Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Success with Webinars

Today’s guest post is by Susan Joy Schleef of Presentations with Results, Inc. Follow these brilliant 13 steps along the yellow brick road to success with webinars (steps 9 and 10 are often overlooked keys to success and 13 will help boost attendance and get your attendees so much better results)!

Do you want to let more people know about your expertise?  One of the best ways to do that is by giving webinars.

Although they may seem a bit daunting, webinars have a lot of benefits to offer to entrepreneurs and small business owners – as well as bigger businesses.

For one thing, of course, you can reach groups of people and teach them all at once, instead of talking with one client at a time.

But even for people who have not yet attended one of your webinars, just seeing a notice on the internet announcing your upcoming webinar will give a boost to their view of you as an expert.

If you can get into the routine of hosting webinars on a regular basis, maybe once or twice a month, you will definitely build a reputation as someone who shares her knowledge freely with others.

Here are 13 steps you can take to start moving onto the yellow brick road of webinars:

  1. Don’t worry about the technical details.  You can always get some Wizard to help you set up all that stuff behind that curtain.
  2. Start thinking about topics:  common questions your clients (or even friends) ask you special topics you wish you had time to tell them but never get around to.  (Ask the scarecrow to help you think!)
  3. If nothing comes to mind for topics to present, try a “template” like:  the 3 biggest challenges my clients struggle with OR 3 things you always wanted to know about xxxxx
  4. Start telling your clients, friends, social network contacts, and everyone you can think of that you’re going to start offering webinars very soon.  This will not only commit you to the process, but you may also get feedback from them about what you could present.  (Have courage, Lion!)
  5. Choose a topic that you can speak about passionately.  Sounding dull and speaking too slowly on a webinar is one of the fastest ways to lose attendees!
  6. Decide how much effort you want to put into the technical setup.  How big and official do you want to start?  Your options range from signing up for a WebEx or GoToWebinar account (1-month free trial) to just doing a group call with screen-sharing on Skype.
  7. Find a mentor with some experience who can help you get started OR register for a class with someone that can show you the basics parts of the process and the technical overview.  It’s nice to have a Good Witch in your corner!
  8. Ask if you can be a guest presenter with someone you know who is already giving webinars.  You’ll want to find someone whose business focus has some resonance with your topic.
  9. Attend webinars as often as you can and start paying attention to what the presenter is doing and how they’re doing it, rather than just focusing on the content.
  10. Notice how webinars are being promoted in the emails you receive and in social media postings.
  11. If you have already done some live multimedia presentations, look through your slides to see if the same topic would appeal to a webinar audience.  In general, you want to include plenty of visuals in a webinar because the audience needs something to look at while your disembodied voice is talking to them.
  12. Remember that it is much harder for people to pay attention during a webinar.  You need to have engaging, highly visual slides and plan plenty of interaction with the attendees, through polls or asking to type comments in the chat window.  Otherwise you’ll put them to sleep faster than a field of poppies!
  13. Think about preparing some type of simple handout that attendees can download (or that you can email to them) before the webinar.  This gives them a focus for taking notes and it also lets them keep a little piece of you after the webinar, where they can find your website, email address, etc. on the bottom of the handout.  You could also prepare a short free report that they can request by emailing you after the webinar.

You can get started fairly easily with webinars.  But there is also a lot you could do to deliver really great, engaging webinars.  You just have to start where you are and grow your skill at a pace that’s comfortable for you.

If you’d like to read some more about using webinars in your business, you can find some additional blog posts on my site,

Also I am offering a free webinar about giving webinars on July 18th.  To see the details and to register, go to

Now click your heels together and repeat after me:  There’s nothing like webinars . . .

Susan Joy Schleef is the founder and owner of Presentations With Results, Inc., and is a presentation strategist and consultant.  Certified in Cliff Atkinson’s “Beyond Bullet Points” methodology, Susan teaches business owners, entrepreneurs, speakers, trainers, sales people, and other presenters how to create and deliver more effective multimedia presentations.  Her background includes a degree in Secondary Education and teaching experience that ranges from grade school to the community college level, in addition to many years of providing workplace training for various organizations.   Susan is also the author of the forthcoming book, Get Your Message Into Their Brain: How Neuromarketing Principles Can Improve Results from Your Presentations, Webinars, and Videos.

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  1. Susan,

    Thanks for these great tips. I especially think having a handout and keeping things moving along helps retain attention.

    Unfortunately getting folks’ sustained attention is a huge challenge in this day of stimulation and impatience. Also, when attendees know there will be a replay, they tend to pay less attention, and sometimes don’t even show up.

    Offering webinars, however, is still a great way to share information since you can appeal to the visual and audio, as well as allow audience real-time participation. Thanks for giving us the vital tips we need to be successful with this medium.
    Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D. recently posted… confirmsuccessMy Profile

    1. I’ve found the same thing, Flora. It helps boost attendance, too, when we’ve got that handout to start the information gap.

      The replay thing is tough. I want to offer them but you’re right, it does mean fewer people show up live, and they’re so likely to not listen in to the replay later.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Success with WebinarsMy Profile

  2. Thanks for the great info, Susan. Webinars have always seemed quite daunting to me in the past, but I’m hearing so much good about them lately that I know I’ll be offering some of my own very soon!

    1. Hey Donna, it’s really a great way to share your information–and once you jump in and run through a few, it’s a lot of fun. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… 3 Simple Ways to Get More Traffic to Your BlogMy Profile

  3. Thank you for the tips on webinars. Fairly soon I’m going to have to bite the bullet and take the plunge.
    Julia Neiman recently posted… Get Moving: Think Change – Lesson 17 in the Empowering Young Entrepreneurs SeriesMy Profile

    1. You can do it, Julia! :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Want to Know My Secret Weapon?My Profile

  4. Like anything else in life you’ve got to bite the bullet and go for it. I remember when I did my first Blog Talk Radio, I was so nervous, I did hypnosis, and I tapped just before the call started. I did a trial run with my children. I signed in early just to be sure I understood how everything worked. Whew!! For my tele-class, I took the same steps.

    A webinar is another tool for our business success. One has to be careful however, you cannot use every tool that’s available or you’ll become overloaded. Now, it’s a different story if you have a team in place.

    We’re our worst critic and that voice inside of your head needs to know that you’re the boss and you’re gonna take risks.

    My goal is to have a webinar on or before December 31, 2012.

    Thanks Michelle and Susan for sharing these helpful tips.
    Adalia John recently posted… Can a Single Story Define Who You are?My Profile

  5. I really have no idea what webinars is as I only heard it from a friend until I read your entire post. Thank you for making things clear for me.

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