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

http://www.360connext.com

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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32 comments
cwiegman
cwiegman

List inversion time: 12 reasons why your webinar won't blow


1. You've tested the Webinar Tools

2. You Aren't just reading the Slides, Which more than Bullets on a Page

3. You Set some Expectations in Your Webinar Description

4. You trust your Audience is intelligent

5. You Sound Like You are in a good state

6. You are the Expert You Say You Are

7. You Are presenting more than a Sales Pitch

8. You aren't Trying to One-up Your Co-hosts or Fellow Panelists

9. You Invite your Audience to Participate

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

11. You Leverage Social Media 

12. You Have Fun!


carstory
carstory

Some great tips. Thank You Jeannie.

GabrielleJeans_
GabrielleJeans_

I particularly detest when people read the slides we can see during the webinar. We have slide-share for that. If you are just going to read it out to me then why am I listening to you talk?

CarolynWilson
CarolynWilson

Great article, @jeanniecw ! Excellent tips towards what to do right with webinars. Being in Australia, I attend many webinars at 3 or 4am - that's a real test on how gripping they are. I've been lucky, though. Most of them are from the best.

MariSmith
MariSmith

Fabulous post, Jeannie!! Two thumbs way up. :)

BruceSallan
BruceSallan

Great tips Jeannie. A webinar, IMHO, is just another piece of entertainment - I don't attend if I'm not engaged AND entertained!

Justicewordlaw
Justicewordlaw

I have attended some great webinars put on by @lewishowes and @seanmalarkey and they do a great job with actually bringing their audience into the webinar and you actually learn something on them. I notice so many of these webinars seem to pitch their audience before the webinar even begins and that just turns me off completely.

jfsteele
jfsteele

I had to sit through a weinar yesterday that was guilty of all 12 listed. It was miserable and not at all what I thought it was going to be about. I hope they read this.... maybe I should send it as a helpful suggestion.

westfallonline
westfallonline

Jeannie, I have re-read this list a few times - especially before my webinar yesterday, on how to deliver a great elevator pitch. I believe that presenters have an obligation to the audience - an obligation to be informative and (if possible) entertaining (#12). #9 is really important to me and an area where I'm trying to get better - I use a Q&A format, and people type in their answers and I share with the group. Do you think that's OK? My webinars are by invitation - kinda like a live radio show- and aren't traditional corporate meetings - so I always have a disparate group. With the large numbers I host, I'm afraid to turn on everyone's audio, and listen to the dogs barking, babies crying, toilets flushing, etc. What are your thoughts on how to keep it interactive, when you don't have a cohesive group (or even know the people) on the webinar?

MZazeela
MZazeela

Great points, Jeannie. I think it is a good idea to "pretend" that you are in front of a live audience. That always gets me pumped up and I can project that energy and excitement to the audience. Nothing more disappointing than a boring webinar.

Cheers,

Marc

douglaserice
douglaserice

Great list, Jeannie! #5 jumps out at me! Most of the webinars I've attended are extraordinarily dry. A webinary on Social Media Marketing can be as boring as a Power Point presentation on watching paint dry. It's like the hosts don't feel like they have to be interesting if you can't see them.

margieclayman
margieclayman

These are all fantastic, Jeannie. I unfortunately have experienced webinars that illustrated each of these faults, and they did in fact blow :)

i think the 2 best webinar presenters I've seen have been Avinash Kaushik and Jay Baer. They do the opposite of everything that stinks!

Great post, as per usual!

John Falchetto
John Falchetto

Love this @Jeannie #2 is my pet peeve and it extends to offline presentations. I actually know how to read, you don't need to read the slides for me.

A great webinar which brings value should sell the product or service by itself without having to be 'salesy'.

davevandewalle
davevandewalle

I'd add to #10 - start on time, end early. People love getting a few extra minutes back. But this is a great piece.

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