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Five Ways Webinars Put Me to Sleep

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WARNING: The following blog consists mainly of a rant against boring webinars

Dear Webinar Presenters and Producers,

Five Ways Webinars Put Me to Sleep image sleep cartoon2If I’m going to sign up for a 60-minute webinar, I want to be entertained!  AND I want to participate. I DON’T want to just watch (actually ‘watch’ is a strong word because most of the time there isn’t even anything to watch and I may as well be on an audio conference).  If all I wanted to do was watch (or listen) to consume content, I may as well wait for the webinar recording or pick a video to watch instead.

With all the great advanced web conferencing and webinar technology out there for making webinars engaging, dynamic, interactive, and participatory, I don’t understand why I have to suffer through 60 minutes of blah to get at the content I’m seeking.

Here are five unfortunately common webinar practices that put me to sleep:

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Snooze by PowerPoint:  If I have to sit through one more 60 minute webinar with nothing but slides, I’m going to boycott webinars entirely. Slides with some pictures are visually interesting but if there are not enough slides or the slides are infested with too much text instead of something visually appealing, I nod off.  I can’t see the speaker so I need something else visually stimulating to keep my interest.  A new slide every 1-5 minutes is just not going to cut it for me.

Moderated Q&A: Again, not interesting. I can’t see the speaker and now I can’t see other participants’ interactions either. I understand that moderated Q&A is the norm for large public events, but throw webinar attendees a bone every so often and pull in an Open Chat for us to give our input or ask questions so we don’t feel so alone in cyberspace.  ‘Anonymize’ the names if you wish, but let us interact with each other every once in a while – otherwise we’ll just do it on Twitter instead.

Non-relevant poll:  Well at least I get to click on something!  But please don’t ask me something you already know or bring in a poll just to check a box for interactivity.  I want to provide valuable input relevant to the topic and see what my fellow webinar attendees think too.  I’d like to get my brain working and engaged with the content, not just my mouse-clicking finger.  Put some meat on that poll please!

Same old layout for 60 minutes: Snooze fest!  I’d like something new to look at every once in a while. Staring at a static screen for 30-60 minutes is not going to cut it when I’m in Outlook-withdrawal.  How about moving things around or bringing in some new elements every so often – preferably an interactive exercise or something dynamic that enhances the message.

Lack of creativity: PowerPoint, poll, PowerPoint, Q&A session.   I’m bored just writing that out.  How about a video that illustrates the point, or an mp3, or web link pod with an interesting website or resource, or a file share pod with handouts or case studies?    A YouTube video?  Streaming of a webcam every so often?  How about a couple of Open Chat pods so one half of us can comment on pros and the other half can give cons (or comment on different topics)?  Or perhaps a contest with the submission of ideas/answers that attendees get to vote on?  Of course, it all has to work in a way that’s relevant to the content, but certainly ditching the PowerPoint every so often can be accomplished.

Let’s put the power of webinar technology to use and make dynamic interactivity a priority! Please?

- Bored in Cyberspace

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