How Not to Run a Webinar

I attended a webinar this morning and I learned a lot. I learned how NOT to run a webinar.

It was obvious that the presenter was familiar with the topic of his presentation. In fact, all things considered the topic was interesting, the graphics were fine, and the guest list was superb. It wasn’t one of those snoozinars I’ve attended one time or another. I’d say that it would have been a great success, if only…

If only… the presenters had been familiar with the webinar interface. This webinar was put on by a marketing partnership who used the Webex server. For those not familiar with, it’s the software that lets people hold virtual meetings all over the world. There are other webinar servers such as, and It’s a great idea, in theory. But, webex meetings always leave me with a distaste in my mouth. It was the first time that they’d ever tried Gee, thank you for letting me be your guinea pig. I really learned a lot.

If only…the promoters who sent out the invitation for the webinar had correct information on the invitation. I have a feeling that the less technically inclined just gave up after the third try. But give me a challenge and I’m going to figure out how to solve it, or die trying. This information said to “follow the prompts” which in the end, turned out to be incorrect. You either didn’t have audio or didn’t have visual, its supposed to be both. Finally, I got the correct information to put in so that I could have both audio and visual connection and passed that number on to as many people as I could reach through the chat side bar as I could so that they could also get in.

If only...the presenters did a run-through with people who weren’t their clients or potential clients before holding a webinar . Get to know the software. I knew the presenter had never used the software before as he said so and because he had to load it onto a different computer because it wouldn’t even work on his computer. That tells you something right there. If the presenter couldn’t even get it working, doesn’t that tell you that the rest of us were going to have trouble?

If only…they opened up the “room” at least 15 minutes before a session began so that the participants could familiarize themselves with the interface, introduce themselves and resolve any problems if there were any. The session started exactly at the time that the “room” opened and that left those of us who were still pounding on the virtual door feeling left behind.

If only… the presenter contacted each person to make sure everyone was on board before he started his presentation. For some reason there was a group of us on the outside of the meeting that could talk amongst each other but could not hear the presenter.

If only…there weren’t so many distractions. Every time someone came and went there were beeps. There was also a lot of back ground noise. If only they’d turned off the alerts and muted everyone during the main presentation. One person disrupted the whole conference when they answered another phone call and didn’t realize it was being broadcast live. The presenter didn’t realize, again not familiar with the software, that all he had to do was hit the mute button, but instead we were treated to a five minute conversation from one of her unhappy customers about some order that never arrived.

If only…the attendees had been told in advance how to ask a question. Likewise, the presenter should also know how to answer a question. I saw about 10 virtual hands up and the presenter never recognized them so I think he didn’t realize it.

If only…the webinar presenters had read Flyte President Rich Brooks’ blog post on planning, promoting and producing effective webinars.

Time to Put my Clothes on And Use Skype

One of the great things about working from home is the ability to slob-out and wear pajamas or sweats. Lately I’ve really been tempted to get those Pajama Jeans so I won’t have to chose between them. I’ve recently installed Skype, so that’s going to change. Although Skype has been around for years, I’ve put off adding it. When a client from New Zealand practically begged me to get on board, I decided it was time. The phone bill from here to New Zealand had to be getting as large as the distance between us.
Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBaseI’m not really a Instant Message type of person. I had so many accounts that I finally got Adium so that I could see them all in one place, but even with that I rarely even start the app. When I have Instant Messaging on, and my status is viewable, I feel as though I’m bombarded by spam messages–most from people I don’t know. Having it on makes me feel as though I am on call 24/7.
Skype isn’t really about instant messaging, although that’s one of their features. I guess I should explain, for those who aren’t familiar with Skype, that its software that allows you to make calls for free. Not just that, but video calls, instant messaging, voice messaging, phone calls, etc. Installing it is easy, just download the software, Mac or PC, and create an account.
 Login and you’re off. When you first start the software, it asks you if you want to import your address book. I decided against it as I have over 500 contacts in my address book and I only wanted access to the specific people I know have Skype.When I first turned it on I was instantly bombarded with connection requests. Luckily, if you go to preferences, it allows you to select the option to only accept calls from people in your contact list. Since I was in preferences already, I immediately went to the Video option and turned off my camera. Call me narcissistic, but I wasn’t ready for Prime-Time.
Next I added my clients to the contact list. I had their usernames, but you can also search for the person. When you do, it tells you a little about the person, like where they are located in case you need to narrow the search.
So, once I got the software, changed the preferences and added contacts, I had a blank screen. Now what?
What else could the answer be for a web surfer? I headed to youtube and searched for Skype tutorials. Luckily, I found Aymee Buckhannon’s video (see below).

Aymee invited watchers to add her as a contact and I took her up on the offer. What a lucky break! Not only was she available, but she took the time to chat with me, help me with all my questions, and also shared links to her blog, Facebook page and more. Thanks Aymee.
Self, Aymee is a Blogging, Branding and Video Marketing Consultant. She has many excellent video’s on YouTube also. Check them out…after you’ve called your customer with your Skype account, of course.

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