Larry Kilbourne just posted part three of his massive trilogy on “Ways Webinars Fail.” A pessimistic title, but great insights throughout.
I’ve been trying to add value where possible as I look at his posts, searching for places to offer differing points of view (at his invitation). It’s pretty hard in his last segment. He is spot on with common minefields in webinar delivery.
I just wrote a post over on Webinar Wire dealing with some of the danger areas in offering live demos through webinar screen sharing. You might find a few additional pointers there, but Larry has the basics covered. I think he might be just a little simplistic when saying that screen shots of software are categorically “a better way to accomplish what is being attempted” in a live demo. There are some interactions that rely on visible changes to demonstrate value or to be understood. Those often work better (or have more impact) in a demo than in a series of screen shots. People don’t viscerally connect with screen shots the way they do with seeing a product in action (assuming a well constructed, well rehearsed demo where everything goes right!).
Larry also comes down on the side of never using PowerPoint animations in web presentations. I would soften this statement to urge restraint rather than elimination. Please don’t fly in words and bullets. That is where most of the exhortations against animations got their start. If you want text to appear when you are ready to talk about it, a simple “Appear” animation will almost always suffice. But adding a wipe entrance of a pointing arrow can be remarkably effective at drawing the audience’s attention to a key point.
Larry mentions that animations are subject to transmission lag time, so that you might find yourself talking about an animated build that hasn’t shown up on attendee screens. But if you are using a web conferencing technology that preloads and buffers slide content (WebEx, Connect Pro, Live Meeting are a few examples), you are unlikely to experience this problem. It’s a lot faster to transmit a quick localized animation than to display an entire new slide.
I can’t find anything to quibble with when Larry talks about viewing a webinar as a production that needs rehearsals. I approach web seminars the same way I used to approach acting in a play or musical. Rehearse your own lines, rehearse with the other actors, and rehearse with the tech crew. Otherwise opening night is going to be a disaster.
Nice work, Larry!