By Kate Uhry
Well-done webinars are like well-taught classes. They have a teacher who knows their stuff, engages the students, teaches them something mind-blowing, and leaves them wanting to come back. Bad webinars are either boring presentations, or worse, experiences that leave you feeling like you’ve just wasted an hour of precious time.
As a company presenting a webinar, your relationship with your audience is critical. If you have done your homework leading up to the webinar, you’ve already picked a topic that interests them. You’ve selected the right time to hold the webinar, found your guest speakers, created a slide deck, and practiced what you are going to say. In the midst of focusing on preparations, it can be easy to forget that your audience consists of influencers, decision makers, and thinking beings who are going to judge you on the effectiveness of your presentation.
If you aren’t honest with them, they’ll see it. Like frighteningly insightful kindergarteners, they’ll know if you are lying. They’ll know if you don’t know your stuff. And they could decide, based on their experience with your webinar, that they don’t want to do business with you. No pressure.
Because a webinar subconsciously reflects the setup and expectations of a classroom—the place where most adults spent the majority of their time learning to learn—it has a set of underlying rules. The audience expects the presenter to teach them something of value, present the truth, and have facts, logic, and history to back up their claims.
If a webinar doesn’t follow those rules, and instead becomes a place where the presenter and company isn’t truthful or genuine, it can undermine your entire relationship with your audience. Strive instead for transparency and authenticity by doing the following:
- If you are throwing out facts or statistics, show the research to back it up. Cite your resources and your methodology.
- If you are stating an opinion, say so but tell your audience why your opinion is worth listening to.
There is a fine line between manipulating an audience and engaging an audience. Solid lead generation techniques, such as polling your audience during the webinar, breaking the ice with a joke, or responding to questions and comments, engage the audience. Strategies like withholding the most important piece of information until the end, inserting pitches for your latest book, or asking them to grab one of the 10 appointments available on your calendar before someone else does are manipulative.
Stick with honesty, transparency, and authenticity in your webinar. You’ll find that your audience will respond in kind. As a result, you may end up with lifelong customers.