When done right, a webinar can be an extremely effective tool for employee and commercial training.
Poorly done, it can bore its audience to tears worse than a late-night tele-shopping. The 5 tips in this article will help you get your webinars right every time.
Training webinars are increasingly popular these days. They have been adopted for employee training by all kinds of organisations, from large local authorities to SMEs and non-profits. They are also a very popular option in the commercial training space.
Quality and content-wise, though, most webinars out there are subpar, boring, and poorly made. Poor quality causes attendance to drop off quickly and audience engagement to suffer.
If you’d like to improve your training webinars, here’s a list of 5 handy tips to help you take them to the next level.
- Focus On The Content
Whether you’re creating a training webinar or an online training course, content is always king. Compared to having great content, everything else in this article comes secondary in attracting an audience.
So, how do you make great webinar content?
- For starters, your content should be on topic. Avoid digressions and asides.
- Second, your content should be brief. Distill the material as much as you can. Nobody has time for prolonged lectures.
- Third, you should prepare your content in advance. A lot of webinars are just some person improvising a lecture on camera. This looks amateurish. Instead, have your instructors write their content in advance, and work on it until it’s just perfect.
2. Focus On The Presentation
If content is king, presentation (namely, the way the instructor that delivers the content) comes a close second. Even the best content will fail to engage viewers if you present it dully.
If you already have a charismatic and engaging instructor, then you’re set. If not, here are a few tips you can use to improve the presentation of your training webinars:
- First, have your instructor rehearse the material before broadcast until they get their tone and flow right. They can do this in front of a mirror, or with a small test audience.
- Second, set up a teleprompter so that your instructors can be reminded of what they need to say next without having to stop and look down at their notes (which is a real flow killer). Teleprompters used to be quite expensive professional equipment, but nowadays their functionality is available in the form of cheap tablet apps. In a pinch, even a whiteboard placed behind the camera with an outline of the webinar will do.
- Finally, have the instructor add expression and emotion to the webinar. Hand gestures, facial expressions, and changes in the tone of voice help make a lecture more engaging. A couple of jokes thrown in can also help lighten the mood and draw viewers in.
3. Improve Your Production Values
The movie industry term “production values” refers to the quality of a broadcast, and covers things like image and sound quality, graphics, and other such aspects.
Modern equipment makes it easy to achieve a basic standard of production values. Basic, though, is not enough.
To make your online training webinars stand out, you should invest in upgrading your production values to a more professional level.
Start with your video:
- Make sure that the room looks clean and tidy, and opt for a visually uncluttered backdrop.
- Add subtle decorative elements and props to make the environment look more expensive and professional.
- Leverage any available natural light sources, and invest in a couple of led lights so that your instructor is well lit.
Next, take care of your sound:
- Invest in a high-quality microphone. The one that comes with your laptop or headset just won’t do.
- Make sure to suppress any noise from the outside world and nearby offices. A directional mike positioned close to the lecturer can help with that.
Last but not least, if you include any graphics in your webinar, make sure they look professional.
- Avoid obvious stock imagery. Always opt for natural looking stock when you need to use stock images and videos in your webinar. If in doubt, ask a graphic designer.
- Have your graphic designer rework your basic hand diagrams or Excel charts to something visually pleasing.
4. Add Interactivity
A training webinar can be much more than a one-way lecture.
The webinar tools supported in TalentLMS, for example, allow an instructor to have two-way interaction with their audience. Such tools are great for adding teleconference style discussion segments, Q&A sessions, and group work to your webinars.
Other virtual team training tools you can leverage include:
- Virtual whiteboards, which allow the instructor and audience members to share quick notes and diagrams
- Screen sharing, especially useful for teaching software use
- File sharing for exchanging notes, exercises, and other material
- Group chat for interactive discussion during the webinar
Adding such interactive training elements to a webinar will turn a passive audience into active participants—a guaranteed way to increase engagement and knowledge retention.
5. Provide Supporting Material
A great way to enrich the online training webinar experience is to give your audience extra material on the subject you’re covering. This material will allow viewers to study the subject further at their own pace and can help differentiate a webinar from others that begin and end with the live video feed.
Examples of such supplementary material are:
- A cheat sheet with the most important takeaways,
- A booklet that goes further in-depth,
- Short quizzes and exercises,
- Discount codes and special offers on related products,
- A text transcript or a podcast version of the webinar.
You should also post a recorded version of the webinar itself.
Having a recording available will allow the original audience to re-watch the lesson at their convenience. Plus, if you make it public, it will help attract new viewers for your content over time.