Have you heard the phrase "Kill your darlings?" You might know it as a film title from a few years back, but that was taken from a well-known piece of advice to authors. In writing, you have to be willing to delete passages you particularly love if they don't add value to your work. It's easy to get so enamored of the way you wrote something that you lose the objectivity to see that it doesn't belong in the context in which it sits. (Fun side note: It turns out the first sourced use of the quote comes from Arthur Quiller-Couch in 1914!)
There are several ways that "your darlings" can reduce the effectiveness of webinars. Let's examine a few…
1) Favorite phrases or filler words. This is the most obvious, and you don't need me to spend much space on it. What starts out as a perfectly innocuous little turn of phrase becomes irritating and distracting through repetition. You will NEVER spot these on your own. You have to rely on a trusted confederate to point out yours to you, at which point you will rebel and argue that you don't use it THAT much. Listen to your friend. Kill your darlings.
2) Favorite slides. These often come from Corporate Marketing departments. They are the "standard slides we want in every presentation." When you hear that, your first instinct should be to delete the slide immediately. Make each slide PROVE its necessity for inclusion. Do you really need the slide that shows the number of offices and employees around the world? Does it support the points your audience came to hear about? Does it provide value, interest, and engagement? Do you REALLY need that agenda slide at the start of your presentation? Kill your darlings.
3) Speaker introductions and biographies. What is your audience's key interest and reason for attending? Is it to hear a long resume of each presenter's background, education, and work experience? Usually not. So why is that the first thing you present them with? Kill your darlings.
4) Extra registration fields. Do you really plan to telephone, fax, or send postal mail to every registrant? If not, why are you asking for their telephone, fax number, and zip code? If it's because "that's our standard registration form" then it's time to kill your darlings.
5) Devotion to your planned presentation. This one applies to small presentations where you are speaking interactively with maybe 1-5 attendees. Sales calls and analyst reviews are two examples. If your listener tells you they are already familiar with your company and want to focus on a particular topic point, DO IT! Don't go through your first 10 backgrounder slides just because those are the first things in your deck. Kill your darlings.
Okay, I got you started. Why not add some other examples in the comments? We can all share and learn from each other.