Should I Give a Webinar? Part III

by Linore Rose Burkard

In Parts One and Two, I discussed fears about giving webinars, and how to put such hindrances to rest. But are there real drawbacks to the medium that offline events don’t have? Let’s take a look.

PROBLEM: YOU CAN’T SEE THE AUDIENCE

Is this a PRO or a CON?
For people who get nervous in front of an audience, this aspect of webinars may be helpful. All one need do is speak in front of a safe, little camera. 😉
For myself, I was still aware of an audience watching, but unlike at a live event, I couldn’t read their body language, and this was not a plus. I like to read an audience as I speak. (I’ve never been aware of losing an audience due to boredom, but it’s a good idea to watch for it!) Do they look bored? Is there a lot of fidgeting? (Bad signs.) Or are they furiously scribbling notes and looking as though I’ve sparked ideas? (Good signs.) Webinars can make it challenging to get this sort of live feedback.

SOLUTION: Be sure to leave a comment box open so audience members can chime in, and schedule a time when you ASK them for specific feedback. You might ask, “How am I doing? Are you finding this helpful?” Or, as I asked, “Am I moving too slow or too fast?” Also, have your audience post questions they’d like you to address. Often, the last fifteen minutes of a webinar might be for such Q & A time. The comment box is an important means of connecting with your audience–use it!

POOR SOLUTION: I’ve attended webinars where speakers ask DUH questions and want the audience to give the (only) obvious answer. This is NOT what I recommend doing. It’s an insult to one’s intelligence when people do this, and they are clearly leading their audience by the nose to get them to buy a product, instead of having their best interest at heart and leading them into a great presentation. Ask open-ended questions, or at least, sincere ones.

TIP: When questions come in, jot them down. Either you failed to cover the information, or it’s something you hadn’t considered including. Perhaps you failed to cover it in enough detail. By keeping note of what questions come in, you can improve your next webinar or workshop.

PROBLEM: YOU CAN’T ASK A GROUP QUESTION (RAISE YOUR HAND–PLEASE!)

Just as you can’t see whether your audience is squirming or not, you can’t ask for a raise of hands in response to a question during a webinar. (Well, you can, as you’ll see below; but it’s not a good idea.) I like to open events so people can respond this way–it makes them feel engaged, and that their opinion counts. More importantly, it helps me get to know them. During a webinar, it would be time-consuming to wait for audience responses to come in, so how do you survey your group?

SOLUTION: Create a pre-webinar survey. When attendees register for the event, you send them to the survey, or send the survey to their inbox. My pre-webinar survey gave me even more information than a quick question or two at the start of a live event would have. I was able to use that information to tailor my presentation far more than if I’d gotten it a minute before the workshop opened. This pre-survey tool is really a secret weapon for the presenter. By asking the right questions, you can zero in on the needs of your audience and pack your presentation with value. One free tool is Survey Monkey.

Tip: Don’t just ask questions. USE the information when you create your presentation.

POOR SOLUTION: I’ve attended webinars where the presenter does indeed ask for the virtual “raise of hands.” It never fails to make me fidget, as minutes tick by. Just get to the good stuff, please! (Q&A is different, as the questions and answers are usually pertinent to everyone on the webinar. So do have Q&A–but don’t tally silly votes on things that don’t matter, such as, “How many of you have never watched one of my webinars before? Who cares! I wouldn’t dream of wasting my time answering such a query–or yours, by asking it. Neither should you.)

TIP: I discovered many people don’t want to fill even a two-minute survey. It’s to be expected that not everyone will reply. Nevertheless, to get the best possible response, I found it helpful to reassure people that answers were confidential and anonymous; it also helped to point out that they could benefit most from the webinar by telling me ahead of time what they were most hoping to learn. When they understood that filling the survey was actually empowering for them, responses increased.

PROBLEM: NO “RUBBING ELBOWS”

After a live event, people often come up to me to chat, ask questions, or just share notes about the industry. I cherish this networking time. If I didn’t enjoy rubbing elbows with other writers, I wouldn’t do presentations. So–how do you keep the conversation going with webinar attendees? Once they shut the window to the webinar, the connection’s over, right?

Not Necessarily.

SOLUTION: Just as I would for a live event, I arranged a bonus download that attendees had to sign up to receive. That not only gave me a way to keep the relationship going, but helped grow my mailing list.

TIP: Prepare a bonus PDF (or something else pertinent to your subject) that is truly as helpful as you can make it. Give people a reason to join your list and WANT to stay in touch with you! You should, of course, already have a mailing list for readers–use it for workshop attendees, too. And every time you email your list, offer something of value.

This post is getting long and I don’t want to overstay my welcome! So here’s a few quick pluses that giving webinars can offer.

Income. I earned more from the webinar than I’ve ever earned at a single live event. If you’ve got valuable information, people who need it are willing to pay for it.

Convenience.
I did it from home! No traveling time or expenses, no need to schedule my whole day around the event. Sure, I dressed professionally (as one should for any professional event–don’t be fooled by the ease of the method into behaving anything less than professionally. I recently attended two webinars where a Florida-based Christian businesswoman was dressed more for a stroll on the beach than a business-related presentation. Cover the flesh, ladies!) With convenience comes responsibility.

Worldwide Audience. An online event opens the doors to anyone with computer access. You can draw people from anywhere in the world! Also, if you include a guaranteed replay option, more people can register even if they can’t attend the live presentation.

A Product If you’ve recorded your event, you now have a product that you can give away for free, keep as a perpetual offer on your website, use to attract guests to future webinars or workshops, etc. Done well, it’s a feather in your cap, a building block to your all-important author’s platform, and something to be proud of.

For more tips for writers, join my list!
To Your Success!
Linore


TWEETABLES

Linore
Rose Burkard
 wrote a trilogy of delightful regency romances for the Christian market
before there were any regencies for the Christian market. Published with
Harvest House, her books opened up the genre for the CBA. She  writes
YA Suspense/Apocalyptic fiction as L.R.
Burkard. Linore
grew up in NYC and graduated magna cum
laude
from CUNY with a bachelors in English Literature. A writing workshop instructor, Linore is married with five
children, home-schools her youngest daughter, tolerates one dog and three cats, and drinks far too much coffee.   

 

New fiction! Available Now! 


DEFIANCE: Because sometimes resistance just isn’t enough.

In this third installment of the PULSE
EFFEX SERIES, foreign soldiers and
fellow Americans gone rogue are just the beginning of what Andrea, Lexie and Sarah must face. Beneath the
threat of nuclear strikes and guerrilla armies, the girls long for a free country in which to live–and love. Survival means resistance must give way to defiance. But can ordinary teens and their families withstand powerful forces and keep hope alive?

  

Should I Give a Webinar? Part II

by Linore Rose Burkard

In last month’s post, “Giving a Webinar: Should You, Would You, Could You?” I discussed some obstacles that gave me pause before doing my first webinar. Chief for me was a fundamental reluctance to appear on camera. I said we’d talk about the pros and cons of webinars in order to help you decide if you ought to be doing them. But first, I’d like to check out other reasons that may be holding you back from moving into this new technology. Such as:

  • Fear of doing something new
  • Fear of doing it wrong, or badly
  • Fear of having nothing to say!
  • Fear that no one will be interested
  • Fear of how much work may be involved. 
Fear, fear, fear. As Christian writers, we have not been given a spirit of fear (2 Tim.1:7), so let’s bust some fear-mongering myths and then we can further explore some of the pros and cons.  
I’ll share how I did indeed mess up in my first webinar, and whether that means some fears are justified.  
To Begin With
In order to learn the nuts and bolts, Gina Burgess and I did two practice sessions. We chatted while I practiced switching from camera to slides and back again. Gina learned how to mute listeners, to check the comment box for questions, and how to give a brief introduction before I spoke.
My Mistake
The patio doors behind my desk gave too much light, a distraction for viewers, so I sat in another room to record the event. This led to my big mistake: I used a laptop with a built-in camera, and was  too close to that camera when we recorded. (For half of the presentation, you can’t see my whole face. Aargh.)  
But feedback was still terrific–because it wasn’t about me. The most important element in a webinar is the material–not how well we look on camera, or whether we’re too close, as I was. So remember, the star of the show isn’t YOU–it’s what you’re presenting. Thank goodness for that!  
Nevertheless, avoid this mistake by being sure to practice with the actual equipment you’ll use for the live event. (You can also pre-record a webinar, and not hold a live event at all.  Some people choose to go this route, never appearing live on camera. Instead, they show a photo of themselves, usually minimized in a corner of the screen.) 
For live events, it is better to show your face–this reassures listeners that you’re really there, and  helps them get to know you, thereby increasing the value of the event.
Let’s bust some more fears:  
Fear of Doing Something New  
Ever since you learned to walk, you’ve had to overcome the fear of doing new things.  Just as walking brings joy and exhilaration to a toddler, moving into new territory is liberating for adults. Doing a webinar is no exception. It’s actually quite easy to learn, and there are many platforms out there to ease your transition into it. A few popular ones are:
  • GoToWebinar
  • WebJam
  • Zoom
Fear of Doing it Wrong, or Badly
The only way to learn to do it right is by trying. Practice as much as you like beforehand with a friend or family member by holding a private meeting on the webinar platform you’ve chosen to use. (I should have practiced using the laptop, not just my PC.) But I’ve seen plenty of webinars where even the pros run into a technical glitch–it happens. Usually, it’s not a big deal. Show this fear to the door.
Fear of Nothing to Say!
Webinars are a tool you branch into because you already have something to share, whether it’s a message or a product. In either case, it should be something you’re passionate about, and what you KNOW will bless those who need what you’ve got, or what you know. So, what do you know that other people wish they knew? What do you know that can help someone else move forward in their career, or their parenting, or their hobby? If there’s anything you can share, you have something to say: Kiss this fear goodbye! 
Fear that No One Will be Interested  
If you’ve got a message that can help SOMEONE, then there will be interest. Find your “someone” and you’ve found your target audience. Not everyone will want what you’ve got–so what? The people you can help will be riveted. Close the door on this fear.  
Fear of the Work Involved
Sure, there’s work involved in presenting a value-packed webinar. If you’ve already been honing a message, you’ve given workshops, taught classes, or created informational PDFs–you’re halfway there. The work is simply tailoring your content to fit the time allotment of  the webinar, and learning how to pace your presentation. Again, a little practice is all you need. If you do this well, and charge for your webinar, you’ve created a passive income stream–the work is worth it.
That puts these fears to rest. But I’m out of space! In Part III next month I’ll get into those pros and cons, promise!   

TWEETABLES

Should I Give a Webinar? Part II by Linore Rose Burkard (Click to Tweet)

Reasons that may be holding you back from moving into this new technology.~ Linore Rose Burkard (Click to Tweet)

How I did indeed mess up in my first webinar~ Linore Rose Burkard (Click to Tweet)

Linore Rose Burkard is best known for historical regency novels with Harvest House Publishers, including Before the Season Ends, the award-winning The House in Grosvenor Square, and The Country House Courtship. Linore also writes YA/Suspense as L.R.Burkard, As a writer known for meticulous research as well as bringing people marvelously to life on the page, Linore’s books earn her devoted fans who report reading her novels over and over. Linore is a homeschooling mom of five, and enjoys cooking from scratch, family movie nights, gardening and painting. Linore teaches workshops for writers, and is a Writing Conference Co-ordinator.

UPCOMING RELEASE: MAY 23, 2017.

DEFIANCE: Because sometimes resistance just isn’t enough.


In this third installment of the PULSE EFFEX SERIES, Sarah, Andrea and Lexie must finally come to terms with the “new normal”– life after an EMP, with no power, no modern conveniences, and worst of all, constant threats from enemy soldiers and marauders.  

Life, love, and the will to survive brings each girl face to face with hopes and dreams that a dark world only wants to extinguish.   

In the past, the girls and their families put up a resistance. But what happens when that isn’t enough?

Giving a Webinar–Should You, Could You, Would You? (Part One)

by Linore Burkard

I recently gave my first webinar.

In the past, I’d wondered if it was something I could do, should do, or would do. I am a big proponent of continuously strengthening one’s platform, and right off the bat, giving webinars in an area of expertise qualifies as a way to do that. I enjoy teaching, and I have a heart for helping other writers. So what was my hesitation?

The idea of being on camera intimidated me.
Way back when I gave my very first presentation to a writers’ group in Dayton, Ohio, upon arrival I discovered they had cameras in place and were going to record it! That was my FIRST public speaking engagement. This was before the wonderful Nick Harrison, then an editor with Harvest House Publishers, had even picked up my self-published first novel. So I’m reaching back, here.

I am still friends with the sweet Christian writer-leaders of that group, and they were kind to give me that opportunity; but would you want your FIRST public speaking experience to be recorded?

Neither did I. So, the thought of doing a webinar evoked whiffs of that experience.

However, thanks to an invitation from Gina Burgess to partner with Authors Community, (a division of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC) I agreed to do one. It was to be recorded (shudder).

Before the event, I had moments of remorse. What if it didn’t go well? What if no one showed up? What if my presentation wasn’t helpful? (And what if I looked terrible? Yes, we women think about that!)

I realized these were the same questions I grappled with before doing a live event for writers–and all my live events had gone well, had great attendance, and received excellent feedback from audience members. So I gave up worrying (mostly), trusted God to use me, and got to the business of preparing a well-rounded presentation (which was, in fact, on platform building for writers).

We opened with a minute or two of chatting as everyone got online. Since I am now gregarious by nature (meaning I wasn’t always), chatting sets me at ease, and this helped. Then, as soon as I got into my material, I began having fun. The truth is I love to do this stuff! I stopped worrying about all that might go wrong and just enjoyed sharing what I had.

And I learned a few things about doing webinars. Like most other endeavors, there are pros and cons, and pitfalls to avoid.

Next month I’ll share what those pros and cons are, and help you decide whether or not doing webinars is for you.

In the meantime, I’ll be preparing for my second live webinar with Authors Community. (That’s a hint! There are more pros than cons for today’s author.)

Until next time,

To Your Success,

Linore

TWEETABLES
Linore Rose Burkard is best known for historical regency novels with Harvest House Publishers, including Before the Season Ends, the award-winning The House in Grosvenor Square, and The Country House Courtship. As a writer known for meticulous research as well as bringing people marvelously to life on the page, Linore’s books earn her devoted fans who report reading her novels over and over. Linore is a homeschooling mom who enjoys cooking from scratch, family movie nights, gardening and decorating. Along with writing novels, her literary pursuits include teaching workshops for writers, editing, and now–giving webinars!

Coming this Spring!
Available for Pre-Order NOW

DEFIANCE: Because sometimes resistance just isn’t enough.
The PULSE EFFEX Series

The Regency Trilogy

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Title Photo Copyright: igoror / 123RF Stock Photo

Thou Shalt Outline (Before You Write)

by Linore Rose Burkard

One of the most remarkable “God encounters” of my life happened while I was in college. It was a pressure-crunch week with no less than four essays coming due. For some English Majors that may not be too daunting, but for a perfectionist whose self-esteem depended strongly on getting an A or A+ —every time–I felt sadly doomed. (Melodramatic? Yes–maybe that’s why I’m a writer!)
I was standing at a bus stop outside of a New York Public Library, trying to decide whether to get on the next bus and catch a few precious hours at my apartment before heading off to my exhausting full time evening job at a hospital, or maybe doing some research or writing. If I chose to write, I’d end up having to go straight to work without that little bit of down time.

I wasn’t praying at the moment. Since I lived alone then, I did habitually pray earnestly, sometimes for hours. (I was a new Christian and in love with God!) But quite suddenly, out of the blue, I heard the Lord speak to me. He said, “I’ll give you the paper.” I’d been thinking about a certain paper–it was on the medieval poem, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” My chosen topic for the essay was the function of the “wheel” (a poetic device) in the poem. So when God said, “I’ll give you the paper,” there was no doubt in my mind which paper he meant.

Hmm. Having never had such an experience before, I didn’t know what to do, but I walked rather woodenly into the library and sat down and opened a notebook. And then–the miracle. (His speaking to me was miraculous, in my book, but it gets even better.)

As I put my hand to write, and not a second sooner, an outline came to me, point by point, including sub-points beneath each major point. In minutes, I had an astonishing outline. I went home and typed up my paper.

Now, you should know that I have absolutely NO–and I mean, NO–talent for writing outlines. To this day, to my great regret–(because obviously this is how GOD writes!! It’s GOT to be the best way, right?)  I just can’t do it.

The following week when my professor was handing back papers, he called me up to his desk, thoroughly impressed. The paper was brilliant, spot on, A++. He urged me to enter a prestigious English major contest, the name of which I’ve completely forgotten. This became one of  many lost opportunities in life, because I nodded as though of course I’d enter this contest, all the while convinced, with a sinking heart, that it was impossible. With my work schedule, I had no confidence of ACING the contest, so there was no question of entering. (Yeah. Idiot. Actually, back then I was anxiety personified.)

So what’s the moral of the story? First, that falling to our knees in earnest prayer can result in God showing up unexpectedly in miraculous ways!  But as writers, it’s this: Lots of authors will tell you that it’s best to start a novel with an outline. Why? Instead of having to edit and rearrange a whole novel, you can fix your much simpler outline, see the problem spots before you write them out, and save yourself a ton of trouble. I TOTALLY agree. I’m convinced it’s the best–dare I say it? Blessed, way to write!

Unfortunately, I can’t do it. But I can still tell you to!

An excellent book, if you care to give it a try is First Draft in 30 Days, by Karen Weisner.
I used this book while I wrote my third historical romance novel, The Country House Courtship, and came closest to writing an outline that worked (aside from that singular instance of divine inspiration) than I have ever done otherwise.

So, if you happen to hear the voice of God dictating a novel word for word ( I certainly haven’t!) go for it.
If not? Try an outline.

TWEETABLES


Thou Shalt Outline (Before You Write) by Linore Rose Burkard (Click to Tweet)

See the problem spots before you write them out~ Linore Rose Burkard (Click to Tweet)

I’m convinced it’s the best~ Linore Rose Burkard (Click to Tweet)

(Not Final Cover)

Linore Rose Burkard grew up in NYC in a family of ten. She left home at 19, worked her way through college and graduated magna cum laude from CUNY. An author of historical romance and young adult suspense, she now lives in Ohio with her husband and five children, a Shorkie and cats.

COMING SOON: DEFIANCE The PULSE EFFEX, Book Three.
“It’s a great time to be a fan of YA novels! L.R.Burkard is back with the
next tale in her dystopian series, and the bar of excellence is raised
to new heights with this top-quality literary offering! Deena Peterson,  Blogger/Reviewer
See PULSE, the electrifying start to the series Here.