Sharon Burton has written a new book to add to the small but growing body of works dedicated to creating and delivering better webinars. Titled “8 Steps to Amazing Webinars,” it is available in eBook format on Amazon.com for the Kindle and Barnes & Noble for the NOOK. I got an early edition for review.
The book is nicely compact and straightforward. It is easy to read in a single sitting. Sharon has pitched the book very specifically for first-timers just getting started with the concept of business webinars. She starts with the basic idea of what a webinar is and why you might want to use it in business. She also makes it clear that although presentation technique and slide design are important aspects of a successful webinar, those complex topics are not her focus in this work.
Sharon mentions different use cases for webinars, but marketing and customer communications quickly become apparent as the area of interest. This is not the book to study for an in-depth examination of how to do a 1-to-1 sales demo or how to teach a formal training class via the web. And that’s fine… Marketing and communications is tremendously important in every industry, and webinars are a fabulous way to add results.
The book leads the reader through a high-level view of the many things to consider as you plan to start adding webinars to your operations. From selecting “seductive” topics, to deciding who should present, to promotion, presentation, and administration of the webinar, Sharon lays out ways to approach each aspect.
Sharon’s writing style is personal and conversational. This is not a jargon-laden textbook requiring a glossary. Many suggestions come from Sharon’s own experiences with business webinars.
There were a few times that I felt suggestions were a little over-simplistic or applicable only in specific cases. But it is easy for me to come up with exception cases, as webinars are my entire career and field of study. I completely understand the point of making instructions clear and easy to follow for newcomers so they are not overwhelmed by outlying possibilities and hypotheticals. I like the fact that she includes an appendix with sample slide formats, task lists, and even a sample speaker agreement form.
It also became clear to me that Sharon was most familiar with Citrix GoToWebinar as a sample webinar technology. For instance, she writes at one point that “most webinar software will start rendering your recording when you exit the webinar.” She talks about needing to leave your computer free to perform the processing for an hour or two to let it complete the local process. That GoToWebinar behavior is actually rare among webinar products… most do not rely on the presenter’s own PC to produce the recording file. But I don’t consider this a major problem… GoToWebinar is a very common technology for people to start with when they get into webinars.
All in all, it’s a very nice introduction to the topic. Having a short and readable eBook available at a low price makes it easy for businesspeople to hit the ground running as they put together their first webinar. You can always refine technique and modify specifics to your individual needs and results as you get more familiar with the technology and production aspects.