This week, I take pot shots at webinars and why I think they are a waste for speaker, and the virtual attendee.

Webinars, where a speaker presents over the Internet, at a predetermined time to an audience sitting at home or at their desks, have always seemed to be a classic example of having your cake and eating it too. By the way – that expression makes no sense whatsoever. If I’m having cake you better believe that I want to eat it!

Anyway, I digress…

The problem with webinars is that they have all the disadvantages of actually going to see someone speak, with none of the advantages. The timming of the webinar is decided by the speaker, or organizer. The transfer of information is limited to that timing window and whatever notes are issued.

From the speaker side, webinars offer the possibility of actual interaction with participants. However, because the interaction is one way, unless initiated by the viewer, the speaker has no idea as to how well the presentation is going and therefore how to tailor it to address potential issues.

I also cannot help shaking the notion that webinars are, for the most part, the lazy way out. If online delivery is what is required, let’s have proper content. Presentations that can be downloaded, shared, and watched again and again on the viewers schedule. YouTube, Slideshare, or even PowerPoint all make this very easy.

While saying all this, I do think there is great value in physical meetings and presentations- particularly for the conversations that happen before and after the meeting. Social media, is an excellent way of approximating this offline interaction of a physical meeting- online, but the realtime contraints of a webinar don’t really lend themselves to this interaction.

Plus, who doesn’t need more great content.