In a recent post on her Remarkable Leader blog, Roz Usheroff wrote about the importance of being likeable and effective as a virtual speaker. In addition to being a popular and cost effective means of reaching an audience, webinars are convenient ways of capturing content that can be made available on an ongoing basis to continue to spark discussion and gain traction.
Since February 2011, I have covered over 150 procurement and business webinars for Buyers Meeting Point. I have probably attended another hundred that I did not cover, for any number of reasons. That works out to an average of 1-2 webinars per week, every week, for three years. Beyond the fact that I am lucky to be alive after enduring something that few (if any) other people have subjected themselves to, I believe this experience uniquely qualifies me to give a little advice to the presenters and attendees of procurement webinars.
– Attendees understand that you are doing this as part of your marketing strategy. That being said, keep the straight promotional content to a minimum – 2 minutes max.
– Find yourself interesting while you are presenting. If you can’t be enthusiastic about a topic for 30 – 40 minutes, engage someone who can. Better yet, keep the energy level up by having two speakers alternate.
– Be realistic about what you can cover. If you say you are going to take questions, make sure you allow time for them. Don’t plan to present beyond the first 45 minutes of the hour time-frame. In the worst-case scenario, you wrap up 5 minutes early and we all get to use the bathroom before our next meetings – a gift for which we will be eternally grateful.
– PLEASE have your own seed questions ready in case the audience is shy. There is nothing worse (nothing!) than when there are no questions submitted and the moderator awkwardly explains that to the speaker and then concludes the event.
– Make sure that the webinar platform you are using works on PCs and MACs in the live event and on demand. If possible, play music before you start the presentation so we can figure out if our audio is working.
– Have a Twitter hashtag for the event and get your entire marketing staff to ‘live tweet’ interesting quotes. Better yet, get attendees to submit their questions and comments via Twitter using the hashtag.
– You will either get a copy of the presentation or you will not. Being the person who asks “Will we get a copy of the slides?” in a webinar is like being the person who yells “Get in the hole!” at a golf tournament. Enthusiasm notwithstanding, you are unlikely to change the outcome.
– Ask questions. The amount of information available to you for free, in the comfort of your own office, from amazing thought leaders is unbelievable. If you have signed up for an event, take a few minutes to prepare by looking up the speakers and take the opportunity to get more information.
– As a follow on tip, attend more events. Some organizations run regular webinar series and some tend to be more ad hoc about it. The more events you sign up for, the more information about future events you will receive. Sometimes you get really valuable freebies like analyst reports, which are well worth the 60 seconds required to register.
– If you register for an event, block the time in your calendar and show up. Based on the number and frequency of reminder emails I get, I can only imagine how much drop off there is between registration and attendance numbers.
I’d be interested in anyone else’s perspective on procurement webinars – from either side. You can share your thoughts by commenting below or via Twitter: @BuyersMeetPoint. As for me, I’ve already registered for my next two webinars. You can read all of my webinar notes under the Events menu on BuyersMeetingPoint.com