Thursday, December 20, 2012

How Trainers Can Use Webinars to Improve Their Workshops and Seminars

If you're a trainer delivering workshops or seminars to organizations or the public, tap into the power of webinars to enhance the value of these presentations.

Many trainers think the best way to use webinars is to replace their current in-person training courses with online versions (webinars). That can work, but it's not necessarily the best way to start, because:

  • Clients are more familiar with in-person workshops
  • Audiences are more familiar with them as well
  • You generally can't charge as high a fee, so you're harming your own income source

Instead of trying to replace your courses with webinar, enhance those courses instead. Here are some ways to do that ...

1. Market Research

If you're creating a new program for your clients, or approaching a new market with an existing program, you might not know exactly what they want most from you. One way to find out is with a free Question and Answer webinar. You invite everybody in your network (or at least the people in your target market), then turn up and spend an hour answering their questions. Use this for market research rather than promotion. You provide an extremely valuable service, and in return you discover exactly what your market wants to know.

You can improve the experience even further by:

  • Inviting people to e-mail you their questions in advance
  • Arranging the questions in a logical sequence
  • Recording the webinar and sending the recording as a thank-you gift to all participants
  • Transcribing the recording, and using the material for articles, blog posts and other written material

2. Workshop Planning Webinar

If you want your workshop participants to do some planning and pre-work before they turn up to your workshop, run a planning webinar some time before the workshop. In that webinar, you describe broadly what you'll cover in the workshop, and ask participants to do the necessary pre-work.

This has a number of benefits:

  • You can help participants prepare appropriately for the workshop
  • You bring all participants to the same level
  • You can teach more in the workshop itself, because they have already done some planning, thinking and pre-work
  • You establish rapport with participants before they meet you in person

Record the planning webinar, so you can make it available to workshop participants who couldn't attend the webinar.

3. Workshop Support Webinar

You can also run a webinar after your workshop, to offer additional support and assistance. This is especially useful if you expect participants to go away and put your ideas into practice, because they will have further questions later.

This sort of support webinar has a number of benefits:

  • It allows people time for them to use the workshop material
  • It allows you to genuinely help people who need help, without having to run a follow-up workshop or answer a series of e-mails and phone calls
  • It reduces the pressure on you to cover absolutely everything they need to know in the workshop itself
  • It increases the value of the workshop to your participants and clients

Are you using webinars to enhance your workshops?

These are just three of the ways you can use webinars to improve your in-person workshops and seminars. If you're not using them already, you might be missing a great opportunity to add value, increase your fees, and improve the experience for everybody involved.

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