’s best to skip some of your slides to get to the punchline and still save time for questions. Also, make sure you’ve practiced to check your timing. What do you think?
3) Forgetting to press record
Hey, it happens to all of us. But when it happens to you, you’re the schmuck for that day! You should record all of your webinars whether you’ve promised to make a replay available or not. It’s a great asset and replays allow you to get your message our repeatedly with very little additional effort.
My tip – put a bright sticky note right in the middle of your computer screen and don’t allow yourself to take it off until you’ve pressed record!
4) Spending 15 minutes to get rolling
We know that technology can cause issues. And we want to introduce our speakers (and possibly sponsors), but enough is enough! Make it your goal to get into the content as soon as humanly possible. Your attendees will thank you for it.
5) Reading your text-heavy slides
One of the worst experiences is to attend a webinar that has very dense, text-heavy slides that the presenter reads word-for-word. It feels like the world has gone in slow motion as you agonizingly read ahead and wait for the presenter to catch up!
Some ideas to help you fix this:
- Make sure to include visuals that you use as places to add additional talking points.
- For slides with mostly text, add additional interesting or helpful details and examples. Also, don’t read all of the text. For example, you can read the bullet point titles but not the explanations that follow.
- Consider having a co-presenter and give them carte blanche to comment or ask questions.
Are you doing Webinars?
Webinars (or teleseminars) are great ways to communicate, share, sell or educate. I highly encourage you to take the leap and give it a try with your audience (see my webinar process and tools). Make sure you do a couple of trial runs before going big-time and I hope these tips will help improve your webinars.
Also, to see an example of a webinar, don’t forget to sign up for my free Webinar at the Social Buzz Club this Thursday, July 26, 2012! I’ll be covering my webinar process in more detail then.