Webinars seem to be everywhere. I receive webinar invitations every day and I’m sure that you do, too. Here’s why training webinars are popular:
- Adaptable to most people’s schedules
- Easily recordable
- Faster than live classes or events
Of course, if something is popular, there will be books written about it, right? You betcha! At this writing, you can find 377 books about webinars on Amazon, but:
- Many books explain how to use webinars to market products or services rather than for training.
- A few books do address corporate training or college teaching, but they are really pricey. For example, Cynthia Clay’s Great Webinars sells for more than $50. In addition, books about training webinars assume that trainers have many hours with learners, almost as if the webinar were a college class. I am lucky if I can get 6 hours for a corporate technical writing class.
- Very few books about webinars focus on producing interactions that make webinars fun for both participants and instructors.
Why Webinar School?
I wrote Webinar School: Planning, producing, and presenting your training webinar because no other book was explaining what you need to know if you want to deliver really good webinars. None of us wants to produce long, monotonous, lecture-style webinars that encourage learners to multi-task.
Webinar School will teach you practical webinar techniques and help you produce training that is darn near as interactive as live training. (When surveyed, 95% of my webinar attendees say they prefer taking my course by webinar rather than in a live class.)
What you’ll learn in Webinar School
You’ll see how you can maximize interactions with your learners at least three different points in the webinar process (I’ve provided just a few examples here):
- Before the webinar: If you’re not sure how to pronounce a learner’s name, e-mail them to ask about pronunciation. You can also ask attendees to submit prework and engage them in the e-mail process as they send you their documents.
- During the webinar: You can interact with your learners by asking them to chat their questions or chat answers to your questions. You can launch polls that either seek their opinions or test their knowledge. I always have 90% to 100% participation in polls because I stress that the results are aggregated and completely anonymous.
- After the webinar: You can e-mail learners to answer questions that you might not have been able to answer during the webinar, or you could expand on an answer that you offered under the pressure of time. You can also comment to an individual on a particularly interesting chat that they posted.
To learn more about the techniques presented above, watch my YouTube video.
What else will you learn?
In my book, you’ll find a clear-eyed comparison of webinar training and live classroom training; a description of steps for planning, preparing, producing, and presenting stimulating live training webinars; a list of post-production activities; low- and high-tech tips to engage your participants; technology tips; how to handle surprises; how not to kill your webinar with your slides; tips for teams that need to produce webinars; and how to get started, one step at a time.
Many thanks to Richard Hamilton, publisher at XML Press, for being a joy to work with and for creating a publishing brand that is so important to the world of technical communication.