Abandon the Stage! Embrace Webinar Radio!

(Microsoft, 2014)

A fellow e-Learning colleague and I were commiserating this week about assumptions that can sometimes be made when switching from face-to-face learning engagements to webinar learning engagements.

For me, it is like asking an experienced Shakespearian actor to give up the stage and confine himself to being a radio announcer. We talked about how to address webinar mediation barriers earlier. This post addresses the mindset behind abandoning the stage and embracing webinar radio. We’ll be talking about the importance of design and delivery as well as webcam use.


When designing your webinar learning, you have to take into account that you audience won’t be able to see you during most or all of the learning engagement. You have to take into account that you won’t be able to see them. Using interactivity, expressing the clear logical flow of the learning from beginning to end, making learning as experiential and bite sized as possible while achieving learning outcomes is a tall order for any learning experience. It is especially crucial when designing your next learning event on webinar radio.


Great actors and great trainers are really good at using their voice and body language to impart energy and enthusiasm. In webinars, many times you voice is the only instrument that you can use to transmit your excitement or to convey your caution about a topic. Embracing webinar radio means you need to warm up your voice before you begin the webinar. Exaggerate your delivery when off camera as your voice will help communicate that body language of leaning in and gesturing.


While webcams can help bring you back to the stage, it needs to be used sparingly. Use webcams when you want to encourage dialogue and foster re-engagement. A good time to use webcams is to introduce the training session or to encourage dialogue as part of a training exercise. Even then, you only have your head and shoulders to convey body language. Flying hands can be distracting when you are on camera.

Webinars are all about reengaging your audience so don’t make your talking head something that blends into the background. Remember that webinars are mainly done in radio mode without you or the participants being able to rely on webcams. Don’t get me wrong, I love using webcams. They can enhance learning but can be distracting if they are center stage throughout the entire learning engagement.

Are you ready to abandon the stage and embrace webinar radio?


Microsoft. (2014). Radio [Digital Image]. Used with permission from Microsoft. Retrieved from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=radio&ex=1#ai:MC900039284|

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