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I’ve been pondering this question: “You say I should drop the Powerpoint in my webinars, but what replaces it?” anxiety rises when their beloved MS Powerpoint tool is threatened.

For some, my suggestion is almost like bad-mouthing their mother: people react with true resentment. Look, I know the feeling and I’m here to tell you that when you resist the first moment of panic, an entire new range of possibilities open up for you and— lucky for them — your audience.

Perhaps it’s helpful to share what worked for me, once I made the fateful decisions to lose the podium and turn the mike to my online audiences. Besides the usual— like asking participants to answer a quick poll or submit comments with the chat function—I like to do the following online experiential activities:

  • Air an audio/video segment and solicit feedback. This is increasingly powerful given the new advancements on webinar platforms. I like to show a video, possibly one that was shot using some person that the audience knows (two-minute maximum length, please). I like to upload these videos on YouTube and share the link later).
  • Engage group dialogue with a collaborative drawing tool. This is great: I write a key question on the “wall”. Then I ask people to just write their ideas, graffiti style, answering that question. For more advanced teams, we draw something all together. The results are messy but very entertaining!
  • Mystery caller. I ask a mystery caller to get on the conference call, normally as a character linked to the materials I’m teaching (for example, it could be a character of a case study the team read the week before). The team has a chance to ask the person who plays the part questions. Properly planned, announced and executed, this is sure to generate a lot of buzz.

By far my favorite strategy to engage webinar participants is using  breakout rooms for small- group work. (More on this in my next blog piece)

Have you ever thought about this? What is possible in your webinar when you drop the Powerpoint slides?