On Thursday I participated in my first Webinar led by Jay Goldman and Mark Bard and it was a great experience. The folks at PharmExec coordinated the event with a tool that allowed all three of us to be in different cities and still work almost as if we were in one room. The experience is very different than presenting face to face, so here are some tips if you find yourself presenting online.
Prepare prepare prepare
This is fairly obvious, but preparation isn’t just getting used to the online tool (the PharmExec folks were excellent at prepping us on that) it’s coordinating the hand-offs between the presenters. We like to have a collaborative presentation style so we tend to jump back and forth with myself presenting findings and implications, Jay presenting strategic implications, and Mark presenting the industry thoughts and positions. With this style clear handoff points are needed and each presenter needs to “hand off” newscaster-style to the next in the chain.
You will get no feedback
You’re not in the same room as the audience, and most of them probably have the webinar on in the background as they try and get some work done anyway. This means that you can’t adjust the pacing or depth of your commentary, you have to go with your script which was honed during the “prepare prepare prepare” phase.
Some feedback is possible, but it lags. We used the hashtag #DHCsocial and included it on the footer of the presentation because folks who want to Tweet can’t go back and look it up later. This feedback is real-time, but you need another person reviewing the commentary if you want to use it and you have to recognize that Twitter users are only a small subgroup of your audience.
After the webinar you will find out how long attendees stayed, and this can provide feedback for the next one. If you’re curious, our retention looked like this:
The number of questions you can get from your audience can be quite high. Allow twice as much time for questions as you think you need.
The tool we were using allowed questions to be directed to individual speakers so it’s important to have clear topics that each one will answer. The presenters can also pass questions to one another but they need to use clear transitions and call on the other presenters by name.
Learn, change, repeat
This method of reaching an interested, engaged audience for our topic worked well. All of our clients have topics that their stakeholders may find interesting, so it really is worthwhile to give this channel a try.
Obviously, our content is most interesting to pharmaceutical marketers, but your own stakeholders have needs that can be satisfied through webinars. Ask yourself:
- How many patients would like to hear the story of another patient?
- How many physicians want to hear about success before trying a new therapy or moving an existing one up a tier?
- How many potential hires in R&D would like to hear about what it’s like to work in your laboratories?
Once you start brainstorming topics, the potential of the channel is nearly endless.