My pal Roger Courville is right.
Most webinars do SUCK.
And now, you can’t go online, open an email, or scroll the social newsfeed without one happening every single minute.
This is a problem for both institutions and learners.
Institutions struggling with relevancy, attendance, and participation have little time to vet content and delivery. There’s simply too many skill sets involved for one person to do all of the marketing, produce visual aids, and deliver an experience that have participants coming back next time.
Content is content. Either you have it or you don’t.
Delivery, however represents a series of skill sets (remote engagement, whiteboarding, framing, quick access memory) that few subject matter experts have been able to master because, well… it takes more work. And if the expert only gives one or two webinars a year, then chances are they have not developed the behaviors to deliver new content in new ways.
Delivery is either diagnostic or its prescriptive. And diagnostic delivery creates more impact for participants because you are solving problems in real time.
Prescriptive delivery represents the lowest form of education. Prescriptive delivery is no different than recording a video and playing it for participants with a Q&A at the end.
Here are some examples of prescriptive delivery…
A) Overloaded slide delivery
60 slides in 60 minutes is a race to the finish. These slides jammed full of content are meaty in substance leaving participants reluctant to recall afterwards. After the first 10 minutes of this presentation, participants are asking for the slides and are on to the next task.
B) Slide reader delivery
No, you don’t have to read every single word that appears on your slides. In fact, your participants depending on their learning style will listening more than watching or watching more than listening. The visual learner will be looking for context from the slides, not a recitation. And the auditory learner will be listening to how you are painting the picture in their mind.
C) Bobblehead delivery
Can you use Skype for a webinar? Sure you can. But, the video to video feature has presenters lost more in what they look like rather than communicating with purpose. Skype has the screen share feature so use it when you are making a point with specific visuals, not to repeat errors expressed above in A & B.
D) Making a point without a visual delivery
Presentations with fewer prepared slides aren’t the problem. It’s when the presenter doesn’t have a way of expressing a point visually is the skill set that is lacking. Screen to Screen platforms have a whiteboard feature that allows the presenter to conceptualize the idea “back of the napkin” style either on a blank canvas or John Madden telestrator style on top of a slide.
E) Automated delivery
When I first heard about automated or evergreen webinars I used to think it was the future. However savvy learners who understand technology will know these webinars are actually recordings in disguise which can hurt your credibility, especially if you are marketing them as live.
Most webinars are FREE for a reason. The institution might be using the webinar as a list building tool, the market won’t bear its cost, or the institution couldn’t afford to hire someone trained in both content and diagnostic delivery. Either way, be careful how you spend your time.
If you pay for a webinar start asking about what will help you implement and how you will measure the success after the program. Not all webinars are created equal so be careful in how you spend your time.
I’ve found the best successes in webinar execution are when the presenter focuses more on what the participants want to hear in real time, not what they want to say prior. Because if they don’t focus on participant outcomes then they chances are they won’t return and/or want their money back.