I sat in on two webinars yesterday. They were the first ones in a long time, and it reminded me why I rarely sign up for them anymore. Here are some ideas I jotted down during to improve webinars.
Webinars should start on time, end on time, and be no longer than 30 minutes. Speakers shouldn’t use so much of their time with anecdotes explaining why the subject is important; the fact that people signed up is proof enough they know it’s important. Case studies should be available for reading on speakers’ blogs, but not elaborated on in the webinar (takes too much time and aren’t always applicable). The majority of the 30 minutes should be dedicated to helping the audience take next steps. When I attend a webinar I’m looking for advice spawned from the speaker’s trial and error. For instance, what tools are great (or less great, but free), what roadblocks will I probably hit when I start taking the next steps (and how can I decrease headache), what are great books on this subject, who else can I consult for help? Also, webinars are such a wasted networking opportunity. It would be cool to have the option to share some kind of contact info (email, Twitter, blog) with the group — to find others you’d like to connect with, and/or keep in touch with as you both make progress with next steps. Also, consider Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 Rule when creating the slidedeck. Demonstrate live as opposed to showing screenshots when possible. Make it clear how the audience should follow up with questions (email, Twitter, Facebook), and say "I’ve blocked off the next hour of my schedule to be able to quickly respond to any questions." (I always need to let things sink in a little, and often have to jump off the webinar to do something else, especially when it runs over the allotted time)