One of the worst mistakes to be made when presenting a webinar is to show a lack of respect for the listeners. Yet many speakers don’t realize this is exactly what they are doing when they start a webinar late or begin with a drawn-out introduction.
There is seldom a valid, technical reason for a late start. And it is unfair to accommodate tardy arrivals at the expense of those who are prompt. As for the introduction, a lengthy celebration of the speaker’s career belongs in the promotional material, not the presentation. And finally, the historical background of the topic should be covered concisely, and only if it is truly relevant.
Webinars cost money, even when offered for free. Time is money. In addition to time, many webinars cost a significant amount of cash. Then the financial hit is a double whammy for listeners. So we can’t blame them when they are harsh critics if they feel there has been insufficient return on their investment.
Ken Molay, of the WebinarBlog.com, recently posted “Just Start Already” in protest of use of the phrase “before we get started”. Ken urges speakers to “skip the introduction and get to the information”. As he correctly points out, “Your audience knows why they are present. They didn’t just happen to be scanning the radio dial and trip across your webinar by accident.” (http://wsuccess.typepad.com/webinarblog , Sept 2011).
Webinar registrations often represent multiple listeners. One connection can actually be two to three people together in an office, or an even larger gathering in a conference room. Whether those listeners are groups of professionals or lone individuals, they don’t appreciate their time being wasted. They will undoubtedly be evaluating the benefit versus the cost.
Speakers need to live up to the expectations that were set when promoting the webinar. If presenters are worried that they don’t have enough useful material, they should consider scheduling a shorter webinar, or doing more research. Filler certainly isn’t needed; however, it is easily recognized.