By "bad" webinars, I mean, "poor quality," for the following reasons. These reasons are presented in a list format, like many webinars giving health and wellness tips; some representative titles: "Top 5 Must-Do's for Small Business Wellness," "Top 5 Cost Neutral Wellness Program Strategies," and "14 Wellness Predictions for 2014."
I've listened to a lot of webinars since entering the world of health and wellness in December 2012, listening to those first live calls with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
Grab some stove-popped popcorn and read on.
I probably listen to at least one wellness-related webinar a week, averaging three or four a month. The average has been higher since September when I started the Catalyst Coaching Institute, a Colorado-based, NCQA-certified wellness coaching program. I discuss the frequency of my webinar-watching/listening to establish my credibility as a connoisseur of webinars. Perhaps that is overstatement, but it sounds good, which brings me to my first point.
1. Have a killer introduction.
People, learn to talk about yourselves. If you didn't have an elevator pitch, how would you get clients for your program/coaching service in the first place? As a job-seeker, I know I have to be on my toes for that inevitable, "So tell me about yourself." Notice how that question almost always begins with "so." Hwaet!
Introductions and elevator pitches are simple: who are you, what do you do, and who's your audience. The long form of your introduction can include a why and how.
2. Technical issues.
Sympathy but no sympathy. Learn the technology and use it well; that's within your control. If it's an issue outside of your control, record yourself and share it with your attendees via email, Dropbox, Google Drive, YouTube, etc. People like flexibility for viewing webinars anyway. Plus you can re-use your recorded material for marketing and future presentations.
For the love of cats, do not red from a sheet of paper or kindle or another screen! I had a professor at Princeton who read her lectures, which were beautifully written, but we all knew how nervous she was. Never let them see you sweat! if you must read, at least learn how to read with inflection. Also, avoid reading the slideshow word for word as well.
Instead, write more sparse slides, include a handout, and lecture or chat, depending on the subject of the presentation (taking the position of expert, or coach, or peer). I thought you were an expert?
Uptalk, stop the uptalk PLEASE, especially women. Own your words. Uhs, ums, and other public speaking no-nos still apply, and the audience most of the time can't even see you! No "I don't know," "kinda," "sorta," and other equivocations. Speak what you mean. If you couch your language, you're making your (perhaps) viable points into benchwarmers. See what I did there? Practice and confidence.
Recently, I watched a webinar by a decorated corporate wellness company and the webinar was supposed to be about small business. Bait and switch! Nope, they said that was a topic for another webinar (free, I hope?!) and the case study was for a LARGE business. Shouty capitals. Consistency, people. Don't waste the audience's time. Most people watch these things when they are at work or want to sleep. Make it worthwhile. Whether it's free or paid, DELIVER. That's how you build credibility for your brand.
5. Handouts, Supporting Matter, and Questions: the Human Interaction Aspect
Slap a watermark on your slides and share them. Get a Creative Commons license. Upload it to YouTube. Share your materials! If it's a free webinar, go for it! If it's paid, share it with the paying customers. People like STUFF in exchange for our time or money (besides the occasional SPHR continuing education credit).
Now, you're probably thinking, if I may impose, "If you're so awesome at webinars, Q, why don't you give a webinar?" Yeah, why don't I? Who wants to hear a vegan, gluten-free holiday survival webinar?
Let me know in the comments below and I will host one in December, via Google+ Hangouts.