We all want webinars where people are more active participants. Nothing is worse than hosting a webinar where hardly anyone shows up, where those people who show up are inattentive, or even where people who show up don’t participate. If I was going to record a solo video I’d record it by myself, but with a webinar, I want audience participation! I accomplish this in three ways: limit attendees to call-in audio only, do the “mass thank you” at the end of the call, and put people on the spot for social proof.
One of the weirdest tips I got about hosting webinars was, only allow people to call in for audio over the phone. With many webinar services, you can give visitors a choice to hear your webinar over the phone or hear it over the internet. As someone who visits webinars, I prefer to listen through the computer, but as someone who hosts webinars, I prefer to host with the option to only hear audio over the phone. Why? Because most people don’t have microphones on their computers! With a phone-in option, you can unmute just about anyone and talk to them in realtime… they don’t have to be technically savvy, they only need to call in using the telephone.
The trippiest thing I like to do at the end of any webinar call is unmute all attendees and have them say “thank you and goodnight” to me and my co-host. Without experiencing this phenomenon yourself, you would think it was stupid and pointless. But it’s amazing! Not only do you feel great after getting 10 or 20 “thank yous” in a row, it reinforces that people got a great deal, because they just thanked you for giving that webinar.
Finally, limiting people to the phone-in option allows you to put people on the spot. When listeners call in via internet audio and have no microphone, they can get away with being quiet. But if you unmute them over the phone, they remain more attentive and when they don’t respond, it’s like they’re ignoring your phone call. Someone holding the phone to their ear is much more likely to talk to you if you mention their name.
If you want more responsive webinars, limit your attendees to get audio from phone calls only. Get them to give a “mass you thank you” at the end of the call to get them more responsive over the long term. You can also put people on the spot and get them to respond to them when you normally wouldn’t. Don’t be an idiot, setup your webinar to maximize response, not comfort!