March 10, 2016 Carole Snitzer
How awesome are your webinars? That shouldn’t be a hard question, but for too many of us, too much of the time, it makes us stop and wonder if people are snoozing through them. Do you feel like you’re producing fantastic, useful content, but for some unknown reason it’s not connecting with your audience?
If you keep delivering the same webinar over and over without shaking up your format, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you’re leaving your audiences yawning instead of fist pumping. Fortunately, with a few easy tweaks, you can deliver a webinar that’ll make your fans sit up and take notice. Let’s consider seating arrangements. Sometimes all you have to do is shake up your webinar format to create a more engaging, interactive experience — and here are five ways to do just that:
The Chat Show
When you have a really great presenter, they don’t have to be an expert on everything. Instead, put them in the anchor chair and bring in subject-matter experts as guests. Your high-energy host can set the tone and keep things moving along at the proper pace, putting even camera-shy guest experts at ease. Meanwhile, the subject matter experts can share critical information and field audience questions in real time. It’s the perfect blend of education and entertainment. Imagine a Jimmy Fallon-type presenter hosting a webinar… your audience will for sure tune in and be engaged with this format.
The Panel Discussion
If you want to bring in several different expert perspectives, you may want to trade in the chat show for a panel discussion. In this format, the presenter becomes the moderator, leading a panel of subject-area experts in a lively conversation about the subject of the webinar. The moderator should come prepared with discussion topics, but the audience can contribute significantly, either by submitting their own questions or responding to in-event polls. This style can create a lively debate if you bring in presenters with differing views, making for a potentially very exciting group chat box.
The Coffee Talk
When it comes to casual and engaging webinar formats, you can’t beat a coffee talk. All you have to do is bring together three or four well-informed experts, give them a topic, and the webinar content creates itself. Coffee talks have a natural, conversational flow that feels fun and authentic. Your audience will want to get in on the conversation, so make you sure you provide plenty of opportunities for them to engage, such as Q&A, polls, surveys, or group chat boxes. The best part about this format is you likely won’t have to create any supporting slides.
Standard, lecture-style presentations are a time-honored strategy for delivering information to an audience. But why not mix it up a little? The question-and-answer interview format makes the audience feel like they’re getting the inside scoop. By moving your expert from the presenter’s podium to the interviewee’s chair, you may get a fresh perspective on the content. The interview format is a natural fit for guest speakers like customers, partners, analysts, or industry experts.
Live Case Study
There’s nothing like a case study. It gives prospects a chance to see how other companies are using your products and services and hear, first-hand, what they can expect from you. So why not turn your best case study into a webinar? Invite a satisfied customer to share their experience with your webinar audience. The presenter can guide the conversation, while video and screen share can be integrated into the webinar to help the customer share their story in a more visual-forward manner than you would normally be able to present a case study.
As long as you keep your webinars fresh and engaging, they will continue to be your best tool for engaging customers and prospects at any stage of the funnel. By simply moving around the seats and experimenting with alternative webinar formats, you may find that your webinars are easier to follow and your audience learns more and retains it longer — not to mention the fact that you get more effective branding for your company and both internal and external experts.