Leo Tolstoy began his masterpiece "Anna Karenina" with the sentence "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
Here's my twist on that great opening line: "All lousy webinars are alike; each good webinar is good by following a few principles."
Lousy webinars are an unfortunate fact of interconnected business life. It's great that you can sit at your desk, eat a sandwich and learn something. But these online presentations are almost always boring.
The reason they stink is almost always the samethey are PowerPoint slides with a never-ending voiceover. No one wants to stare at a computer screen while listening to a voice drone for an hour about lowering business risk.
But webinars don't have to stink if you follow a few principles.
Turn your webinar into a radio talk show
Instead of talking alone for an hour, turn the webinar into a radio-style interview.
We did a webinar on helping bank managers present to superiors. But I didn't speak for an hour by myself. I had a bank manager on the call with me. I asked him questions, and we worked through a presentation he had to give the following week.
It required that we prepare together in advance. But it was worth it.
Use technology to make your webinar interactive
All webinar services have interactive tools that allow listeners to ask questions and make comments, usually via a texting or a dialogue box. Some of the services have polling capabilities. Use those tools often.
I read a study that found that listeners' levels of attention drop to almost nothing after 15 minutes. But you can revive the attention with interactive activities. A great activity on a webinar is simply to ask the audience questions that they must answer in the "texting box."