Webinnexion: Disrupting The Webinar

Do you attend – or run – talk-over-slides webinars? They’ve been around for decades now. But I reckon we’re ready for a change. It’s time to disrupt the webinar!

Of course, the talk-over-sides formula has its place. As a “participant”, you can listen with half an ear, while doing something else, and get the general drift. You can listen to a recording, whenever suits you. And you can switch off when they get to the sales pitch at the end.

As a presenter, you get to say what you want to say. You don’t have to be seen on camera, or worry about lighting or backgrounds (what a relief!) You can record the whole thing and use simple, inexpensive software to stick it online, tricking people into believing its live. And by all accounts, these webinars are pretty effective for selling certain kinds of things.

But talk-over-slides has severe limitations. Both as a participant, and as a presenter, you’d learn a lot more from an in-the-room meetup with a speaker.

That’s because:

  • humans are social learners: we make sense of what we hear by discussing it with others
  • other participants have a wealth of knowledge and experience we can tap in to
  • we find in-the-room events much more engaging and involving than talk-over slides
  • we get better as presenters / facilitators / trainers when we get real-time feedback from our listeners.

So, the big question. How might we use modern video conference technology to give online events more of the benefits of in-the-room – while keeping many of the advantages of online?

For me, creating engaging online events which support effective learning is bread-and-butter. I’ve been training live-online for more than ten years. I’ve led a lot of online events, conferences and meetings in recent years, and taught other facilitators to do the same via live-online courses. Metaphorum, for example, just works.

But not everyone knows about that. Working with clients in the international humanitarian sector recently helped me to realise that there are a lot of people out there who think that talk-over-slides is a good way of teaching online, because that’s all they’ve experienced.

They want to have a dialogue with their attendees – but believe that for that to happen, they need to fly everyone around the world. And that’s not going to do much to help the environment!

Working with people at the Norwegian Refugee Council and the Inter-Agency Network For Education In Emergencies made me want to share what I know in some kind of open-sourced way. And I reckon that focussing on a simple recipe for a 90-minute event might be the trick.

So, “Webinnexion” is the working title of a new kind of online event. Live. Interactive. Engaging. Lots of social learning opportunities. A space to build relationships and establish real trust… and who knows where that might lead?

A group of online friends tested it out with me this week – and loved it. Management consultant Paul Crick commented, for example: “Fantastic session. Well thought through and highly engaging. I learned tons from it and will be adopting this approach for my online events.”

Watch this space – and make sure you’re signed up to my linkletter – to find out more.

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  1. Pingback: Online Learning Events: Why Size Matters - Judy Rees

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