Please, Oh, Please Don’t Read The Bullet Points

path to pathetic webinar presentationsI can’t wait to attend another boring webinar (said no one ever).

Buckle up.

We’re about to hit some big bumps and even bigger potholes on the path to pathetic presentations.

If I had a nickel for every crappy webinar I’ve signed up for, I’d have enough dough to buy that cute little vintage Vespa I’ve always wanted.

Let’s Talk The Intro (a.k.a. The Boasting Fest)

You know, that part where some presenters spend ten to fifteen minutes (and sometimes even longer) shining the spotlight on you-know-who.

Nothing but nothing turns me off more than a personal intro that goes on for miles. And that applies to offline presentations, as well.

If you intend to go on and on … and on … at least weave in a good story!

Preferably something humorous or heartwarming that might help to keep me awake. Because I really have no interest in hearing your laundry list of accolades or the millions of dollars you’ve made selling potholders and perfume (from the trunk of your car).

I’ve had the privilege of being interviewed on webcasts and I’ve hosted some presentations of my own.

Want to know how long my personal introduction is?

Under two minutes.

My goal is to get to the meat of the material as quickly as possible – the stuff people sign up and show up for.

Let’s Take A Look At The Slides (Eeek!)

Graphs and charts and text, oh my!

Personally, I’ll take the lions, tigers, and bears. They’re a lot more engaging.

Unless you’ve just crawled out from under a cabbage leaf, I’m pretty sure you’re up to speed on what’s happening these days under the big tent of content creation.

In a word … images.

In four words … less text, more images.

Webinar slides plastered with text or boring graphs should be buried under the Smithsonian.

And let’s not forget those lovely bullet points. Bullet points are a great way to arrange thoughts in a concise, organized flow but please …

Oh, please! Don’t read them, verbatim. It insults my intelligence. After all, I know how to read.

Instead, elaborate on your bullets in a conversational manner. People will love you for doing so … and maybe even send kudos and cupcakes!

Let’s Address The Sales Pitch

How many times do presenters need to mention a paid offer during a webinar?

Once is enough.

And please don’t save the pitch for the end of your 60-minute virtual event when attendees are in “information saturation mode”.

They’ve had enough and they’ve heard enough.

Most will click away due to sheer fatigue or simply not absorb half of what you’re peddling. Sitting for long periods of time is tiring.

Here’s what I recommend:

Make an announcement at the beginning of your webinar that you’ll be taking a “brief commercial break” midway through your glorious presentation to share an offer.

That’s it. It’s that simple.

Everyone will know what to expect and if people don’t care to hear your offer, they can run to the fridge for a nice snack or pay a visit to the loo (I’ve always loved the British term for toilet).

Speaking Of The Toilet

Don’t let your webinars go down the crapper.

1.)   Craft a short and sweet personal introduction

2.)   Learn to tell better stories

3.)   Create images that capture and convey your message

4.)   Use bare bones text on your slides

5.)   Pitch your offer (only once) midway through your presentation

You have worthwhile messages, fun anecdotes, and wonderful offers to share with your attendees.

Use virtual events to your best advantage by creating remarkable presentations – and don’t forget virtual event etiquette!

Make your next webinar one people want to talk about.

[Stepping down from my soap box]

Image credit: Pixabay

  • I don’t believe there is really a wrong audience. There is a lot of studies regarding this.

  • This is a great post, Melanie. I’m so selective about “free” webinars I attend now – I think I’ve only attended two in the last two months. And both were worth it. A Derek Halpern and Electric Empire webinar, FWIW.

    When I launched I had a slight webinar addiction. So I’ve seen good ones and horrific accidents that I guess you could call webinars on a good day.

    I’ve learned to get out quick if they suck or become one big sales pitch. The worse if when you see a GREAT webinar, purchase the produt, and then realize the only thing of value was shared for free during the webinar.

    And I’m horrible, but I usually give a throwaway email address when I enroll because I hate getting on someone’s list…til death do us part. (MailDrop.cc is the one I use for this purpose. Check it out!)

    I promise – if your webinar is awesome, I’ll find you and sign up for the list with my legit email address. But you’re gonna have to prove it first…

    If I ever give a webinar, I’m using your tip about pitching in the middle with a warning upfront. Great tips and loved the article, Melanie.

    • I’m with you these days, Lisa, on the “free” virtual events. My [webinar] B.S. meter is finely tuned and dialed in with absolute precision. I want to see some “proof” first before I plunk down my sacred email address in the sign-up window. I need to know I won’t be wasting my precious time.

      Glad to know you like the idea of sharing offers with attendees midway through your webcasts. I’m a little biased, of course, but I believe it’s the best approach.

      Thanks a heap for joining the conversation! I’m tickled to see you here. 🙂

      I read the most wonderful post from you last evening (http://slostartup.com/2014/04/be-productive-when-youre-overwhelmed-by-too-many-choices/) and I want to invite and encourage my readers to check it out. Love the “permission” slips! 😉

  • Right on, Melanie! And to add insult to injury, how about the webinar that ended with a pitch to their $10,000 online course? Yep – $10,000. Seriously?

    • Thanks for catching this one, Cathy — always great to see you here!

      Wow. A $10,000 course is definitely considered a “high-end” offering. Sounds like you were pretty shocked when you heard that pitch at the end of the webinar. I wonder how many sign-ups they secured. Who knows? IF they promoted the webinar to the RIGHT AUDIENCE, they may have been very successful in getting attendees to buy their course. That’s always the key, isn’t it? Targeting your “right people”. 🙂

      Got a feeling you’ve sat in on a few poorly-presented and/or poorly-designed webinars. It’s always a big disappointment to come away from a presentation feeling like it was nothing but a waste of time.

      • Obviously, they had the wrong audience in me. 😉

    • I would have been their “wrong audience”, as well, Cathy. In my world, their offering is definitely not budget-friendly. 😉

  • *thunderous applause* Hear, hear! This is a fabulous post, Melanie. I wish there were a way to send it anonymously to all those folks who’ve delivered crazy webinars. I’ll just have to settle for sharing liberally on social media. 🙂

    • Share away as I smile away, Tea! A big bouquet of thanks. 🙂

      Your May biz blog challenge is one I just couldn’t pass up. I don’t know if I’ve been more unlucky than most … or what … but I’ve sat in on a slew of, let’s say, less than stellar webinars. So this is a topic that pushes all kinds of buttons for me.

      Excited to participate!