When putting on a webinar, you as the host have a lot of different advantages. Amongst these are the ability to reach thousands of people at one time without the heft travel costs it would normally take to meet in person.
Webinars are quickly becoming one of the top ways to deliver presentations, lectures etc. to geoghraphically dispersed audiences all around the world. Businesses, schools, and independent contractors use these ultra-convenient online seminars to reach as many people as they can to spread the word on their expertize, products, and more.
While webinars can do a lot of good, they aren’t a perfect form of communication. When using this presentation method, it’s best to understand the challenges that come along with it.
Common Challenges of Presenting to a Virtual Audience
The objective of a webinar is to reach your audience even if you can’t physically be with them. Virtual audiences are connected via the internet using video chats, webcams, and more. Though these are a highly efficient way to connect people all over globe, they do come with some drawbacks.
These are the most common challenges of presenting a webinar to a virtual audience:
Technical Difficulties: When using the internet as your line of communication, there’s a real chance of facing technical difficulties. This could be anything from a lagging video, disrupted or weak internet connection, mismatched audio, or total loss of video. When broadcasting live, the risks for each of these problems is automatically higher because you’re relying solely on the internet to connect you to your audience.
A Compromised Personal Connection: Though webinars do give you the chance to see the faces of your audience, it is not so in all instances. When you present to smaller audiences such as in meetings, you do have the luxury of interacting closely with your audience. However, the bigger the audience, the less likely it is that you’ll be able to make a personable connection with everyone. While this could be the same even in a live presentation, virtual audiences have little to no chance of connecting personally with their host.
Divided Attention: One of the biggest challenges of a virtual audience is keeping the audience’s attention. When things are done online, audience members can multitask, having various windows open in addition to your presentation. Due to this, they may miss important info that could compromise their understanding of your presentation. Unfortunately, there are very few ways to prevent this as your audience will be tuning in from home, coffee shops, and other places where distractions are plenty.
You Don’t Know How Big (or How Little) Your Audience Is: While webinar platforms offer registration forms that can give an accurate count of your audience, it’s almost impossible to know how many people will actually show up. Due to this, you could be talking to thousands of people or less than ten. While this may not affect your presentation inherently, it would be helpful to know how many people will be actually receiving your message.
You Can’t Tell How Well (or How Poorly) Your Presentation is Really Going: In a live presentation, you can typically gauge how well you’re. If audience members are engaged they will join, listen with rapt attention, laugh at your jokes, and offer other physical feedback such as applause, questions, and comments. With a virtual audience, there’s no way to tell if your audience is enjoying or completely disengaged with your presentation. The best way to remedy this is to have some interactive portions of your webinar so that your audience can participate and feel actively involved.
Knowing the challenges of presenting to a virtual audience will help you to create the best webinar you can. With this information, you can actively plan for each pitfall that can arise, which can help you out down the line.
Whether your audience is virtual or physical, you must remember that they are the lifeblood of your presentation, which means that ensuring that they are engaged, entertained, and informed is your top priority.