How NOT to Drain the Energy Out of a Webinar

by Shelley Ryan on June 21, 2010 · 3 comments

Don't start a webinar like this.

Photo by madmolecule

Starting a webinar off with a whimper sets the tone for the entire experience.  How do you want your audience to feel?  Resigned, underwhelmed, dreading the next hour… or excited, curious, and attentive?  I thought so.

Let’s take a look at four things too many folks do that suck the momentum right out of a webinar, and what you can do to avoid the same mistakes.

Lousy webinars start this way: Instead, try this:
Cover “housekeeping” instructions for 2-3 minutes. You know what I’m talking about — how to use the Q&A window, how to raise your hand, where the virtual bathroom is. Put most of that info into “lobby” slides, then set them to auto-repeat for 10-15 minutes before the broadcast. You can also put these instructions in a small text window that remains visible during the presentation (if your webinar platform allows it, that is).
Read the speaker’s long bio aloud. Or let the speaker drone on about her credentials and her company’s client roster. Even worse, they do both! Do a short, informal bio instead. “It’s great to have Jane Doe with us today. Jane wrote one of my favorite books, How to Crochet a Website. Ready to go, Jane?” That’s enough. Chances are good that your audience already read Jane’s long bio when they signed up for this webinar.
Chitchat with the speaker about her hectic book tour or the enviable weather in her neighborhood. Save that for a private conversation. Your audience wants you to get things moving.
Let the speaker start by reading a text slide that lists what he’ll cover in the presentation. Get him to start with a brief, compelling story to grab attention and make his point. Follow that with a list of important learnings he’ll be discussing. That’ll make the audience salivate, not snore.

In sum… keep the intro material short and dive into the good stuff! They’ll love you for it.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jonathan Fleming January 8, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Working on ways to improve my real estate webinars, I appreciate this a lot!

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Shelley Ryan January 8, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Glad to hear it, Jonathan! I’ve always thought that real estate was a ripe topic for webinars… would love to know more about what you’re doing. :)

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Dr. Sarah February 4, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Great stuff, Shelley! You’ve hit the nail on the head with how to open a webinar.

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