12 Most Likely Reasons Your Webinar Blows

12 Most Likely Reasons Your Webinar Blows

We all have to keep learning, even if it means attending a webinar. If not, you can be behind the times in about 2.3 seconds.

A great way to learn is to attend webinars, online presentations from experts and authors and speakers. Literally, every day there are dozens of webinars (most of them are free) to learn about anything from the latest social media craze to the most specific of topics. I’ve been attending a fair share of them on a variety of platforms. I’ve also hosted a few of them.

The problem is that most webinars really stink. It’s hard to learn about the topic when you’re too busy facing these challenges. Before you host your next webinar, please take heed!

1. You Haven’t Tested the Webinar Tool

I know how stressful it is. Hosting is full of uncertainty and anxiety. I’ve had the tools fail me. But some hosts think they can wing it with an unknown webinar hosting platform. They are clearly using the thing for the first time, making all the attendees wait in the process. Test and test and test again. Make sure your co-hosts and panelists have tested it with you. Don’t think each webinar tool is the same – they’re not!

2. You Are Reading the Slides, Which are Just Bullets on a Page

Just like in real life, you need to put some effort into your presentation. PowerPoint and similar tools are ok to use if you use them. Putting words on a page and reading them is insulting, boring and a waste of time. Think about visuals as part of the presentation. Use the amazing ability to share the presentation in real-time by making it fun to look at!

3. You Set the Wrong Expectations in Your Webinar Description

Many descriptions have specifics about what attendees will learn. If you promise how to find, nurture and develop your prospect list, then you better hit all those points in the webinar. Time it out and be sure you give yourself enough to time to really cover the material.

4. You Doubt Your Audience’s Intelligence

If you are covering a topic at the 2.0 level, set the right expectations and attract the right audience. The worst thing is spending your time going over the basics when your audience is expecting a higher-level understanding. If you need to cover the basics, make it quick and point your audience to references for deeper understanding.

5. You Sound Like You Need a Nap

For the love of all that is holy, sound like you have some energy! Even though you can’t see your audience, you need to pretend you’re on stage. Be enthusiastic and passionate! A trick I’ve heard? Have someone sitting in front of you or use a mirror to remind yourself. Smile like you mean it. Your audience will hear the difference.

6. You’re Not the Expert You Say You Are

Can we please stop the whole guru/ninja/expert nonsense? If you promise to be an expert, then you better know more than the majority of your audience. You better have done your homework. Knowing 10% about a topic doesn’t warrant a webinar.

7. You Are a Sales Pitcher and Little Else

Yes, we know you have a book coming out soon. Please don’t mention it every 30 seconds! Your expertise should sell whatever it is you’re selling. Don’t rely on inappropriate and irrelevant plugs during the webinar.

8. You are Trying to One-up Your Co-hosts or Fellow Panelists

If you agree to presenting on a webinar with others, then play nice. It’s ok to disagree, but do so in a way that is respectful to your fellow presenters. The audience can sniff when you are trying to out-boast your co-hosts. It isn’t fun or beneficial.

9. You Don’t Invite your Audience to Participate

One of the great things about webinars is getting real-time feedback and questions from the attendees. Too many hosts forget to actually interact with their audience, however. Make sure you help the attendees use the tools to chat, comment and ask questions. Then answer them!

10. You Don’t Respect Your Audience’s Time

Start on time. End on time. Don’t forget these people are taking time out of their day to learn something.

11. You Don’t Leverage Social Media

Many people who can’t actually attend your webinar could still learn something if you have a Twitter hashtag to follow or a thoughtful blog post about what was covered after the fact. If you’re using Twitter, make it front and center so the discussion under the hashtag can be tracked accordingly. Respond to those tweets!

12. You Forget to Have Fun!

Webinars are designed to be interactive. So why not have some fun and make it conversational? It doesn’t have to be a dry lecture. Invite conversation, joke around a bit, and help your audience enjoy themselves!

Webinars can work really, really well to share knowledge and promote your expertise, services and products. Just make sure you work it the right way. Otherwise it’s just a boring event that happens to be online.

Featured image courtesy of rutty, licensed via creative commons – some rights reserved.

Jeannie Walters


Jeannie Walters is the founder of 360Connext, a Chicago-based consulting firm specializing in the cornerstones of customer experience: customer engagement, employee engagement and connections like social media. She is a board member of the Chicago chapter of the Social Media Club and a member of Faith Popcorn’s Talent Bank, a group of experts tapped for trend-setting information.

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