Your mama raised you right. When someone helps you, you thank them. Good for you… That is the right thing to do in life. Now stop doing it in your webinars.
One of the most frequent questions I get as a consultant and speaker on the topic of better webinars is “How do I make my webinars more engaging for the audience? How do I make people pay attention? How do I make them interact?” The usual expectation is that I’ll say something about how many audience polls per hour to include, or how to use the whiteboard, chat, and other web conferencing features.
But I prefer to start from the simplest of premises: Approach everything you do from the perspective of your audience. Today’s lesson is this…
YOUR AUDIENCE DOESN’T CARE WHO SUPPORTED YOU!
I see webinars all the time where the speaker’s opening slide is a list of other people who worked on the research being presented, or were involved in carrying out a study, or are members of the department or group that put together the presentation. BOOORRRRIIINNGG!
Yes, you should acknowledge and thank those individuals. It’s the right thing to do. But do it on your own time. Send them a card. Buy some doughnuts for the team. But keep it out of your public presentation. For the simple fact exists that your audience does not care. The fact that those other individuals helped work on the project is the least interesting thing you could present from the audience’s perspective. You are basically giving your audience permission to stop paying attention while you take care of your own housekeeping and internal back-patting.
The same thing holds true at the end of your presentation. If you are the speaker, don’t bother thanking your moderator or webinar support team for their help in making the event go smoothly. Thank us afterwards. We appreciate the thought. But don’t weaken the impact of your presentation by distracting the audience so that the last thing they hear is unimportant banter. Close strong, with a summary of the benefit the audience has just received and a suggestion of how they should use this new information.
If you are the moderator or facilitator on an event and you have the final word to the audience, a very brief thank you to the speaker and audience members is usual and expected. Keep those short. Write them out. As you make each thank you, reiterate why the audience should feel grateful:
“Jim, thank you for sharing your insights and practical examples that we can put to use in our own businesses. And finally, thank you to each of you for taking time out of your day to improve your business skills and knowledge.”
One sentence each. Brief and done. Don’t let the power of your webinar be cannibalized by multiple repetitions of thank you’s and a general feeling of “Are we done now?”