02/04/2013 11:57 EST | Updated 04/06/2013 05:12 EDT

The Problem With Webinars

Recently I signed up for and have listened to several business webinars and in one case, a live webinar which had its shaky moments, especially with the camera.

The one consistent aspect to these 60-minute, free webinars is that the presenters devoted at least the last 10 minutes trying to up-sell you to take further training -- but this time, these were big-ticket items. They also alluded to this amazing, not-to-be-missed in-depth training throughout.

One guy even ridiculed how people do this, and then in his admittedly charming style, proceeded to do exactly the same. And of course, there's always the immediate deadline if you want to get the "special" price.

I guess this all must work, or else why is everyone doing it, and I appreciate if you are giving something for free, there has to be a catch, a payback, something in it for the presenter. But why can't the call to action just be to sign up for a newsletter or e-zine where participants can learn more about the training. Why does it always seem to end with the hard sell?

Frankly it puts me off.

In fact with the last webinar I listened to, knowing THE pitch was coming, I just fast-forwarded the recording. But it is somewhat ironic as this presenter was advocating the importance of providing value, which she did with the webinar, but then she totally blew it by expecting me to take that giant leap and sign up for training with a $995 price tag. I mean, she was good, but not that good.

In fact, she likely could have lost a lot of people even at the beginning, with the three-minute introduction by a woman with a monotonous voice, clearly reading slowly from a script.

I caveat my next comments by saying that I don't personally give webinars, but as someone who has started taking them, I do have a few observations to share:

1. Skip the long introductions, especially from someone else saying how wonderful you are.

You're just going to lose people.

2. Just as in a live presentation, summarize the content of the webinar so people can decide

if it is worth staying on to listen

3. Have good visuals -- clip art is old-fashioned and dated. Go for photos.

4. Tell stories to illustrate your points.

5. If you are going to shoot it live, make sure the cameras are working and pointing in the

right direction, especially if the webinar is about how to make an effective video☺

6. Watch your vocabulary. Make sure you are not repeating certain phrases like "Are you

with me?" Or "Does that make sense?" because after a while it gets irritating.

7. Interactive webinars where you could participate, by voting on something or giving

feedback keep you involved.

8. Don't sell people short and tease them with what they could learn if they only took the

next level of training.

9. Offer some concrete, practical information, material that your participants can immediately

use and put into practice.

10. Instead of the up-sell, finish with your website address and ways to connect so that people

can stay in touch and connected.

When you deliver what you say you are going to deliver, you build a loyal following, not by trying to coerce people to spend money they don't have on over-priced training.