Marketing and communications guru Seth Godin blogged a new chart he made up, attempting to draw correlations between different communication channels, the amount of useful information they can carry (bandwidth) and the interactivity potential (participant synchronization).
Click here to see the expanded chart on his site (I don’t want to copy it here without permission).
As I’m sure even Seth would admit, such graphics are necessarily oversimplifications designed to communicate a concept. You can easily find case-specific examples of communications that would shift the positions he has used. But let’s take his approach at face value as a useful summarization of the complexities of communicating with audiences (whether those audiences are one, few, or many people).
I was struck by the way that webinars easily fit into both the upper quadrants of the graph. They can carry a lot of useful information (if done right!). They can be engrossing, entertaining, and/or educational. They can use a variety of content, depending on the underlying technology and the skills/dedication of the presentation author. You can potentially incorporate graphics, text, animations, movies, sound, quizzes, Flash games, and other “high bandwidth” content to improve the value of your communication time.
But the interesting thing is that vendors have made it so easy to allow that content to serve both synchronous and asynchronous audiences. A live webinar can be highly interactive, trading commentary and feedback from audience to presenter. They can even allow swapping roles, by giving presentation authority to audience members.
But record your webinar and you have a ready-made asynchronous communication vehicle, offering your information to additional audiences at their convenience. Some vendors are adding more interactivity to the asynchronous platforms, allowing viewers to participate in quizzes and polls, or letting them send questions after the fact to the presenter, or even letting them click through to a live representative to initiate a synchronous communication channel.
This is a powerful tool we have at our disposal, and all too often the potential is under-utilized. Read Seth’s article and ask yourself how you can use your webinars – live and recorded – to span more communication needs and preferences.
If this subject interests you, don’t miss my upcoming webinar with Brainshark on August 19. I’ll be talking about how to span the gap between live and recorded events to improve the power and effectiveness of your on-demand replays. You can register by clicking here or if you aren’t using an interactive reader, copy and paste this address to get to the registration page: http://tinyurl.com/mjatsd