My Six Tips for a Better Webinar

(A Webinar Attendee’s Perspective)

You’ve gotta be kidding. Recently, I was a participant in a webinar presented by a respected Silicon Valley firm. I like and respect the guy who organized it, so I won’t provide any identifiable information on the presenter or his firm.

The subject matter was well researched and well organized, but there were just SO many things wrong, I found that the glitches quickly got in the way of the material that was being presented.

So listen up! Here’s my newly-created list of 6 ironclad rules for presenting your next webinar.

  1. Don’t start late. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard, “Let’s just wait another couple of minutes for others who may be joining.” And usually this is said when we are already several minutes past the scheduled start time. The people who are on time are likely your best audience for whatever it is you are presenting. Don’t diss us by making us wait for stragglers. I’m less likely to attend your next webinar if you do.
  2. Don’t use a speakerphone. There’s not a speakerphone in the world that sounds as good as a wired headset or handset. If what you’re saying is worth me hearing, then please help me hear it cleanly and clearly. You’re taking a lazy shortcut by using a speakerphone. And never, EVER conduct a webinar from any kind of wireless phone.
  3. Go fullscreen! I don’t want to watch your slides in a PowerPoint edit window, surrounded by your desktop icons. Help me focus on your message, and not the fact that you use both Chrome and Firefox, and have a folder of photos from the last Club trip on your desktop. Fullscreen will also prevent your attendees from seeing “Click to Add Text” on a lot of your slides.
  4. Take a moment to shut down your email and messaging programs before you start. Incoming message pop-ups are always distracting to the audience, and could prove embarrassing to you or your company. If your webinar software has a feature to block your desktop from being shared, by all means use it.
  5. Run through your slides before you show them to your audience. In the webinar I attended, there were several instances of words being broken because they were too long or in too large a font size for the shapes into which they were placed. It makes you look sloppy and rushed.
  6. Look at the questions from attendees as they come in! It does no good if you wait until the end of the hour to notice that Jessica has said, “Speak up! Are you on a speakerphone?” during the first 5 minutes.