Webinar Ninja 4.0 Review

Webinar Ninja 4.0 Review – What is that and why would I care?

I’m sure you are familiar with all the “crazy” people who line up at the Apple Store whenever a new iPhone, iPad, iFridge or whatever is released. I love my Apple products but I haven’t done that (yet). However, I like the idea of being so excited about a new product that I want to be first in line to look behind the curtain and see the secrets revealed.

I am an unashamed webinar nerd so I felt like I was lining up outside the Apple store this week in readiness for the release of Webinar Ninja 4.0. This release hadn’t had a lot of hype but all the signs suggested that the secret little Ninjas had been working very hard on producing something new and special. As a result, my priority this week was to line up to check it out. I was not disappointed.

For a detailed unboxing review of Webinar Ninja 4.0 watch this video.

Webinar Ninja 4.0 Review – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXznGYW8oIo

What is my summary from my Webinar Ninja 4.0 Review?

Towards the end of the video I give my summary that Webinar Ninja 4.0 is:

  • The most impressive webinar software update since Webinar Jam evolved into Webinar Jam Studio
  • Offers lots of powerful options for webinar presenters, including four different types of webinars
  • Provides a lot of flexible options for webinar presenters with different pricing options that will make it competitive for a wide spectrum of webinar presenters
  • Going to be scrutinised carefully for the reliability of their webinar software delivery system
  • Ready to attract a lot of attention from potential purchasers because of their new 14 day free trial option

Webinar Ninja 4.0 is also very quick to setup and very easy to use. Next week I will be releasing a new article and video titled “5 Reasons to Buy Webinar Ninja 4.0”. It will give specific insights into the reasons why webinar presenters might choose to adopt Webinar Ninja 4.0 as their preferred webinar software option.

Do you have my Webinar Platforms Guide?

To learn more about webinars click here to grab my free Webinar Platforms Guide. It includes:

  • What are Webinars?
  • What are the 4 Types of Webinar Platforms?
  • What are the Pros and Cons of the Webinar Platforms?
  • Select the Best Platform for YOU
  • Where is the Software?

Click here to grab your copy.

What do you think about Webinar Ninja 4.0?

Share your opinions and ask your questions about Webinar Ninja 4.0. What do you think? Please click here to share your thoughts in the YouTube video comments.

5 Reasons Why You Need Killer Webinar Slides

I am so excited about the live training I am presenting to some of my site subscribers later this week. During the webinar I will be presenting 8 items that distinguish top class webinar slides from the ho-hum. I wish I had received this training years ago. You are enthusiastically encouraged to attend so that you know “How to Create Killer Webinar Slides”. If you haven’t yet registered the details are here.

killer webinar slides

Today’s article and video identifies why killer webinar slides are so important for webinar presenters.

5 Reasons Why You Need Killer Webinar Slides – https://www.youtube.com/embed/OsdtDdrla50

1. Asserts your professionalism

People are attracted to quality products. We are trained from birth to look for and choose quality options and a lot of those choices are driven by visual packaging. During a webinar your slides are your visual packaging. If they don’t look sharp and attractive your webinar participants may not be as trusting about the quality of the information you are presenting.

2. Shows you care

I am not a big party person. However, I love it when I rock up to a party and there are balloons, streamers, posters and decorations. The quality of those visuals shows that the host really cares about the people who have been invited to that party. Your webinar is a live event and if you want your webinar guests to feel the love decorate the “room” with attractive slides that shout out “I appreciate you being here and you are welcome”.

“People often don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.

3. Maintains your participants’ interest

We should never assume that our webinar participants will be fully focused on our webinars. There are competing elements that are there to distract our participants away from our webinars. These might include outstanding work tasks, children, television shows, YouTube clips and Facebook. Just because someone has logged in does not mean they are actually watching or actively participating in the webinar. If we are truly dedicated to serving our webinar participants then we should strive to maintain their interest. One easy way to help do this is to show them attractive compelling slides that keep their eyes returning to the screen instead of other people and their status update.

4. Helps you stay on track

Cleverly crafted slides are advantageous to us as presenters too. If we are careful about logically sequencing our slides and using relevant graphics then it makes it easier for us to look at the slides and know what we should be presenting. This approach is usually far preferable to using extensive notes or scripts that take forever to create whilst detracting from the natural conversational flow of our presentation.

5. Re-use the slides

By making the effort to produce great slides we open up opportunities for us to use the slides multiple times. This might be because of enhanced opportunities to repeat the same session for a similar or different audience. Additionally, we might use some or all of the slides:

  • In an alternative presentation we are developing
  • As a give-away gift for the participants
  • To promote our (or our organisation’s) expertise by uploading the slides to LinkedIn’s Slideshare

Have you registered for my next webinar?

If you want to be the first to know about my future webinars click here to subscribe to my weekly training articles (and also get a free Webinar Platforms Guide).

Please hover over the click here and press the mouse as I would love to see you on a future webinar.

What do you think about creating killer webinar slides?

Do you believe that creating killer webinar slides is an important part of delivering an effective webinar? Please click here to share your ideas in the YouTube video comments.

Webinar Technology Problems: How to Rescue Yourself

Can we recover from webinar technology problems? This is critical because it is only a matter of time before something goes “snap” and our webinar technology fails. Earlier today before writing this article I was put to this test.

I was conducting a webinar today with GoToWebinar, which is usually a very reliable webinar system. Then the dreaded technical failure struck. Today’s problem was a new one I had never seen before. It started immediately after I logged in to the live webinar, turned on my webcam and audio and started the broadcast. I casually asked if the participants could type “yes” in the chat to indicate that they could hear me without problems. In fact, I asked at least three times and then I asked the same question through the chat.

Each time, the response was a deafening silence. Crickets. Crickets. Crickets. I hate crickets. “We have no response, Houston”.

Now normally I have a second computer or device within arm’s reach which I use to login to the webinar as a dummy participant so that I can always verify that what I think is showing on my screen is in fact what my participants are seeing. I did that during a test immediately preceding the webinar, but I turned it off for the real show today to minimise the potential for bandwidth issues. I did this because I had colleagues in the next room whom I knew were attending my webinar and whom were sharing the same Internet service as I was using.

Perplexed about my crickets problem I excused myself to the gathering group of webinar participants and I went to investigate what my colleagues were seeing. I discovered that although my video and audio was being transmitted clearly, for a mystery reason their (and others) chat messages were not coming through to me. Given that I rely heavily upon chat to create engagement with my participants this was a confronting realisation. The number 1 way that my participants were going to communicate with me during the webinar was gone. It was analogous to going into a classroom training situation to discover that all your class were gagged and could not talk to you. Grrrrrrr.

To explain myself, the problems were:

  • The opportunity for participants to ask me questions using the chat during the webinar – Gone.
  • The scope for participants to alert me using the chat to problems they were having during the session – Gone.
  • My plans to ask questions to the participants to confirm their understanding and solicit feedback via the chat – Gone.

I made a quick decision about how I would proceed forward. I immediately communicated to the participants that I could not see or read any of the chat. I apologised for the technical failure and I moved on to create the best webinar I could under the circumstances.

If you like watching my videos (perhaps in preference to reading my articles) then I am saddened to tell you that I haven’t produced an article to accompany today’s article. Instead, I have produced a Super Bloopers video for you. Please enjoy a laugh or two at my expense by watching this video.

Super Bloopers April 2016 (aka The Crows Video) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hZjG6Hir1M

How did I Rescue my Webinar?

In some ways I knew that this was a pending disaster, but I decided that it was retrievable. I knew that my ship was taking water but I felt that I could get the pumps working and get us safely into the harbour.

Fortunately, I had setup four polls to potentially use during the webinar. I used the participants’ responses from all four polls to capture their thoughts and I relied upon this information more than usual to create engagement with my participants.

Although it had not been my plan, due to a tight timeframe, I also decided to open up the audio and give the participants the chance to ask questions using their microphones. This gave them the chance to provide feedback and it created a more engaging experience. They were able to get their questions answered and the nature of their questions reassured me that they had understood the content I was presenting.

Should I have Logged Out and then Re-entered the Webinar?

In the heat of battle inside my head I thought about logging out of the webinar and then coming back in to find that hopefully my problem had dissipated. My instincts told me not to do this although I still had 10-15 minutes before the scheduled webinar starting time and I was confident that doing so would resolve this unusual technical problem. After the webinar had completed I queried myself about that decision and came to the conclusion that perhaps I should have taken the time to do that. Then I carefully thought through the consequences and realised that to simply jump out of the webinar would have been total disaster. This is because when the presenter leaves the webinar everyone else is also ejected. GoToWebinar does warn you about this when the presenter clicks to leave the room, so there was little chance that a panicky decision by me to leave would have killed off the webinar. A clever alternative (and curiously, I would have probably done this if I had been using Google+ Hangouts on Air or a Hybrid system) would have been to setup another webinar then give those details to the participants and then left the room. However, this would have certainly delayed the start time as I would have needed to either wait for or contact the late arrivals to inform them of the change in virtual venue.

Could I have Handled this Better?

After the webinar I read all of the post-webinar surveys, asked for feedback and advice from some participants, and had some thinking time. On reflection I wish I had done two things differently.

  1. When I made the decision to continue the webinar without being able to access the chat I used only the microphone to communicate my challenge to the participants. After the webinar, I reviewed the feedback from an unhappy survey respondent. Fortunately, they were the only one. They grumpily (but totally understandably) identified that they had been unable to access any of my audio. Further, they complained that their chat requests for help were ignored. They were not a happy camper. Because I had only indicated my problem through my microphone this participant was unaware that I was unable to receive the chat messages. Our curious combination of technical problems was a disaster for them for which I have subsequently apologised. In hindsight, it would have been clever if I had taken 30 seconds to also identify my problem by posting a message to the chat.
  2. I apologised for my technical problem too many times. I didn’t turn the session into an apologetic rant, but I did remind my participants several times of my inability to access chat messages primarily because I had several slides that included a written request for them to respond via the chat. I think I apologised too much, which is not something I endorse.

How do we Prevent Webinar Technology Problems?

Deliver webinars where you can be confident that you have sufficient Internet bandwidth. If you have choices select a location where you have better Internet speed (especially on your upload). You might also choose to deliver your webinar at a time of day when you reliably have greater speed. You are now only two clicks away from checking your computer’s current upload and download speeds for free by visiting speedtest.net.

Minimise other drains on your Internet bandwidth at the time you are presenting your webinar. Prior to today’s webinar I conducted a meeting with our other team members and circulated an email asking everyone to be careful with their Internet usage starting 30 minutes before the scheduled webinar start time until I was finished. No Netflix, YouTube surfing or Blabs during my webinars please.

Adopt Risk Management 101 practices and have back-up systems in place. Just like I do when I deliver face-to-face courses, I have a printed copy of all my slides within easy reach so that with a moment’s notice I can grab my notes and continue presenting if the technology fails at my end. Computer monitors do die and systems can freeze. However, if we are the only one affected then there is potentially scope for us to continue on even though we are flying blind.

How do we Rescue our Webinar from Technology Problems?

There are five positive steps you can take to help you rescue yourself from webinar technology problems.

  1. Proactively identify back-up plans and procedures for when technology problems occur.
  2. Take a deep breath and give yourself permission to be calm and take a few seconds to think. You need to brainstorm options and identify solutions that will minimise the negative impact of the problems.
  3. Don’t take it personally. I doubt that the Universe is determined or organised enough to decide to conspire against you personally by attacking your webinar’s technology. Also, you should not assume that the participants will blame you for the technical failure. Don’t drop your bundle or get angry because it is unlikely to help. You don’t have time to swear or cuss or punch the computer. You need to get focussed on producing a positive outcome.
  4. Get help. If you can easily access someone to do some troubleshooting or to phone a technical support option on your behalf do it. It might even be someone you know on the webinar who would be happy to help you out.
  5. Keep all your options open. It might be that the best solution is to advise the participants that you need to setup a brand new webinar with a new registration page or that you need to reschedule to another time.

Do you have my Webinar Platforms Guide?

To learn more about webinars click here to grab my free Webinar Platforms Guide. It includes:

  • What are Webinars?
  • What are the 4 Types of Webinar Platforms?
  • What are the Pros and Cons of the Webinar Platforms?
  • Select the Best Platform for YOU
  • Where is the Software?

Click here to grab your copy.

What do You Think about Webinar Technology Problems?

Have you experienced webinar technology problems? How did you respond? Please click here to have your say in the YouTube video comments.

Wrappers Webinar Software

Best of Both Worlds?

Wrappers Webinar Software – Best of both worlds?

Have you ever seen or used a product and asked yourself “How good would this be if it had one or two additional features?” For me, that product was my final non-smartphone. I previously had a Nokia that offered web browsing, but the phone wasn’t stylish, it wasn’t intuitive, and it didn’t have any special features that excited me. Then my Boss gave me a hand-me-down Apple iPhone to use. Thank you Marc! #bestbossever

All of the core functions of the Nokia worked well, but the extra style, bigger clearer screen, intuitive interfaces and amazing easy to use applications of the iPhone blew my mind. Now I had something exciting that helped me improve my productivity and have lots more fun too.

My iPhone discovery parallels the development of the wrappers webinar software. Whilst Google+ Hangouts on Air work, they don’t have the smooth layouts and wealth of easy-to-use extra functions that the wrappers offer. If you cross-breed the simplicity and zero cost of Hangouts with the extra features of the corporate or independent software providers then you have the Wrappers.

The below video is designed to help anyone who is considering wrappers webinar software. The video showcases the features of two of the most prominent wrappers webinar software providers.

Wrappers Webinar Software – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDMi7QzbfCQ

Click here to obtain the Webinar Platforms Guide described in the video.

What are the wrappers webinar software options reviewed here?

As always, I want to help you find the best webinar software solution for YOU, which is why I have showcased the features of two wrapper webinar systems, namely:

  1. Webinar Jam
  2. Easy Webinar

How do the wrapper compare?

The distinction of the wrappers is that although they utilise Google+ Hangouts on Air as their webinar delivery system, they provide built-in add-ons that almost seamlessly integrate with hangouts to provide fully featured products.

The wrappers compare favourably on price against all of the corporates and most of the independents. They also benefit from including lots of engagement and other features. In fact, they are they are the leading webinar platform for introducing advanced marketing features.

However, because the wrappers utilise Hangouts they share a couple of the challenges posed by Hangouts. They are sometimes less reliable than the corporate and independent webinar systems in terms of audio and video quality. Also, the Hangouts time lag between when the presenter/s produce their content and the participants view the video feed still exists.

Despite their limitations there are thousands of happy wrappers users that are loyal to their preferred platform.

How do we make the best choice of wrappers webinar software?

Use the following steps when making your choice of wrappers webinar software:

  1. Identify your evaluation criteria. What features are important to you? List them down.
  2. Be on the lookout for a deal-breaker. Is there something that the software does not do well that is critical for your business or school?
  3. Get one or two others involved in making the decision. It is reassuring to present your recommended software selection to one or two other people before making a final decision. We all make mistakes sometimes and one benefit of this approach is that obtaining some other opinions can help ensure that a poor choice is avoided. This can also help create “buy-in” so that there is less resistance when your decision is finalised.
  4. Purchase your preferred system. Unfortunately, the wrappers don’t normally offer free trials like most corporate or independent systems. Don’t be deterred by this but also don’t hesitate to request your money back (the wrappers usually offer a 30-60 day money back guarantee period) if the software does not meet your expectation and is a bad fit for your needs.

Have you had positive or negative experiences using a wrappers webinar system? Please click here to have your say in the YouTube comments.

Google Hangouts Webinars

Are they a Good Choice?

Google Hangouts webinars – Are they a good choice? This is a very popular question that the video below considers.

Our washing machine is leaking. Badly. Every time we use it water pools on the floor, which we keep under control with strategically placed towels. It does not require imminent action but the machine is overdue for replacement. I have started the hunt for the Noud’s new washer. A 7 or 7.5kg washing machine seems to be the right size. Prices on my favourite white goods website vary from $499 – $2,495. Wow! They all wash clothes. The least expensive one comes with 16 wash functions and a 2 year warranty. Is there really an advantage in paying the extra money for the more expensive products?

This same question applies equally to washing machines and webinar software. With a sticker price of zero dollars, Google+ Hangouts on Air provides than $5,000 per year savings compared to some of the higher priced webinar options. However, are Google Hangouts webinars a good choice?

If you are unfamiliar with the four types of webinar platforms I encourage you to watch this previous video first and then return to this page. The below video takes you on a short tour showing you how to use Google+ Hangouts on Air.

Google Hangouts Webinars – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cElbjlW2BU

Click here to obtain the Webinar Platforms Guide described in the video.

What are the advantages of Google Hangouts webinars?

  • Best price ever. Let’s start with the obvious – Hangouts are free! This is wonderful because if anyone is serious about presenting webinars then Hangouts take away any objection that the cost is too high.
  • They work. Yes, Google+ Hangouts on Air actually work. Usually. They experience some quality issues I reference later in this article. However, do they work? Yes, they do.
  • Anyone can watch. You can invite anyone to view a Hangout “live” via a link you provide to them. This can be done either through your YouTube site or embedded onto your website. Seriously lots, as there is no advertised maximum number.
  • They record themselves. Hangouts auto-record and the hangouts hang out on YouTube and your Google+ page.

What are the disadvantages of Google Hangouts webinars?

  • Clunky. The bells and whistles are clunky. Hangouts does offer various options to make your hangout more engaging and appealing. However, setting up a Hangout on Air is not as intuitive as other webinar software options and it is more difficult to integrate fancy features that other webinar providers seamlessly include in their offerings.
  • Quality issues. In my observation, hangouts do experience more frequent periods of audio dropout and video interference than the better quality corporates and independents.
  • The time lag. Behind the scenes, a hangout is converted into an appropriate format for being recorded to YouTube and is then made available for viewing. These technology tricks require some time however, and as a result there is a time lag between when the presenter speaks and shows their screen content and when the viewer hears and sees the presentation. This lag is typically between 20-50 seconds. There are ways for clever presenters to manage this so that the viewers can be totally unaware of the time lag, but to do this requires some clever planning and classy skills from the presenter in order to still maintain active engagement with the viewers.
  • Cheap and cheerful. Using Google+ Hangouts on Air may appear a little cheap and cheerful, perhaps even cheesy, if you are promoting your webinars to corporate types who are more familiar with using corporate or independent webinar systems.
  • Google account. Participants must have a Google account in order to be an on-air presenter. However, a Google account is not required in order to view the hangout. In either case, obtaining a Google account is free and easy to do and if you already have a Google mail (Gmail) account then you already have a Google account.

If you want to dive in and explore setting up your own Google Hangouts webinars then I recommend you view an article written by Gregg Lander as a guest post on Jeff Bullas’ site, which you can access here. To create your own hangout visit this page.

Have you had positive or negative experiences using Google+ Hangouts On Air? Please click here to have your say in the YouTube video comments.

Webinar Software Independents: Revolution or Evolution?

ClickWebinar v anymeeting v ReadyTalk v Onstream

Webinar software independents – Yes, they are coming!

Was there one special school teacher that redirected your life? For me, it was Mr. Peter Van Gestel, who taught me economics in Grades 11 and  12. He was passionate about economics and a brilliant communicator. He made sense of a subject that leaves many students scratching their heads. Armed with the confidence he gave me for understanding economics I was thrilled to be accepted into the prestigious University of Queensland. I completed a Bachelors degree in Economics four years later. Economists don’t agree on lots of things, but typically economists will acknowledge that a higher number of competitors in an industry will usually contribute to more innovation and lower pricing. In the webinar providers industry, the independents fulfill this role.

More so than any of the other three types of webinar platforms, the independents present a lot of variety in their options. There are also more independent webinar services than the other three webinar platforms combined and their numbers are still increasing. Is this revolution or evolution? I am unsure, probably both.

If you are unfamiliar with the four types of webinar platforms I encourage you to watch this previous video first and then return to this page. The below video presents an overview of four of the most prominent webinar software independents. If you are open to investigating options beyond the corporates then you are likely to be surprised by the variety of features and pricing presented by the independent webinar providers. Enjoy the movie.

Webinar Software Independents – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKRosm4K3w4

Click here to obtain the Webinar Platforms Guide described in the video.

I have observed that during the past 5 years there has been more growth in terms of number of webinar systems in the independents relative to any of the other three webinar platforms. I have watched some of them “grow up” from fledgling newbies to established popular choices. Some of the independents have become so popular that there is no pricing advantage relative to the corporates. There are others however where they cost significantly less than the corporates. I expect the growth of the independents to continue, which is great because they provide so much variety and innovation. This means that there is usually a viable independent choice for almost all people and organisations that present webinars.

What are the four webinar software independents reviewed here?

As always, I want to help you find the best webinar software solution for YOU, which is why I have showcased the features of four independent webinar systems. They are:

  1. ClickWebinar
  2. anymeeting
  3. ReadyTalk
  4. Onstream

There is also a 5th option, which wasn’t included in the video. It is a webinar program that was previously considered as one of the Wrappers webinar systems. However, it no longer relies upon Google+ Hangouts on Air as its webinar delivery system. Instead, it is now best viewed as another Independent. If nothing else it has the coolest name of any webinar software – Webinar Ninja. It is evolving into a popular choice of webinar software worthy of consideration.

How do we make the best choice of independents software?

Use the following steps when making your choice of independents webinar software:

  1. Identify your evaluation criteria. What features are important to you? List them down.
  2. Trial at least two systems at no cost. The webinar software independents typically offer a 14-30 day trial, which gives you plenty of time to explore the software, have a play and test out its functionality.
  3. Be on the lookout for a deal-breaker. Is there something that the software does not do well that is critical for your business or school?
  4. Get one or two others involved in making the decision. It is reassuring to present your recommended software selection to one or two other people before making a final decision. We all make mistakes sometimes and one benefit of this approach is that obtaining some other opinions can help ensure that a poor choice is avoided. This can also help create “buy-in” so that there is less resistance when your decision is finalised.

Have you had positive or negative experiences using one of the independent webinar systems? Please click here to have your say on the YouTube comments.