Effectve Webinars are Like Chocolate

…only question is:  What kind of chocolate will your webinar be?

If you’re anything like me, you probably get between 5 and 10 invites to attend webinars per day.  Per day!  Wow!   Out of that, I probably attend maybe 3 or 4 per week (not including the webinars I produce for clients), and I’m pretty sure that’s more than many.  So, my question for you:  Do you love the webinars you attend?  After attending, are you all fired up with solutions to some troublesome questions?  Or are you left with the sense that you’ve just lost an hour or more of limited productive time?  Unfortunately, my answer to that question is the latter.  Webinars, I find, are a lot like chocolate on Hallowe’en:  Plentiful, but of low quality.

While this sounds like a bad thing this is, in actuality, great news.  With such a crowded field of mediocrity, great webinars stand out.  People not only register for them, they make time to attend them.  What’s more, people will “vouch” for great webinars, and will forward registration invites to their colleagues.  Post broadcast, attendees will download the deck and forward that to their colleagues as well.  Good webinars not only get attended, they also go viral.   So what is it that makes some webinars great, and others a waste of time?   In a word, it’s value-for-time (okay, more like 3 words).  Demonstrating value-for-time throughout your webinar will ensure yours is successful.  Here are some ways you can do that:

Structure is (almost) Everything

Good webinars follow a predictable, easy-to-follow structure that attendees can understand.   If attendees don’t know where you’re headed, they won’t want to follow you, and will tune out at best, and click off at worst.  A good structure that offers value-for-time is one that clearly identifies the problems/questions the websinar will address, discusses why these problems/questions are important, and then solves them.   Sounds easy, right?  Well, it is.  Keeping the structure simple is the key to demonstrating value-for-time.

Staying on point

A pet peeve of mine is when webinars sound like a person, or people, having a telephone conversation that I’m just listening in on.  Meantime on my computer there’s an “About Us” company slide that I’m forced to look at for minutes on end.  Not only has my time been commandeered, but so has my computer.   This has me minimizing, clicking on mute, then tuning out pretty quickly.

Value-for-time webinars avoid this by staying focused on the content of the slide being shown, and avoiding tangents that deviate even slightly off topic.   Your audience has tuned in to your webinar to solve a specific question, or gain very specific insight.  Tangents, unsupported by visual cues, run the risk of having your webinar get tuned out.  Think of it this way:  If it’s so important to say now, why wasn’t it important enough to assemble a slide for during planning?  Probably because it wasn’t that important.

Just the Facts, Ma’am.  Just the Facts

The benefit from delivering an excellent webinar is to help you or your organization be seen as an authority on your subject matter, and subsequently grow your business.  To demonstrate this, you want to provide me with information that I, as an attendee, don’t have.  This should be in the form of solid research, say from Forrester or Frost and Sullivan or Jupiter.  This research can be used to validate the webinar topic as an important problem that needs solving (thus validating the attendees’ decision to attend), or the research can be used to back up your proposed solution(s) to the problem or question being addressed in the webinar.  Regardless, effective webinars are more than just op eds.  To demonstrate value-for-time, they need to deliver the facts.

Valentine’s Day Chocolate

Of course, building and delivering a great webinar is more that the above few points, but keeping to those will go a long way in ensuring your webinar is seen as a value-for-time, rather than a time waster, and that’s good for business.  Getting back to the chocolate analogy, why ask your webinar attendees to settle for Halloween chocolate.  After all, it’s Valentine’s Day chocolate that gets all the love. 

If you have a comment, please do post it below.   If you’d like some guidance on how your webinar can deliver value-for-time, let’s connect.

  • Pat Perdue

    Do you have a favorite webinar series that you attend regularly? Some popular ones are Hubspot.com, and in the call center biz, VIPDesk produces some excellent ones. So what are your favorites?