4 Ways to Ruin A Webinar

social media graph - the anti-social mediaI watch a lot of webinars. It’s how I learn about all the things going on in the social media so I can complain effectively about them.

However, most often, I watch a lot of bad webinars. These are presented by people who really should be getting paid to keep their mouth shuts, rather than getting paid to speak.

Here’s where most webinars break down from being a learning experience to a snark experience:

  • Terrible Examples - I once heard a presenter say “This slide says recent, but it’s really two years old.” Is it that hard to change a few words powerpoint slide? When you say you’re teaching about a subject, I want clear, relevant examples that relate to that subject. I don’t need your baggage and your madness. Just examples I can go think about and relate to my work.
  • Boring Content - With a webinar, you’ve got one chance to wow me, and when you don’t wow me, I remember. Someone is paying you to present this content. Make it interesting and relevant to your audience.
  • Horrific Graphics - Just as a clear, well-thought graphic can do a lot of help a webinar, a small, blurry graphic can drag it into the abyss. My personal favorite is when the presenter uses a graph, but fails to label the x-axis and y-axis. Of course I can interpret your graph accurately with no context! Thanks for being so considerate! Make sure people can understand what the heck you are trying to tell them, and that your graphic is clear enough any idiot on the internet can understand it.
  • A Voice That Puts me to Sleep - The only thing that’s even worse then being bored to death by the content is a presenter who’s even more boring. Most likely, I don’t have any visual representation of you, so your voice needs to do a lot of work. If you sound bored by what you’re presenting, I am too.

Do you hate webinars as much as I do? Have you learned anything from them? I want to know if there are webinars out there that aren’t for chumps.


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21 Responses to “4 Ways to Ruin A Webinar”

  1. Charlotte April 11, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    I have NEVER witnessed a webinar that wasn’t a complete waste of everyone’s time. And, minor aside: the word “webinar” itself is really pretty repulsive.

    • Jay April 11, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

      I waned to die with the number of times I typed WEBINAR writing this post.

  2. Rob April 11, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    You know who puts on the absolute WORST webinars? The US Postal Service. I wanted to jam letter openers into my eyes. The content wasn’t that terribly interesting, but it was something I wanted to be more informed on. The first person had an accent so thick that you couldn’t understand but every other word. Then the next drone came on and eased everyone’s frustrations by putting them to sleep. Another one I attended had a tough time muting all the mics, so it was a disaster while they tried to get everyone to shut up long enough to tell them to mute their own phones.
    Marketing Savant puts on some decent webinars about social media. However, I think it’s the lack of interactivity that makes webinars so bad. It’s like you’re in a boring lecture in school. They should take a hint from Hollywood, make everything in 3-D!!!!

    • Jay April 11, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

      Not just 3D, EYE POPPING 3D!

  3. Claire Wagner April 11, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    I’ve had good luck with Charity Howto (for nonprofits) and Mari Smith is always entertaining. I’ve done well with many Hubspot webinars except the last one had 24,000 people and a lot of them had audio and video problems. That was redonkulous. Rent a stadium next time. And it was pretty funny watching the tweetchat get jammed. Everyone was preoccupied with tweeting instead of listening.

    • Jay April 12, 2011 at 9:08 am #

      I hate tweet chats. I tried to get involved in #blogchat once and I thought I died and was being put into hell where everyone just tweeted at me relentlessly.

  4. Joe Clay April 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    I’ve never watched one, and I never plan to.

    • Jay April 12, 2011 at 9:08 am #

      You’re not missing much besides bad power point slides.

  5. Gini Dietrich April 11, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    I was actually just talking with a friend about how impersonal webinars are in this digital world. Here we talk about engagement and participation and webinars are about the least engaged you can get. We keep experimenting to find ways to make the work. But, the truth of the matter is, until you can SEE people, they’ll always be impersonal. And boring.

    • Jay April 11, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

      I can’t wait for people to watch me as I present so I can take a minute of my presentations and show off my cat.

      Or have her puke in the background.

      • Gini Dietrich April 11, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

        Can she do that on command?!

        • Jay April 12, 2011 at 9:08 am #

          Sometimes I think so.

      • Christy Tarner April 15, 2011 at 1:56 am #

        I think you should develop an entire webinar in which Chibi is the presenter. I think it would be far more entertaining than ones I’ve attended. Probably more informative too.

  6. Rico Mossesgeld April 11, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    I’m still trying to read what your graph said. “Lulz”? “Luv”? It’s a mystery that will take up my entire day, thank you very much.

    • Jay April 12, 2011 at 9:09 am #

      There is no secret message. Just a crazy line.

  7. logbennett April 12, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    I hate it when webinars don’t teach you anything, they only try and sell you stuff. Especially when the webinar is advertised as educational.

    The Green Guerilla

  8. Christy Tarner April 15, 2011 at 1:54 am #

    Before I started writing full-time, I worked for an international business outsourcing corporation. That’s a fancy name for we had call centers all over the world. As a part of the ongoing management development, we had to “attend” so many hours each quarter, plus any ones with “pertinent” information. They didn’t call them webinars.They were called courses in Ourcompanysname University, as though that made them any more desirable.

    They were occasional trips to the pits of corporate hell, each an hour and a half of my life I will never get back.

  9. Michael LaRocca April 16, 2011 at 1:48 am #

    Thanks for this. I’m giving my first webinar (a freebie) on May 24, and I’m not gonna advertise it. People will find me if they give a sh*t. I’m just thanking you for telling me what to avoid. In the past I’ve always lectured in the classroom, where if I bored people I could throw erasers at them and remind them they paid MONEY for this.

    • Joe Clay April 16, 2011 at 2:04 am #

      You could try yelling into the mic randomly for a similar effect.

      • Michael LaRocca April 16, 2011 at 2:42 am #

        The universities in China learned not to give me a microphone or I’ll start doing beat-box noises. I never did that in Thailand, though. I don’t know why.

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