by Brenda Timm

Scoring points for being convenient and cost-effective, webinars are a great opportunity for today’s busy professionals to squeeze in some added learning time on their quick-to-fill calendars.

But many of us have probably had the same disappointing experience: we’ve attended a highly touted session (or sometimes several!) that totally missed the mark.

So how can you create a presentation that really resonates when pulling together a webinar? Here are a few tips for the content development process:

Deliver on the content promised. There’s nothing worse than advertising one thing and delivering another. Make sure your webinar content stays on topic and covers all of the main points promoted.

Select engaging, informed speakers. Choose a presenter who is both passionate and knowledgeable about the featured topic. A straight 60 minutes of lecture can get long for anyone… follow a more conversational style and add in elements like humor, quick polls and thought-provoking questions.

Make visuals meaningful. Repeating your presentation word-for-word in a slide deck defeats the purpose of a webinar. Use slides to supplement and keep them simple and light on text. Plus, work in charts and other visuals to keep your audience interested.

Open the floor to questions. Whether it’s in the middle of the session, here and there or all the way at the end, set aside some time for Q&A. If several questions come in, try to answer a variety, especially focusing on those that are most universal to everyone.

Provide follow-up materials. Not all participants will be able to stay plugged in for the whole webinar, and many who would like to attend, won’t be able to. Consider making the presentation available on-demand afterward and sharing any slides or other webinar materials.

The better the experience people have when sitting in on your webinar, the more likely they’ll return to tune in for future sessions.

Just remember: a good webinar takes careful planning on many levels – from technical to creative – and content development plays a big part in that.