Keeping your webinar at a good length really depends on the topic.
But, in general, more than 90 minutes is too long. People get tired of sitting, and need breaks when you offer something longer than that.
If you’re using a webinar for business and product promotion, then taking too long can be the kiss of death. But, there are times when you need to be long because that is what the information requires.
- Start With and End With Engagement – Your webinar should feel very personal, and the best way to do that is to start and end with engagement. It will make your webinar more of a pleasure for you and for your audience.
- Keep It Simple – If you have a really complex piece of information to share, you might consider hosting a series of webinars instead of just one, with each talk being on a different aspect of the information you want to share. Keeping things simple will help you keep things shorter, but you don’t want to go so short that your audience misses an important ingredient in the information you are sharing.
- Offer Intermission – One way to handle a long webinar, if it must be long, is to offer a five or ten minute intermission during the event. The risk is that some people will not come back, but you can entice them to come back with a promise of a great offer at the top of the hour of their return.
- Offer Periodic Prizes – This will wake up your audience, break up your presentation, and help keep the excitement going during a long presentation. Start the first give-away after the first 30 minutes of the presentation. Make getting a prize contingent on being present, and offer one every 15 minutes or so after that first 30 minutes.
- Slow Slides and Your Face – Don’t make the entire presentation all about the slides. You want a good combination of showing yourself and your presentation to your audience. People like being able to look into your eyes. Seeing a face will make the presentation less boring. Plus, switching back and forth between showing slides, videos, and yourself will break it up and make it feel less long.
- Plan Ahead – To keep your webinars from going over the time you have planned, you need to create an outline for your webinar and practice in advance. This will ensure that you know how to cover all your points in the time you’ve allotted. You can’t just wing it, because we either tend to be long-winded or talk too fast when nervous and you want to fill the time slot that you promised.
- Focus on Content not Promotion – You do want to promote but that will be only about 10 minutes at the end of the event, perhaps before the Q & A portion. When you focus on offering valuable content that your audience can put to use, it automatically makes the event more interesting.
- Offer a Follow Up on the Fly – If you end up getting a lot more questions than you thought you’d get, plan a follow-up webinar on the fly within the next 48 hours. You can send an invite to everyone who has signed up for the webinar, but tell those who are in attendance that due to so many questions, you’re going to do it and send them the details later.
Hosting super long webinars is normally not necessary for most topics. If you need a long webinar, consider breaking it up into a series instead of doing it in one fell swoop. But, always give your pitch and make your offer at each one.