Five ways to add unexpected #BusinessAwesome to your webinars

Recently I moderated the first of a two-part webinar series for Scott Stratten (@unmarketing). The first of the two webinars focused on unawesome (the second one about awesome is a few days away), and I confess that this week two dramatically contrasting events got me to thinking about what we can do in webinars to be more #businessawesome. #BusinessAwesome-webinars-TheVirtualPresenterDotCom

An example of awesome contrast

As incoming president for the NSA-Oregon, we’ve got to change who can sign checks. First, Bank of America gave us the wrong info, so I had to go back to the branch a second time. Then the paperwork that I signed (that was to be transferred to another branch for our treasurer to sign) was lost in inter-office mail.

Their solution? Tell me what we had to do to fix it (do it all over again). Mail me the paperwork? Fax it? Nope. Quote me policy. Defer to a faceless manager who says refer to the quoted policy.

By contrast, I stumbled upon a “version one” e-copy of my book out on Goodreads (@goodreads). The book is aging, but I do have a newer version I’m not charging much for (AND I still get regular emails from folk saying they’re getting something from it). So I pinged Goodreads to take it down. Almost immediately I got a response from Kara Erickson, Customer Care Manager apologizing and taking care of business. Damn! No hassle, real people taking care of biz.

Five often overlooked places to add #businessawesome to your webinars

Respond to individuals who hit “reply”

When someone gets your system’s confirmation and reminder emails, it’s quite common that someone hits “reply.” Put a real human on the other end of that reply…even if it’s to acknowledge them when they say, “Sorry, I now won’t be able to make it.”

Deliver only what you promised

It seems like a no-brainer, but there’s enough crap out there so that audiences are showing up jaded. It’s okay to do a product demo in a webinar, but it’s not okay to slip ’em a product demo mickey that you didn’t let ’em know about in advance.

Roll with imperfection

Live human interactions don’t go perfectly anywhere, including in webinars. If technology has a bad hair day, so what? If a presenter says something wrong, make it right. If you don’t know the answer, confess it and offer to go figure it out.

Sane people don’t expect perfection, they expect professionalism. Real people connecting with real people is part of what makes webinars a powerful part of your communications mix.

Teach presenters to up their game as entertainers

We did a 407-person survey earlier this year (paper due out soon) asking people why they leave webinars early. #1 reason…content not as advertised (duh!). #2 reason? Presenter is boring. That should be a “duh!” too.

Experts who speak are great, and they don’t have to be expert speakers. But you shouldn’t put every one of them on stage without a bit of coaching.

Equip your sales team for intelligent follow up

Good webinar systems will tell you if someone did or didn’t attend a webinar. Better yet, ask a custom registration question, use a poll, capture the chat/Q&A, etc.. Feed them to the sales team with instructions how to use them.

“Hey Julie, it looks like you made it to last week’s webinar but had to leave about half way through. I see that you asked a question about <this>…did they get to that question before you had to go?”

How freakin’ awesome is that? Now it’s not a sales call, it’s a taking-care-of-people call.

The bottom line

Webinars, webcasts, and virtual classrooms are technologies, but they’re awesomer (yes, awesomer) when people are involved. Now, go make someone’s day.

2 thoughts on “Five ways to add unexpected #BusinessAwesome to your webinars

  1. Kelly Vandever

    Great post Roger. I especially liked the comment about equipping people with smart follow up! Love your example. So smart!

    And I’m also totally jealous that you got to work with Scott Stratton! That’s some business awesomeness right there! But then he should be thrilled to get to work with the amazing Roger Courville!!!

    Thanks for continuing to make the rest of us smarter!


    1. TheVP

      Thanks Kel. You do a killer job of making us smarter (and saving the world from crappy presentations) yourself. 🙂 -R

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