We’ve all gotten the email reminder that a webinar is scheduled on Friday afternoon from 2-4 p.m. — those dreaded hours when all you really want to do is finish up your work for the week and go home for the weekend.
Instead, you get to watch a mundane PowerPoint presentation, slide after slide of graphs and statistics, most of which don’t even pertain to you.
But perk up! New technologies abound, and PowerPoint is learning to share the webinar spotlight.
Webinars may never be the same again with some of these techniques:
Face to Face: Instead of looking at a bland slideshow, you can now see the face of the meeting. With a simple connection of a webcam, the meeting becomes less of a webinar and more of seminar, just from the comforts of your office. Moderators are now able to share their emotions and expressions, which will hopefully convey the information better.
Some webinar hosting services can also provide integrated video chat. In small settings, participants can all have face time, enabling them to see each other. The meeting has moved from a conference room to whereever you have access to a smart phone or computer.
Instant Messaging: One of the key components to many webinars is the opportunity for interaction. Instant message or text messaging embedded into the webinar is a way for participants to share ideas, ask question or respond to questions in real time. A chat box is used to relay information to the moderator, the entire group or select individuals.
The downside to IM: side conversations are easily held as most programs allow for participants to have private conversations with each other.
File Sharing: These days it’s not necessary to put everything into the slide show. Pretty much every file that you have on your computer can be displayed. If it’s a YouTube video, an Excel spreadsheet or a picture of your dog, it can all be shared with your participants.
HTML: Internet presentations simply make the presentation more aesthetically pleasing. In addition, it just doesn’t feel as “dry” as a PowerPoint slide show. Most people are accustomed to seeing websites and Internet pages so if the presentation is designed in the same manner, the familiarity alone may make participants more comfortable with the material. In addition, HTML allows for easily embedded material like videos and animations.
Fact of the matter is, webinars and teleconferences are a staple of the business world. It’s a way to eliminate travel and bring information to groups of people, quickly and efficiently. As companies are looking at ways to reduce cost, they will undoubtedly be used more and more.
Technology will hopefully continue evolving, making the experience more personal and interactive and less slideshow driven.