The art of the webinar

An apple, an open laptop, and four closed notebooks

Image from freeimages.co.uk

As an increasingly common means of sharing information the webinar deserves some attention.  My experience as a participant has attuned me to what the better webinars do well.  These best practices include:

Keeping the webinar brief

We’re busy people.  The best webinars get to the point and don’t try to cover everything.

Making it interactive

My favorite webinars make room for questions or otherwise engage participants.  If the presenters cannot address a question in the time given, they respond afterward.

Elaborating on the slides

Reading directly from slides can bore an audience (7 PowerPoint mistakes, 2011, para. 3): the better talks are value-added.   The one exception I could see to this rule would be for ADA compliance–where the slides could serve as a transcript.  Even there, though, captioning the talk would be more interesting.

Making the recording available

A potentially useful webinar may take place at an inconvenient time, or we may be interrupted during a webinar (I was interrupted twice during one particular talk.).  A recording should be not only available, but also easy to find.

These rules are neither new nor specific to webinars.  Still, presenting information is an important part of information literacy (ACRL, 2000, p. 13).  Best practices bear repeating.

 References

7 PowerPoint mistakes that drive people crazy. (2011). [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.boston.com/jobs/news/jobdoc/2011/06/7_powerpoint_mistakes_that_dri.html

Association of College & Research Libraries. (2000). Information literacy competency standards for higher education. Chicago, IL: Author.