I’ve wasted my time on a few boring, unhelpful webinars recently.
Even before COVID-19, I attended (and hosted!) lots of webinars. Clients, stakeholders, and colleagues were all over the country, and it was the best way to disseminate information in an interactive way.
If you’re hosting webinars these days, know that you don’t have to be the best; but I strongly recommend you make an effort for your audience.
Here are 5 tips for hosting a webinar that people* will actually pay attention to:
- WAKE UP. Look and sound alive, like you’re glad these folks decided to come to your party. Webinars are already really easy to ignore. Participants have the ENTIRE INTERNET, not to mention their overstuffed inboxes, at their fingertips and if their camera is on, looking at their screen makes it look like they’re actually paying attention! They can’t get caught!
- Use visuals. Otherwise, it’s a phone call. But don’t, for the love all that is holy, put your script up there. Do you see what I’m getting at here? Respect the platform and use it to its capabilities! It’s not a phone call and it’s not a written report. (Unless it is one of those things, in which case you have my permission to cancel your webinar! Hooray!)
- Make it interactive beyond just asking for questions. Ask them questions (do a poll, use the chat, encourage they use their microphones), put them in breakout groups, have them draw their spirit animals on a digital whiteboard.
- If questions are typed (instead of asked out loud), read them out loud for all to hear before answering them. Or, better yet, have an assistant curate and read them out loud. Keeping an eye on the chat is very hard when you’re facilitating. (Bonus: It gives you a moment to take a sip of water!)
- Share something valuable. Time and attention are incredibly valuable currencies, and your audience just gave you some. Don’t squander or insult it. They joined because they’re hoping to get something out of it, so give them something they can use. (If you don’t have at least one takeaway, you have my permission to cancel your webinar. Hooray!)
*Probably not everybody. And that’s okay.