How I learned to stop worrying and love the webinar: Part 4: Taking the next steps

afteryourtalkThe only reason to give a presentation is to help people act or think differently. I’ve tried almost everything that could prod people to take the next step. I’ve distributed hand-outs summarizing the key points and next actions. I’ve given out worksheets. I’ve collected e-mail addresses and sent everyone a follow-up note with links to slides and what to do next. I’ve linked to short URLs on my slides to make it easy for people to take notes. I’ve even experimented with pairing people up so that they could follow up with each other. But it’s still a huge challenge to get people to think about a presentation after they’ve walked out the doors. After your talk, they all go their separate ways.

Virtual presentations are different. While I’m taking questions or after I wrap up, people can click on links in the text chat or type in the URL from my slides. They can download, review, and forward my slides right away. They can review the next steps. They can bookmark the page and return to it when they have questions. There are even systems that automatically track people’s interactions with the content, so I can e-mail them about updates.

The easier I make it for people to take the next small step, such as reviewing slides or planning their next actions, the more I support them in making the next big step, such as trying out social media tools. People’s access to mail and Internet can distract them during the presentation if you’re not engaging enough, but the same access can be powerful when you purposefully use it to guide people’s next actions.

This is the fourth part of How I learned to stop worrying and love the webinar.
Part 1: The best seats in the house
Part 2: From audience to participants
Part 3: Reading the room
Part 4: Taking the next steps
Next: Convenience and control