The Webinar You Sign Up For but Never Attend

How to transform your webinars and create virtual training with impact

We’ve all done it. You come across an intriguing webinar title, sign up, add it to your calendar, push it aside when the time comes, and promise to watch it when you have time.

Despite the easy-to-access webinar link in your inbox, the time never comes.

Webinar-style virtual training has become a popular method of providing content in the last five years. While cost-effective, they often do not produce much engagement or retention. On the other hand, training podcasts, microlearning, and animated training videos often use a similar delivery method but do typically see high-engagement and action. What’s the difference?

The delivery and the story.

Large-scale webinars have historically skipped past considering the way the content will be consumed. Regardless of the virtual training topic, the presenter sounds the same, and the title slide looks the same—both, typically, dull.

Then comes slide after slide of information, with an occasional stagnant pause for questions.

So, is the webinar dead? Far from it.

A great webinar is one that creates excitement and response. It uses impactful and to-the-point delivery and storytelling techniques from the get-go.

Before the Webinar
Generate engagement with an ask of your audience. Those who have signed up may have forgotten. Via email, ask them to do something—anything—before the webinar. This serves dual purposes: reminds them of the date and time of the webinar and causes a sense of obligation or expectation.

For example, “Thanks for signing up for our Hospital Safety webinar on April 1, 2020. Before you attend, please send me a quick email with your favorite ice cream flavor and an approximate number of hospital safety incidents that were found in the last OSHA review.”

Sync up all technical details and potential user issues well before the webinar begins.

During the Webinar
Start and end on time. Thirty minutes is an ideal amount of training time.

Direct anyone with technical issues to have a separate chat support session with the facilitator.

Begin with a story and pull that through the entire presentation. Use storytelling techniques—a good guy and a bad guy, a turning point, great visual elements, the omission of irrelevant information, and a resolution.

Weave in or summarize the tidbits of information participants shared in advance via a chart or other visual element.

Express genuine excitement about the topic. Use video so your audience can both see and hear. This gains attention and creates personalization.

After the Webinar
Avoid the lingering pause for questions entirely. Ask participants to email all questions to a specific webinar address or post them to a specific online site.

Follow up with each participant, again with an ask. Ask what they took away from the presentation. Ask what part they wanted more information about. This shows you care not only about their one-time webinar participation but truly helping them in the long-term.

By LHT Learning
| April 6, 2020