Q: How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Only one… But the light bulb has to WANT to change.
I thought of this old chestnut the other day after reading an article by Steve Crepeau on truesalesresults.com. Steve's article was entitled "When Did Quality Die?" and focused on the tradeoff between higher volumes/greater speed versus attention to quality. Steve put this in the context of sales correspondence, but the same argument rages fiercely in the world of presentations (both in-person and remotely via webcast or webinar).
Finding tactics for creating and delivering a good, effective presentation is really not difficult. Pick your favorite authority in this space… Cliff Atkinson, Roger Courville, Nancy Duarte, Nolan Haims, Dave Paradi, Garr Reynolds, or many, many others (who are now angry at me for not including them in this sentence). They and I write books, publish blog posts, give public lectures, and offer training classes on things like slide design, speaking skills, and presentation planning. The information is out there and readily discoverable.
The real problem is that learning a presentation skills tactic is useless if you don't have a commitment to practicing and applying it. It's the same as painting, sports, or computer programming. You can read as many books as you like that describe how to place backspin on the cue ball, or increment an array pointer, or stipple a canvas. If you want to get good at it and be able to execute the skill with quality, you need to be willing to spend time. Time thinking about how you are going to apply the technique. Time spent practicing the technique. Time spent reviewing your failed and successful attempts to see what you need to refine, and what you can now add.
For some reason, people don't seem to apply this viewpoint to webinars. Somebody in Marketing says "We need to hold 12 lead generation webinars this year. Let's grab the head of Product Development next month and have her present something about her product."
The head of Product Development is busy with "her real job" and doesn't have much time to devote to Marketing's webinar. She creates the usual PowerPoint slides filled with full sentences in bullet point format. She presents the information in a monotone, goes long at the beginning and has to rush her final slides, and never directly engages or interacts with the audience. When she is done, she gets no feedback and is never evaluated or compensated based on her presentation skills. Tell me what incentive she has for spending any more time on developing and applying presentation skills? Presentations are an intrusive distraction from her work rather than an integral part of it.
Your webinars present the face of your company to potential or existing customers. They convey whether you are an entity that is trustworthy, reliable, provides useful value, and has the customer's interests in mind. If you don't take the time to develop and apply proper presentation skills, you won't communicate that. If you can't project and communicate that, you probably shouldn't give the webinars.
Quality matters. It's your decision whether you are going to make it matter to you.