Webinar Myth #4: The Eager SME Myth

(Microsoft, 2014)

When going over projects that called for webinar delivery at kick-off meetings, I would explain to my clients, “A week before the first webinar, we should schedule an hour for a dry run.” Cries of “Why do we need to do this?” and “I don’t have time to work on this project as it is” are typical responses. I would explain how we would run through the features they would need to know about for the training session, discuss how chats would be handled and the order of the presenters. If we didn’t need the rehearsal, the meeting would be cancelled and everyone would get “back” some time.  There would be reluctant agreement.

Then hits what I call the “two-weeks-out calendar effect”. Have you ever noticed how appointments on our Outlook calendars are just amorphous objects, kind of like mythical figures from a long forgotten book we read in elementary school? They are there, in the background, lurking until the clock strikes midnight and our carriages turn back into pumpkins. Then reality hits when we are looking at our schedule for the next few weeks and find our first webinar on our schedule as a tangible, immovable object that must be dealt with!

The dialogue with my clients is much different once the “two-weeks-out calendar effect” strikes. “When are we going to discuss the order of the presenters?” “When are we going to figure out how to use the webinar features?” My reply is always the same: during the hour long rehearsal I scheduled right after the kick-off meeting. I have never given back that entire hour’s worth of time to even the most reluctant Subject Matter Expert (SME). Every SME expressed their gratitude for this preparation and webinars went as smoothly as advanced preparation could make them.

Having been on both sides of the training desk as both a SME and as a learning professional, I understand how precious everyone’s time is. If you are getting reluctance for webinar rehearsals, maybe you should forward this blog 🙂


Microsoft. (2014). Tragedy drama mask from the theater [Digital Imag. Used with permission from Microsoft. Retrieved from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=drama&ex=1#ai:MP900314250|

2 thoughts on “Webinar Myth #4: The Eager SME Myth

  1. Joanne,

    Rehearsal makes such a big difference!

    And a tip, you wrote: “two-weeks-out calendar *affect* strikes.” The word you want is “effect.” From Wiktionary: The result or outcome of a cause.

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