When I was on my first teaching practice, I planned interesting, exciting activities for the class. However, when I was actually in front of the children, I abandoned the plans in favour of safe activities I knew would keep them ‘busy’.
The lessons were fine, the children learned but it wasn’t the stimulating experience it could have been. It didn’t encourage deeper learning, it wasn’t that motivating. It was safe but there was less chance for me to develop as a teacher and less chance for the children to develop skills, knowledge and enjoyment!
In a Webinar, the same can happen if you either abandon your plans for exciting an experience in favour of safety or even always plan for the least risky option.
The feedback I received from my supervisor when she looked at the plans was that there were great ideas which would have made a great lesson. She asked me why I had abandoned them.
She also pointed out my strengths which could engage children. For example, I played the guitar which was bound to motivate the children and motivated, engaged children will do anything for a teacher they feel really connected to via music or another talent.
So that’s what I did – I built my guitar and music into a lot of lessons which was very successful.
But it was risky. I recently heard about Cliff Ravenscraft singing at a conference. He arranged in advance for others in the audience to stand up and join in so a ground swell of singing was created. This had nothing at all to do with his presentation but made a connection with the audience so when he started his real presentation, the audience were already receptive to his message.
Im not saying that each Webinar you run needs to be risky or try out every new tool and approach – you’ve got to be sensible and remember the audience and purpose pillars as well as the hosting skills pillar. You need to know what you’re doing and be confident in your abilities.
What am saying, though, is that it’s really easy to opt for the familiar, safe, tied and trusted methodology, even when it doesn’t really support the purpose of your session.
For example, in one organisation I worked for, we always had:
…even though we knew it would be better to mix it up, to give much more opportunity for interaction with the audience but it was safer and easier to do what we had always done – especially when the feedback was always good.
…don’t fall into the trap of safety, convenience and low risk – start from the audience and purpose of your Webinar and tailor the session to produce the best possible experience.
Try out new things and have the confidence to abandon them if they don’t work – have a backup plan. That’s one of the most important lessons I learned as new teacher.
Go back through the Webinar Quick Tips, blogs and resources out there and see what you can do to make your session the best it can be – as effective as possible.
Most importantly, don’t get stuck in the easy, low-risk, default rut – you’ll be amazed what you can achieve and how much more successful webinars become.