The Virtual Trainer (Part 2)

Bad classroom training doesn’t get better on a Webinar. Here are seven tips for successful delivery of training via Webinar.

In the September/October issue, we covered how to prepare trainers and participants when a Webinar is the delivery method of training ( Now let’s move on to the actual delivery of the training.

Some 80 percent of a Webinar’s effectiveness happens because of the right preparation. But delivery is what puts it over the top. Bad classroom training doesn’t get better on a Webinar. It gets infinitely worse.

Here are seven tips I recommend for successful Webinar delivery:

1. Project as much or more energy than you would in the classroom. The problem is that in the classroom, you can feed off the visual cues you get from your participants to boost your energy. Here’s one of my best secrets: Tape a small photo of someone you care about—someone who energizes you—next to your Webcam. Focus on the photo, not the camera. This will raise your energy level— at least it does mine. It also will help you intensify your eye contact with participants. Many virtual presenters tend to end up fixated on the whiteboard where their visuals are.

2. Keep a countdown timer running on your smartphone. This enables you to stay on top of the pacing. Keep your flow sheet for the Webinar right next to it.

3. Be online early. For me, this means 30 minutes before the training starts. I can’t count the number of times I’ve checked all the technology the night before and it worked fine. Then the next morning, when I go online, there is a glitch.

4. Have a backup plan. My producer has several things to do to keep the Webinar moving if I get kicked off for some reason. I also log on with two different computers, so if one goes down, I can simply switch to the other.

5. Don’t be afraid of silence. If you ask a question and want people to answer verbally, ask it this way: “You have 60 seconds to think of your answer to this question. You can type your answer into the chat box, but don’t hit send until the onscreen timer hits zero. At the end of your answer, if you’d be willing to talk with me about your response, simply add, ‘Let’s talk.’” Generally, at least one or two will respond positively. My producer then can open those participants’ microphones, we have a brief chat, and then move on.

6. Start and end on time. If anything, end a few minutes early. This is almost impossible to do in a one-hour session, and much easier when you are doing sessions of two to three hours (which is normally the maximum time for a single session).

7. Tell people how to choose their group leaders before you send them to breakouts. For example: “In just a minute, you’ll be going to your breakouts. When you arrive, you’ll find two questions on the whiteboard for your team to answer in two minutes. Your group leader will be the person who most recently played an online game (prior to this session!). Type your answers to the question on the whiteboard. Your two minutes begin now.”

If you want to see how I model these tips, send an e-mail to and I’ll send you a link to an archived Webinar. Until next time—add value and make a difference.

Bob Pike, CSP, CPLP FELLOW, CPAESpeakers Hall of Fame, is known as the “trainer’s trainer.” He is the author of more than 30 books, including “Creative Training Techniques Handbook” and his newest book, “The Expert’s Guide to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to Training.” You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook using bobpikectt.