Are Subject Matter Experts a Dangerous Choice to Host, Facilitate or Contribute to Your Online Webinar, Conference or Event? They May Well Be……
Is the word or phrase of the year “unprecedented”? Perhaps it is “new norm” or even “pivot”! You could even make a case for “Zoom”. In fact “to Zoom” has become a byword for catching up, meeting, setting up a call or in many cases, booking some training, coaching, consulting support, even hosting an online conference or event.
Whether you use Zoom, Teams, Hangouts, WebEx, GoTo or even good old Skype, 2020 has certainly been the year of the webinar.
Given that a lot of the platforms have been around for a while without achieving much global traction, surely this has just been a temporary solution to a current and genuine communications challenge. Alternatively, does it actually represent a fundamental shift in how training, coaching consultancy support and even your conference programme is going to be delivered?
Well, that is actually very likely, especially given the obvious financial and logistical advantages of an online delivery option, so it should be a simple enough transition – shouldn’t it?
We believe that the future will be a blended combination of the physical and virtual but we also believe that there are inherent mistakes-in-waiting in just transitioning your physical programmes to an online platform. These potential mistakes are predominantly around delivery – choosing the right hosts, practitioners and facilitators.
Whilst many have seen their participation confidence increase dramatically in recent months, the same cannot necessarily be said for those hosting, facilitating or delivering online content. Some are, have been and remain simply terrible.
Whereas in a traditional classroom or conference environment a subject matter expert can perhaps get away with an uninspiring delivery style (if their content is okay), or even a bit of “Death by PowerPoint” slide deck sharing, this does not work and is simply unacceptable in an online environment.
An “old style” type of approach will have significantly negative consequences for all concerned, especially if coupled with an inability to control the environment or influence an online audience – they will simply disengage and abdicate from participation.
Leading a webinar or delivering an online conference session with the option of multiple screens and multiple engagement options such as breakout rooms, virtual classrooms and the like needs more than a degree of skill and confidence and more than a degree of gravitas to deliver a memorable session.
In addition, the webinar leader or online conference speaker needs new, additional skills over and above traditional delivery to maintain a level of influence and interest, particularly in or beyond a typical 45 -60 minute window.
So, if you are a subject matter expert, it is no longer acceptable to just have good content. If you are seeking a subject matter expert for your business or event, it is no longer acceptable to just check out the content.
More than ever, you need to have or you need to check out engagement & delivery skills.
Can they use and effectively control the chosen online platform?
Can they engage and influence an online audience without simply resorting to a full slide deck share?
Do they have Zoom Gravitas?
Have they properly transitioned their physical content for the online environment?
If the future is blended, then online is gaining more importance by the day. Can you afford not to change your approach to the delivery of training, coaching, coaching support and conference events?
Don’t let those with in-room experience and subject-matter expertise impact your future plans, unless they have earned the opportunity by having made the pivot themselves.
We have all sat through THAT boring session – don’t let that be one of yours for lack of due diligence.