No one cares about your great information.
Sorry, was that a little harsh? Let me soften it: We work with professional service providers, small and medium size businesses and non-profit organizations across a variety of industries and areas. We often see the same mistake being made by new webinar producers and designers. They focus too much on information.
There is one thing that you must never, ever forget if you produce webinars, webcasts or design e-learning programs: Your audience does not care about your information.
Think of yourself the last time you took a webinar where someone did what we, in this business, call “the information dump”. Did you feel “talked at”, lectured or that your needs weren’t being met?
Sadly, this occurs too often in presentations of all types. But in the cyber environment, people have very little tolerance for the information dump. They may tolerate it one time, just to see if their ONE necessary question is answered, but if you don’t answer it, they’ll never come back. Ever.
So what is this one magical question?
I bet you already know it: “What’s in it for me?”
Every single participant of every single webinar will ask this question either consciously or unconsciously.
As a webinar designer or developer, your job is to keep your audience’s needs in mind. What are they there for? What do they want?
Time is a commodity. If you’re not giving them what they want, they’ll check out. They’ll go look for another webinar, offered by someone else, that answers their question: “What’s in it for me?”
You may think they’re taking your webinar to get some information. Wrong! They’re taking your webinar to find a solution to a problem. It’s your job to provide that solution.
If you provide a solution to a problem in every single webinar, people will keep coming back.
How do you do that? Here are some tips:
Identify the problem you want to solve. For example, in my program “Webinars for Professional Speakers” the problem I identify is this: professional speakers and workshop facilitators have a problem taking their content from the live environment to the cyber environment. My webinar helps them make that transition.
Give a list, or at least some tips, on what supplies your audience will need to solve their problem. Think of the scientific method. In order to conduct an experiment, the first thing you do is figure out what you need in order to conduct your experiment. For example, in my Webinars for Professional Speakers program, I tell my participants that they will need a professional quality mic. I then give them specific recommendations on what ones I like (and I also say that I’m not paid by any company to promote their wares).
Offer sound “how to” information. It’s one thing to identify a problem. The next question your audience is going to ask is: “OK, so now what?” This is where the main content of your program comes in. When people talk about a “content rich” program, this is what they mean… They mean that you’re giving “how to” information that solves their problem.
Be specific. Don’t offer vague ideas or “the big picture”. Get down and dirty with your information. Phrases like “Now I’m going to show you exactly how to do this…”
Be methodical. Another phrase audiences love to hear is “OK, now we are going to go through this step-by-step”. I tell my clients to think of a cooking show. The chef tells people what they’re going to learn today. He or she then pulls out the supplies and goes through the process. A cooking show is 30 to 60 minutes and there are dozens of them on TV. If they can do it, so can you.
Show what it looks like at the end. This is where you are proving to your audience that you can solve their problem… because you just did. You don’t actually have to say the words “If you use this method, you’ll get these great results”, although you can if you want.
If you always answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” your webinar participants will be engaged, they’ll learn stuff, they’ll figure out what they can do for themselves and they’ll be entertained. Wouldn’t you want to keep coming back to a program like that?
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