Last modified 18/01/18

Get rid of online bias when you organise a webinar and perform like a pro

by Elizabeth Van Den Bergh

Avid fans among my newsletter readers remember that I am fascinated by cognitive biases.

Today I am writing about a cognitive bias, which I call online bias.

Online bias

Online bias: online tasks, in reality not so different from their off line version, are mistakenly perceived as more difficult compared to their off line counterpart.

I take the case of organising webinars (online) compared to trainings (off line).

Ask a random colleague if he or she would like to host a webinar, and he or she will look back at you slightly scared at the prospect of being online, live and in front of a webcam.

From my own experience and from my recent experience accompanying a client with the organisation of their first webinar I am happy to share a few tips.

First rule, always and everywhere: know your audience and make sure you are speaking to their interests and needs.

Run a pilot

When you prepare a training, you run a test to check your flow, your time keeping, your anecdotes. Simple as that.

For a webinar it is the same principle. You run a pilot. You master the techniques.

Welcoming the participants

When you organise training you’d be welcoming the participants as they enter the room and connect with them. Even ask a few questions.

Use the first 5 minutes of your webinar to welcome participants. Check if they can hear and see you. Then explain what is going to happen. Add this to your agenda.

Talk to your webcam as if your participants were with you in the room.

Timing is important

During your training you follow an agenda and regularly refer back to it to provide a helicopter view.

In a webinar it is even more important to respect your timing. Plan moments for interaction carefully.

Important note: off line a trainer would revert control to the group during training, in a webinar the host always keeps in control of content, time and interaction.

Exchange of knowledge

The presentation itself should be higher-level points, which you will detail in the conversation. Present your info in clear steps, like baking a cake. Have enough examples, add pictures on the slide, and make it visual.

Whilst off line training is a better format for exchange of knowledge between trainer and participants. As a trainer you can take also a lot of feedback from participants. Via short, specific questions during the webinar and via a survey immediately afterwards.

In conclusion, when preparing your webinar, think of all the things you would do when giving off line training and do them as well in your webinar, albeit slightly different.

If you are organising a webinar soon, I’d be happy to know how it went. If you want to receive more tips on webinars, just pop me an email at: [email protected].

Picture from Pexels.