Successful Webinar Courses: It’s Not Just PowerPoint

When I talk with people who are considering doing their own webinar courses, I sometimes hear the comment, “I just use PowerPoint, right?” Ugh. Because, this is what they remember of someone else’s webinar! It tells me their experience was more like a snoozefest. What you really want your attendees to express when they talk to someone about it later is one or more of the following:

  • Wow!
  • It was great to get answers to my questions.
  • I can’t wait to implement everything I learned.
  • Suzanne is an engaging trainer.
  • I’m now following Company X on Twitter.
  • I’ve signed up for the next webinar in the series!

Much better reactions, no? If this is how you want your attendees to remember your training, consider the following before your next event:

Get clear on the goal of your course
This sounds obvious but I hear things like “learn the new software”.  Eh, that’s it? I want you to flesh it out more. There must be multiple actions you want your learners to be able to perform afterwards. What are they?

Don’t let PowerPoint drive your presentation design
This is very common. Of course PowerPoint is used as a foundation; there’s nothing wrong whatsoever with this. Just don’t let it limit you in the outcome you want. Now that you know what your goal is from the step above, let THAT drive your presentation design.

For example, let’s say you are training customers and want to get them excited about a new tool on your website: By all means, share it live! Even further, give an audience member control and have them use the tool while you guide them. Another example: You’re presenting information about legislation that could affect your audience. Alright, so create a little “test” using polls to see if they understand how they will be affected. People will remember the answers better than if you do a data dump.

Take advantage of engagement tools
Tools like polling and chat should always be part of your presentation. I sometimes sense that presenters are just scared to veer from the presentation itself…“Let me just get through this.” But incorporating polls and chat gives you the opportunity to establish and maintain connection with your audience. I have so much fun calling on attendees to respond to me through chat or reading responses out loud. People love hearing their name called out over the webinar waves! As long as the polls and questions you ask of your audience are relevant to the topic, there’s no miss on this. And hello, it’s adults…who doesn’t love sharing their own experience and opinion (through chat) with the rest of the group?

I typically set the chat so only presenters can view; this way I can monitor what’s relevant and engaging. Think outside the box as there are many creative ways to use polling and chat; I’ll be sure to write more about this in the future.

Good luck!

Corena Bahr is a webinar consultant and producer determined to end the average webinar snoozefest. Through her consulting company, YourWebinarGuru, she teaches how to transform one-way marketing webinars into two-way interactive learning experiences that deliver value, build relationships and add income.