Of course, this all comes back to knowing your audience really well.
How confident with and knowledgeable about technology are your audience? How experienced are they in attending Webinars?
I’m assuming you want as many of your potential audience to get into the Webinar as possible. After all:
…what good is your Webinar if the audience find it too difficult to get in?
I remember one audience I had to work with several years ago who were hugely experienced professionals but not at all confident with technology. None of them had ever been to a Webinar or even heard of the concept. They were highly intelligent and did use the internet but only really for a bit of web surfing and email.
So my problem was – how could I guarantee to get as many as possible into the Webinar?
I realised I would have to use several different strategies to boost the confidence of the audience:
- Use familiar technology
- Enlist one or two of the more confident members of the group to help their peers
- Give as many opportunities as possible to become familiar with the technology before real session
How did I put this into practice?
- I arranged a couple of sessions with the group members I had identified as ‘champions’ – those who were more confident so they could ‘seed’ ideas amongst their peers and help to boost their confidence. The rest of the group were reassured that there was nothing to be afraid of through talking to these champions.
- I made sure that only teleconferences were used in the Webinars, rather than Voice over IP as I was confident that the group were familiar with telephones(!) and I thought that VoIP would just add an unnecessary extra complication to the process.
- I set up several opportunities for the audience to join practice Webinars – some with me there to welcome and to help, some just dummy sessions with non-copyright music playing so the participants could verify that they had joined correctly.
- I provided short, web-based screencasts which showed the whole joining process.
- I provided written notes which were more appropriate for some of the group than watching a screen recording on the web.
The group members chose the approach which suited them best and all of them made it into the real Webinar.
I realise this is an extreme example but I think the principle is always same. As the Webinar Quick Tips Audience Pillar encourages, we need to know our audience really well and provide them with what they need to support them in joining the Webinar – in a format they find easy to use.
So, consider your audience carefully and do all you can to support them into the Webinar. It’s easy to lose your audience for good if their first experience is bad and, conversely, it’s easy to create ‘repeat attenders’ if they feel supported and are given the help they need in format they can easily digest and use.