Tip 24 – Use pictures to show what you mean
I was hosting a Webinar some time ago in which the audience were all from countries where English is not the first language. All attendees spoke excellent English, however.
For the digital ice-breaker, I used the traditional world map. I asked the participants to add their pointer to indicate where they were in the world.
I found myself having to explain at length where on the screen to click to activate the pointer.
Even though I thought I was explaining really carefully, several members of the audience just couldn’t find the button at the top left of screen. It wasn’t a problem with the software or their computers.
Unfortunately, I had to abandon the icebreaker with only a few pointers successfully added to the map. The activity wasn’t completely ruined but the discussion was curtailed and so the start to the Webinar was much less effective than should have been.
So, what was the problem and what was the solution?
When reflecting on the session afterwards, I realised that the answer was simple:
I should have shown the audience a screenshot of where the tool was first, before asking them to use it.
A simple screenshot taken from point of view of the participant with a big, red circle around the pointer tool would have done the job and cut through the confusion immediately.
In my experience, those who are comfortable with finding tools are rarely put off by the host taking the time to support others but I imagine listening to me trying to explain – in vain – where this tool was must have been a little annoying.
The use of a simple picture would have meant not having to rely on the way in which I phrased my verbal explanation.
Many aspects of running a Webinar could be approached in the same way. You could have:
- A presentation at hand with screenshots of all regularly-used tools to use whenever necessary in your Webinar
- A document to distribute alongside the joining instructions
- A screencast detailling common activities in the Webinar
How to make screenshots
Grabbing screenshots is very easy and there are lots of free tools available but if haven’t got any of these to hand, Microsoft Word and Open Office both allow you to save pasted-in screenshots as images which you can then share easily in your Webinar.
If you only have an older version of Word, save your document as a web page and you’ll find that your image is automatically saved for you in a folder alongside your HTML web page.
…don’t rely on verbal explanations alone – help your audience out by letting them see what you are talking about. You can end up wasting a lot less time and making participant use of tools much more effective which will contribute to a more effective Webinar.
Creative Commons image credit: Martin Beek | Copyright music credit (used by permission): Mike Murphy
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