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Webinars – limited interaction but more honest reaction?

When I started running webinars, I was disconcerted by not being able to see and gauge the reaction of participants. Whilst my preferred method of delivery is to be in the same room as those to whom I am talking, there are a couple of aspects about webinars which are very positive.

Firstly participants on webinars are able to pose questions, albeit in writing, which are invisible and inaudible to others. Whilst some participants at workshops are eager to pose questions – sometimes for reasons other than  curiosity – some participants can be very inhibited. One of the challenges is to encourage them to ask that question which is on the tip of their tongues.

Secondly participants on webinars are able to respond, again invisibly to others, to on-line questions which I pose. If you ask for a show of hands in a room, there are always a number who abstain. I have seen that the abstention level is always lower to webinar polls (usually multiple choice questions). Furthermore by being able to share with participants the results of those polls e.g. “30% of you have answered x, 20% y” they get a much better feel of where their approach or attitude sits in relation to others.