by Adam Noar
You have to run a great webinar, they say.
It’ll be FUN, they say.
Just about everyone –and I’m generalizing here – agrees that a webinar is the single best way to get your product or services in front of people.
Webinars make the most of the Millennial preference for modern networking by blending technology, real-time video, screen time, live chat, surveys, IMing and consumer input.
What’s not to love?
You know what people don’t love? They don’t love root canals. They also don’t love crappy webinars. In fact, four out of five people would rather sit through a root canal than a wretched webinar.
I confess that I made up that last stat. It could be five out five.
You’re probably thinking, well genius, then what makes a GREAT webinar?
Sit tight, ‘cuz I got your back on this one.
In my opinion, here is what makes a great webinar:
OMG! I know, it’s shocking beyond belief.
Hold the presses!
Wait, you mean you should actually learn on webinars?
After all, most webinars are trade-offs of some kind. You give a complete stranger your contact information, so you oughtta get something in return. A little quid pro quo, if you know what I mean.
The best webinars = big takeaways and make you think.
Every time I attend one, I’m looking for that nugget of information – and it’s always there—that’s going to leave me with my own AHA! moment.
People are information-hungry. They have plenty of questions, and they want answers for all of them. Webinar attendees are looking for advice for an expert who’s been there, survived, and can be the Sherpa for others going through something similar.
On the other hand, the worst webinars are seas of fluff. They waste your time and make counting strands of finely spun cotton candy seem like a fulfilling hobby.
Go pet a bunny; you’ll enjoy it more, and Fluffy will be grateful for the attention.
I know this is Captain Obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a webinar and wanted to reach through the computer screen to clap in front of the presenter’s face and say WAKE UP!!
WAKE US ALL UP!
Your webinar topic might be insanely boring to most ordinary attendees, but by God, if YOU’RE thrilled about the hermaphroditic sex life of the ordinary earthworm, I’M going to be just as excited for the frisky fellows. Cheering them on. Sexting about their success. Penciling in the baby shower on my calendar. Go earthworms, go!
So how do you generate that kind of excitement in your webinar?
Find your real passion.
Begin with a topic you find engaging, but don’t stop there. Identify the most interesting thing about the subject you’ll be speaking on. Now go deeper. What are some of the juicy trade secrets related to your topic? Which of these secrets are the newest?
The nexus of necessity and novel . . . THAT’s what you share in your webinar.
Passion, excitement and enthusiasm are all contagious.
You’ve gotta get some of that stuff on EVERYTHING.
A little mystery, intrigue & curiosity.
A special surprise for showing up?
Just for moi? Oh, you shouldn’t have. But I am sooooo glad you did.
Webinar attendees have to give up 45-60 minutes of their valuable time to hang with you. As each one of those minutes ticks by, they’re gauging whether they should stay or go. Most of them want to go.
To keep everyone on the edge of their seats and tuned in, set up the content of the webinars with teasers sprinkled throughout the content. Save the best tip for last, or announce the giveaway everyone’s been waiting for.
A super cool giveaway (like we are doing today, hehe . . . no seriously, it is the most super cool giveaway ever today and it is a surprise).
Not a free kitten, but something you can actually use that won’t claw your furniture to death. Quicksprout recommends these giveaways because they’re (relatively) free:
- A related e-book
- A PDF transcript of the webinar
- The webinar recording
- Brief coaching – for free
- A useful PDF checklist or other special offer
Curiosity didn’t kill the cat; it made the webinar even better.
Great stories: Yes, you want big takeaways (the most important part of the webinar), but stories inspire. They are memorable.
Storytelling brings you and your audience right back to home plate.
In fact, two-thirds of our lives center on storytelling. People love telling about themselves and others. That’s part of the reason why gossip isn’t going away anytime soon.
While webinars aren’t necessarily a story-fest, the great ones have stories woven in for context and to make things real.
Tell me a story, and you will not only enthrall me, but you’ll have me eating out of your hand, figuratively speaking. Unless you have cinnamon rolls, and then I would quite literally eat out of your hand.
That’s because our brains have been engineered to react favorably to stories. Great stories use these secrets:
Sensory details – Mark Twain once said, “Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.”
Now there’s an image for you: an elderly woman yelling at the top of her lungs. You’ve combined sight and hearing to produce this picture for your story. Stories that use MORE senses immerse us in the experience – and we LOVE it.
Similes and metaphors – Remember these comparisons from your school days? Metaphors match up two things by saying one thing is another (unlike the simile that uses like or as):
SIMILE: The couple was as drunk in love as a pair of red-collared lorikeets sipping on fermented fruit.
METAPHOR: The drunk-in-love couple was a pair of red-collared lorikeets sipping on fermented fruit.
Action verbs – Get straight to the action by telling your attendees what you want them to do. Leave out weak linking and helping verbs like are/was/is/could/might . . . it’s a long list. Instead, ask attendees to click the button, sign up, schedule a session.
Create a dynamic mash-up of these techniques throughout your storytelling, and you’ll keep everyone with you right to the end.
5.) Humility (i.e., Being Real)
NO Guru attitude: I hate the word guru.
It’s got creepster connotations.
Seriously, the Greek and Sanskrit cognates of guru mean heavy and serious. I have nothing against those ancient societies and cultures — just their word GURU.
It’s been appropriated by people who couldn’t separate their need for extreme adoration from being a respected spiritual teacher.
The word guru makes me cringe and want to take a hot shower. In lye.
When the presenter has the “holier than though” attitude and “I never-ever-ever-ever make mistakes, muhahaha, you are all dumb-dumbs unless you listen to me!” . . . it’s a major turn-off.
I don’t care how much you know. I want to know how much you care. Let’s start there, shall we? A little humility goes a long way.
You wanna know the best webinars?
They’re led by less than perfect people. The presenters are themselves . . . flops, oops, flaws and all. Your hair sticks up all weird? Your daughter walks in while you were talking to the audience? You spewed water on the camera lens the ONE time you took a sip during the webinar?
Sometimes those are the BEST moments in the webinar because they show me how real you are.
You are just as fallible as me and everyone else in the world. And that’s OKAY.
We’re in this together.
Things will go wrong during the webinar. You’ll find a typo on slide 27. Your coffee will spill. The tech won’t work – just when you need it most.
But here’s a useful tip: If you’re worried about getting the technology to work smoothly, use two computers. If one freezes up during a slide transition, go to the backup computer.
How you handle yourself in the face of adversity tells me a lot about you. It tells me that you’re REAL.
And if you’re real, just maybe I can be my real self, too.
6.) A GREAT Offer
This goes without saying, but the best webinars have a KILLER offer that has attendees wind-sprinting (errr, or typing really fast!) to take advantage of it.
They’ve got to get to that offer before it evaporates quicker than Leonardo DiCaprio’s cologne on a hot and humid day in New Orleans. Sorry if that visual sticks in your head for the rest of the day.
There is an art and a science to making a great offer that people LOVE.
In some webinars, the offer is just awkward and weird. It’s clunky. It comes across as affected and disingenuous.
In other cases, the offer is a hard sales pitch. The presenter waits until the last few minutes of the webinar to make the offer and then drives it home like a rookie player trying to hang on to his pro ball contract.
Or the webinar is going great, but then the offer comes outta nowhere. The attendees are all wondering where THAT came from.
Instead, trying pitching your offer up front. At the beginning. Get it out of the way so you can concentrate on the webinar’s message. Even have fun along the way.
The best offer is organic. It should be as harmonious with the content as an a capella quartet.
The best webinars have an offer that makes sense as the next logical step.
They make me worried that I’ll be missing out if I don’t take action NOW, as in RIGHT THIS SECOND NOW.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a list of 318 Ways to Make Your Home Look Spotless without Cleaning Anything or it’s an exclusive offer for services I can’t get at this price anywhere else in the universe.
I want it, and I want it NOW.
Conclusion (Putting it together)
Some people will tell you that making a great webinar is similar to cooking with a recipe. All you need is a pinch of this, a dash of that . . . you know the routine. Recipes are pretty predictable, though.
Follow the directions, and you get the same end product every time.
I like to think that every GREAT webinar is more like a Rube Goldberg machine.
Imagine that someone wants to do a fairly simple task, like cracking an egg for breakfast or turning on a light switch. In theory, the Rube Goldberg machine takes a simple task and complicates it beyond belief. And it’s funny.
For example, a man picks up his coffee cup, which releases a string holding a pendulum. The pendulum swings, knocking over a vase. When pieces from the vase hit a ball, the ball rolls forward, bumping an arm that reaches up to turn on the switch.
Goldberg’s machine solves a problem in a clever way. It’s better than a recipe because it’s structured but not always predictable.
A Rube Goldberg machine incorporates whismy.
Most of the time, there’s even a story behind the contraption.
It’s the perfect metaphor for a webinar because great metaphors require intentional planning . . . along with a willingness to have some fun during the hour we spend playing together.
Just a GREAT webinar.
Do you agree? Disagree?
Which of the tips have YOU found most useful?
What have your webinar experiences been like?
Tell me in the comments section below.