Master Your Message Blog

Seven Secrets to Effective Webinars

Ever sat through a webinar and had no idea where it was going? I did this morning. I logged off after 20 minutes.

a webinar is a presentationThis webinar was presented by a well-known corporation that provides “back-end” sales and marketing software for small business owners. And yet, in the first twenty minutes, they hadn’t explained what the product does … they hadn’t outlined a problem or challenge that it overcame … they hadn’t outlined an agenda … and I came to the conclusion that they had no idea where they were going and that the rest of the websinar was going to be just as productive.

A webinar is a presentation!

A webinar is a presentation. To be effective it has to follow the same rules – that’s the secret! It’s really no big secret. But, most of the time, it doesn’t happen, in my experience.

Let’s dig a bit deeper. If you’re planning a webinar, here are seven rules I’d suggest you follow.

1. Know your audience. This webinar was directed to small business owners. In my experience, the personality style of most small business owners is “to the point.”

The mindset is, “Tell me what I need to know in 30 seconds or less and let me go save the world and make a buck!”

Yet, for twenty minutes, we heard two stories – one from a recent client who told a luke warm customer-service  story and a second story had just started, which the host had suggested was going to last 15 minutes … when I decided that was enough. I don’t think small businesspeople have the time to listen to stories without any idea what point they’re supporting.

2. Start with a problem … my problem. If you start by outlining a problem that your audience experiences, you’ll hook them right off the bat. If we share similar experiences and they’re impeding progress in some way, you’ve got my attention. We’re “on the same page.” I want to know the solution.

3. Follow with the solution. Tell me why your product or service solves the problem better than anything else out there. Now, I’m double intrigued!

4. The “why” that follows should consist of key points you want to make followed by an example or story. Make a point, tell a story – in that order. That’s the body of your webinar.

Stories are powerful, but not without and point. But, make sure the point comes first, then tell the story to illustrate.

5. Tell me where you’re going. Tell me right up front what this hour-long webinar is all about and what you want to achieve by the end of it. What do you want me to know, understand, or do? I’m going to feel much more comfortable with the content and with you – because you’re being honest with me right up front.

6. Tell me about your incentive. I had joined this webinar because a friend had told me that there were some great pricing incentives as part of the webinar in a product I was already interested it. But, the host didn’t even mention them! If you have a great offer at the end, that’s probably a reason for me to stick around. So tell me right up front.

7. Agonize over what you put on the screen. The first slide in this presentation was “Why we are hear.” Not only was it a spelling error (which suggested to me that they’re a sloppy organization and their products and services might reflect that … ), but they didn’t actually tell me why we were here. Two strikes  … right off the bat!

A disorganized webinar (or presentation) can reflect very badly on your excellent products and services.

I likely wouldn’t attend another one of their webinars based upon this performance. Don’t let that happen to you. These seven secrets are not very difficult goals to achieve. But, they are SO important!

It’s so simple to turn a ho-hum experience into a winning webinar that exceeds even your own expectations … and leads to long-term relationships.


Comments for this Post

  • Nirav March 5, 2013, 8:22 am

    Good article Peter. Do you think webinars can be better than live presentations? If so, how?

    • Peter Temple March 5, 2013, 8:43 am

      The short answer is “No, I don’t.” This is a great subject for a blog post … thanks!
      There’s the presence of someone onstage that’s much more powerful than a visual representation. That’s clear when we do Skype presentations.

      I’m past president of The Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (Calgary) and during our very well attended monthly meetings we sometimes “beam in” a professional speaker from the US. We’ve had great feedback that 20 minutes is about all anyone can stand of it (even though these speakers are some of the best in the world. That’s certainly not the case with a live speaker. After an hour and a half, the audience can be left begging for more.

      There are other examples, like interactivity, emotional appeal, and more … but I’ll earmark this for a blog entry …


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