In June I participated in a webinar which Adobe ran as part of its Summer Masterclass series. I know it’s taken me two months or more to get round to it, but I did feel the event taught me some interesting lessons.
First of all, this was at first sight an elaborately orchestrated event, staged by dreamtek.tv for Adobe. We had a formal panel show set and a full video crew. We also had an excellent and highly experienced interviewer, Helen Olsen, to host the event. Adobe invited a load of people and gave them a choice of being part of a live audience or attending online through Adobe Connect. The overwhelming choice was online. This may have seemed like it could have been a rather contrived corporate showpiece, yet the reality was quite different. Why? Because this was a great example of why webinars which let people interact freely work much better than when you simply get to make a presentation.
On the panel alongside me were Andy Jones, senior learning consultant from Thomson Reuters and Matt Wicks, MD of The Virtual Forge. Neither was easily constrained from having a view. Quite simply we chatted. Helen had some set piece questions, but many more came in from participants. It went on and then it went on some more until some two and a half hours later we came to a halt. How long was that? Yes, two and a half hours. But surely the limit for any webinar is an hour? Not in this case. You might have expected most of our audience to have logged off well before the end but they didn’t. We must have got something right.
What did I learn? Well firstly video does help. So does an opinionated panel and a host. And so does an engaged and intelligent audience. None of these is in short supply.