This morning I lead my first webinar. Like a lot of things right now I felt like I was breaking new ground and this first one felt pretty bumpy. I was pretty confident that the content I had was solid… but my use of the delivery system was awkward. Audio issues, PowerPoint issues, user feedback issues, stuff like that. These are all little things I want to get ironed out because it’s a platform I want to master. A co-worker asked me how it went and I said what I thought at the moment, horrible! He assured me it wasn’t as bad as I thought. But I’m not happy with a mediocre performance!
Why are webinars so hot right now? Here are my thoughts.
#1 The software is getting better and cheaper. We use Gotowebinar (or Gotomeeting) and its very slick. If it allowed live video streaming I’d like it a lot more… but I’m sure that’s coming.
#2 People need specialized training despite limited travel budgets. It’s no secret… lots of companies used to spring for people to fly all over the place for specialized training. With technology better and more accessible, it’s really more cost effective to grab people out of their routines for a couple of hours as opposed to travelling.
#3 People are getting used to it. It’s not that this type of thing hasn’t been around for a long time. Conference calls, teleconferencing, stuff like that. But I’m noticing a big uptick in the amount of it people are jumping in on.
I also want to point out that you don’t have to spend a ton of money. You could just as easily host a webinar on UStream.tv or Justin.tv and share your presentation on Google docs. Likewise, I am confident that there will be a much better webinar interface soon. The two big options out there now are GoToMeeting and WebEx. Both are expensive… and I’m positive something in the free or nearly free category will come on the scene soon.