A former colleague of mine recently published a post about Software Webinars that got me thinking. At my work we write software that is priced too low to pay a slick sales guy to jet around bending ears, unless a big new prospect is involved. So instead we use video conferencing tools to run webinars. After attending a few of these webinars I have dreamed up a strategy to maximise efficiency.

If the webinar is going to have five or fewer audience members and it doesn’t have to be repeated, then make it less formal and more interactive by using a question and answer type format. This way the audience members control the direction of the presentation.

If the conference has to be repeated or there are six or more audience members, then just pre-record the presentation part and press play when everyone has joined. At the end of the pre-recorded video, allow for questions and answers.

Pre-recording will take a bit of time upfront, but it will be reusable and you will be able to edit out any problems.

I think that five is the magic number of audience members, not three. With more than five people, the mood in the room is that of a broadcast, probably because it is difficult to find the opportune moment to interrupt. Also, the number of side conversations increases as the audience grows. A group of five can only diverge into two side conversations. Larger groups are also bolder, rowdier and it can be harder to get your message across.