The Single Worst Mistake You Can Make Hosting a Webinar (Or Writing Teaching Content)

confused man at computer

On the subject of teaching and training online, we’ve recently been attending a few learning webinars from “subject matter experts” (SMEs) and we’re seeing the same one horrible mistake over and over again.


In our years in the distance learning industry we’ve managed hundreds of live teaching webinars for SMEs. And there are ways to keep people engaged, and ways to piss people off.

But the single most damaging thing you can do is meander your way into your value.

In many cases, attendees are already paying customers who are expecting their money’s worth.

Or at the very least, they’re qualified leads. They signed up because your lead generation efforts presented value to them that they’re interested in. You’ve already established your authority and earned their trust, and they’ve set aside time to hear from you.

But what we’re seeing is literally the first 20, 30, even 45 minutes spent “telling your story” and “defining the opportunity.”

As we’re in the webinar, we’re watching the comments, and they are filled with people saying “get to the point” and “I already know about you, give me the meat.”

If you don’t quickly get to the point and start delivering the value you promised, the value your audience has already demonstrated they want, you are going to lose them, damage your credibility, and dilute your authority before you ever get to the chance to provide them what you promised.

This is, in our opinion, the single worst thing to do.

Yes, you want to welcome them, introduce yourself, thank them for joining you, remind them what you’ve all gathered for.

Yes, you want to do the “housekeeping” which is to let them know there’s staff online to answer technical questions regarding the webinar, explain the software, how to fix audio issues, and so on.

Yes, you want to “tell them what you’re going to teach, then teach them, then review what you just taught them.”

All that should take three minutes. Five on the outside.

Then get to the meat.

We’re on a webinar as we speak, and we’re 45 minutes in and the host is just now finally getting to the presentation.

Last week, on another webinar, it took over an hour.

This same concept applies to written and recorded training materials, too. Learners have limited time, and a singular goal: Learn new stuff.

Do them a favor.

Get. To. The. Point.

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Published by Chip Street

Plot-driven content specialist || Founder/Principal, William Street Creative || Former U.S. Brand Manager, Simplilearn || Former Marketing Manager, Market Motive || Former Founder/President, Group Of People

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