Note: The following open letter is my reaction to a couple of recent frustrating and off-putting webinars. I'm sure we've all been there a few times.
Dear Webinar Presenter,
First, I would like to thank you for sharing your knowledge. I totally understand you may have a product or service to sell and I am totally fine with listening to your spiel in exchange for the free information you are sharing. Who knows, I may find your information so valuable that I choose to buy what you are offering in order to get more. If you are hoping to increase your results, here are a few pointers from an ex-teacher to help you along the way.
Teaching Adults Is A Lot Like Teaching Kindergartners:
This is not a slam against adults. The reasons are different, but the outcome is the same. If you want to teach 5 year olds, you need to attract and hold their attention. Older children have been in school long enough to know they are expected to just sit and listen. Adults have lived long enough to decide what they will and will not spend their time listening to. Therefore, you need to attract, and hold their attention.
Get To The Point:
A little background about the presenter is wonderful and helps to set the validity of that person’s authority on the subject. (i.e. giving us more reason to listen to what they say) However, when you drone on for the first fifteen minutes, you start to loose us. After the quick pleasantries, please jump right into the content. If you start trying to sell your service or product at this point, our spammy salesman/woman red flag goes up.
STOP With The 20 (or 100) Questions!
I sense that you are enjoying your new toy - being able to see comments in real time, but when you ask a gazillion questions, you are wasting time and detracting from the content. You were probably told that teachers ask questions to increase engagement. Here is the rest of the story.
Teachers ask questions for a few different reasons.
- They may ask a question to see if people are paying attention. However, you are not in an elementary school classroom, and we do not need to be tested. If you want us to pay attention, provide great content and we will busily take notes (which means it is harder to type answers to your questions.)
- They may ask questions to check for understanding. This can be helpful, but when overused, it is annoying (trust me on this one.) When teachers do this, they do it so that they can adjust their teaching style and content, not to show off how much they know. Questions that only have one correct answer are not really helpful and result in less participation. Adults will tend to opt out of answering for fear of answering incorrectly.
- They may ask questions to provoke deeper thought. Open ended questions can help the listener to ponder the topic and broaden their ideas. These can also be helpful and you may even get some ideas from the responses. However, you need to be careful with these as well, since they can lead you off topic.
Yelling Does Not Equal Passion:
We love to listen to folks who sound passionate about what they do. However, just raising your voice or out and out yelling does not endear you to us. While we are at it, if you spend a large percentage of your time criticizing or putting people down, you are not helping yourself. You don’t have to be artificially cheery, but if you set a negative tone, you will most likely get negative results.
Show Us Something:
Take a little time to prepare those slides that go along with your webinar. The best webinar presenters have slides that show us something interesting (and keep us from checking facebook while we listen.) You don’t need to have a million slides containing every word you speak (please don’t,) but the visuals really help to keep us engaged.
Give And Ye Shall Receive:
Yes, when you share valuable content that people can use immediately without having to buy your product, you will increase your sales. People are bombarded with information. If yours stands out in the crowd, they will view you as the expert that you are. They will appreciate what you have freely shared, and be left wanting more. Those without the means will still rave about you, and those with the means are more likely to take you up on your offer. Disparaging those who in your view are too silly to buy your product will not help you to win over more customers.
So there you have it. I hope these pointers are helpful and you receive them in the spirit they were intended. We do not expect perfection and can appreciate how difficult it is, and the practice it may take, to become an awesome webinar presenter. More power to you!
Current Realtor® and former Kindergarten Teacher (many moons ago)
Another Note: I have purposely refrained from naming individual presenters and have no desire to get into a cyber bashing of particular people. I prefer to default to the thought that they honestly know not what they do and just wanted to offer some handy tips.