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Tim Minton 0:00
Hello, everyone. I’m Tim Minton, one of the co-founders here at contrast, now, usually on behind the scenes, but for this particular series, I asked to be the host, because when we discovered Dean Waye, and his business, the Best Damn Webinar Company, we realized that he’s the content equivalent of Contrast. So while we build tools to help capture audience attention, viewing your company focuses on what people should say and how. So I’m really excited to have a conversation with you pick your brain. But let’s get started. How are you doing?

Dean Waye 0:29
I’m doing good. This is one of my favorite things ever. I’m a hardcore introvert. But for some reason, I like being on camera. And I was telling my colleagues, I don’t think I hadn’t heard about contrast until just a few weeks ago. And I told my colleagues here I said, like, I think someone finally designed a webinar platform that like I would have designed even like the pop ups like we just had that, like the topics thing. Like I love that, like, why has no one thought of that in 20 years, you know, are the 10 years that I’ve been writing webinars for companies and clients nuts. So yeah, thanks very much for inviting me. This is a lot of fun.

Tim Minton 1:07
Yeah, yeah, there’s gonna be a great session. And I think it’s gonna be really useful, specifically for this audience. But before we get started, I also want to mention that we’re joined here in the contrast studio by Luke. So he’s going to be behind the scenes, you won’t see him on camera with Dean and I, but he’ll be typing in the chat answering questions and using topics to help you keep pace. So as Dean and I chat, Luke will type those into the topics feature here. And you’ll see them pop up on screen with some cool animations to help you keep pace and it will automatically create chapters for those of you watching on replay. But without further ado, Dean, I want to jump right in with my first question for you. So what do people get wrong about webinar intros? So exactly what we’re doing right here.

Dean Waye 1:51
Okay, so there are a small number, almost a handful, not quite a handful of things that pretty much everyone does wrong, you see it all the time you see it in 99% of all webinars, the first thing they do is they waste the audience’s courtesy attention. The courtesy attention is those first few minutes, whether you’re conscious of it or not when you’re in the audience’s people are doing it right now. Courtesy attention is where you’re making a calculation of whether based on the first few minutes of a webinar or presentation, it’s going to be worth your time investment, or attention investment or emotional investment. 

And what most companies do, they completely throw away the courtesy attention, which is the only unearned, you get it for free. It’s the only unearned, focused attention the audience will ever give you during your presentation. All of the rest of it, you have to keep earning their attention or eventually you just they their attention just bleeds off. By the time you get to the Q&A. There’s hardly anyone paying attention anymore. And so they wasted they wasted by talking about housekeeping things like here, here’s how to use the chat to put it in. Like it’s 2023. Everyone knows how to use the chat to put in a question or comment. 

They set up an agenda for most, most webinars that are sort of the traditional, so there’s one speaker going to be talking a lot. You should never throw up an agenda. It’s a terrible idea. And one of the things I like about the software now is that we’ve got the topic so you can put those in ahead of time for a structured, not an interview style for a structured one. And so the audience can like see what’s coming up, they can see what’s happening, see where they are in the process. That’s fantastic. But yeah, the waist the artist is courtesy attention. And then they everyone seems to forget sort of the grandkids curse. I don’t know if your mom or dad ever told you this. But a lot of people have experienced this where they are disrespecting their parents, maybe they’re teenagers, they’re disrespecting, or you know, they’re just like acting out. And

their parent will say, I hope someday you have kids, and they treat you the same way you’re treating me. So you understand like, why what you’re doing is wrong. Everyone has that curse, when they’re the presenter versus when they’re in the audience, everyone in the audience, at some point in every webinar has switched over so they can check their mail, they can check their Facebook, they can get up and get a snack, they leave the room or whatever. 

But for some reason, we think when we’re the presenter that everyone is locked onto the screen and looking at us and they’re giving us 100% of their attention. If you go in understanding that your audience is going to act the same way that you act, when you’re in an audience, you can approach the intro especially more realistic, more realistically, and just, you know, sort of optimize for it instead of just complaining about it that people aren’t necessarily paying attention to you. 

And then the third thing people do wrong is they establish their expert authority or their bona fides in the wrong place. They open with it, and then start talking about their content. And that’s the wrong thing to do. You need to open with some kind of gap, and then establish why you’re someone who would be worth listening to on that topic. And then so you very felt you really focus on getting someone’s attention right in the first few seconds or minutes. Then you explain why you’re the person to talk about that. They

In that you’ve just established for the attention, and then you give the rest of your presentation. Otherwise, I mean, I might not stay with you long enough to even pay attention to whether or not you’re the right person to listen to at the right time. So you need to open with a gap or some sort of cold open.

Tim Minton 5:16
Okay, so you mentioned a gap or cold open, along with some other things.

But are you suggesting having no intro to the webinar? Or that’s not quite what you’re saying? Well, no, not exactly. We’ve talked about interviews in a second. But for like traditional webinars where someone is giving sort of a structured or linear presentation,

Dean Waye 5:36
it’s easier to think about this, if you think about the first five minutes of a presentation or a webinar, the first five minutes are different than all of the rest of the webinar. It’s basically two types of ways to think about it. And in the, in the rest of the webinar, you’re concerned with making sure that the under the customer or the audience will understand what you’re saying. But the first five minutes are different. In the first five minutes during that courtesy attention period, when I’m in the audience, and I’m trying to decide if this is worth my time, or attention or emotional investment.

It’s not about me understanding you and your topic, I want to feel like you understand me and my reality. Otherwise, if I think that we’re too far apart from what I’m interested in, and the reality I’m living in, at my job, or company or in my market, or whatever, and what you want to talk about, there’s no reason for me to pay attention to the rest of it, because we are not on the same page. So everything else on the webinar, you strive to be understood. The first five minutes you strive to help the audience feel understood.

Tim Minton 6:38
Okay. Okay. So you mentioned a couple of pieces that are the courtesy, the gaps, and in splitting it into the two segments, it seems like, right, from what you’re saying, the first five minutes is maybe more important than the rest of the webinar? Is that the right way to think?

Dean Waye 6:54
Yeah, if you’re doing any kind of like presentation or structured webinar, especially. And again, interviews like this one are a little different. So we talked about them in a minute, the first five minutes, if you do the first five minutes, right, you can keep most of the audience’s attention for most of your webinar, most of the time, right up until the end. If you don’t do it, right, you’ll have their drop off, or their attention, sort of flags or craters. And then you feel like you’re if you feel like you’re talking to avoid, it’s because you are talking to avoid. And so yeah, okay.

Tim Minton 7:28
Oh, sorry. I mean, do you want to keep going?

Speaker 1 7:30
Well, just that we’re talking about a gap, there are essentially three types of gaps. There are like a dozen types of gaps with three that work in almost you can pick one of these three, it works in almost every situation. So you either open with something where you explain that everyone always thought something was true. But it turns out, it never was. Or something is true. But a change has just happened, maybe that the audience is not aware of, or a change is about to happen. Or something is true for almost everybody. But this audience is different, like your industry, the company, you’re in the size of the company that you’re in whatever, right? 

What’s true for everyone else is not true for you. And I’m going to talk to you about like what’s true for you. Now, valuable information kind of stuff. And sort of, in an interview, it’s a little different. In an interview, the gap you create is softer, because you’re not introducing a topic or a concept, you’re introducing a human being. 

And so in that case, you want to make sure that the gap that you’re introducing is that either the either the guest, or the person being interviewed is on the opposite end of a spectrum, from either the audience or the opposite end of the spectrum from you the interviewer, because of course, if we’re all aligned on the same page, right from the jump, then like, there’s no reason for the audience that pay attention that boring. So they have to be on the opposite side of something, so that there’s some more for the conversation to go.

Speaker 1 9:03
Okay, so it makes no sense. A gap is like a hook that you would put into a video you create or a blog post or something you write. Okay, that makes a ton of sense. But I guess my next question would be what happens after the first few minutes? So the rest of the webinar? How do you keep people’s attention? Right?

Speaker 1 9:21
So let me get back to the gap for just one second, the idea behind the gap, of course, it goes back to making sure that the audience feels understood. Right, that you understand me and that I’m involved in this. And so it the idea of the gap is that here’s your reality, I understand it. Here’s why I understand part of it even more than you do. Let me talk about the part of your reality that I understand more than you do. Right. So that helps in establishing it for those first few minutes. After that, you rely on structure and techniques. Because after that, it’s you trying to be you trying to make the audience understand something you’re trying to be understandable as opposed to making them feel understood. So you rely on a structure, there’s, there’s, there are a couple of different structures you can use for those kinds of events. 

Or your and you rely on techniques to sort of get the audience back to the screen or keep things moving and changing enough during your presentation so that the audience doesn’t get bored. I basically think of it as you know, you get these board games, and they have these little, tiny hourglasses in them with the white sand, and they’re good for like three minutes or something. I always think that one of those is running all the time, and every three to five minutes, some technique or changing structure has to occur so that the audience never gets bored. I mean, in reality, a b2b webinar is as close as any company usually will ever get to creating a Live episode of TV. Sure, so a lot goes into it, the audience doesn’t need to stay there. So you’re always looking to keep things moving, you’re always looking to like change things a little bit, a turn here, twist their technique to get it back to the screen, so that they, you know, so that they never can anticipate what’s coming next, and they don’t get too bored.

Tim Minton 11:08
Okay, maybe I want to go back to something. Yeah, go ahead. Sorry, Mr. Jumping in something you said. So you said it’s really about understanding your audience and making sure that you know, their problems. But how do you think about that in relation to when you decide to host a webinar, right, this means you need to be really targeted and specific about the group that you’re going after?

Dean Waye 11:29
Well, yes, the nice part about webinars is that very few people show up to them, if they don’t think they’re going to be at all interested in the topic. And if you’ve ever thought about it, but it’s because there are a series of little steps, like there are hoops that the audience jumps through, they get an initial say, outbound email, or say a post on LinkedIn, or whatever. And the topic has to be interesting enough. So that’s, oh, that might be interesting. So then they read about it a little more, that’s the second who, and then they decide to register, that’s the third. And then they decide to show up at time. That’s the fourth. 

So you, you, the audience will self-select and self-terminate all the way through. So that generally by the time someone you know, by the time that go live button gets hit, what you have is an audience that isn’t necessarily super keen to hang on every word, you say, that’s pretty rare. But they’re at least in the, they’re in the ballpark of what you’re going to be talking about and discussing. And so then they’re using those for several minutes to figure out like whether they should be interested and be whether you’re someone worth being interested in when they’re talking about that.

Tim Minton 12:31
Go Got it, okay. Okay, that makes sense. But

Dean Waye 12:38
then the trick can’t, when you’re with the trick, when you’re sort of introducing the gap and you’re introducing yourself is to, you’re going to think about their reality, you’re going to pose that kind of problem with one usually one of those three things. And then if you don’t happen to know something, or you move into an area, then you’re fine talking about what you don’t know, you’re fine talking about different eras, as long as you as long as you don’t violate the safety question. And then you just keep going on from there.

Tim Minton 13:09
Okay, so what’s the safety question? Let’s dive into that.

Dean Waye 13:14
The safety question, something that the audience asked themselves and rarely ever says out loud, the safety question, and b2b is, okay, I’m in the audience, you’re talking to me? How do I know it’s safe for me to vouch for you, in here, like in here, as in, in my company, or to my manager, or to the CEO, or to the board or to the investors or whoever, right? You don’t win a sale. If you and the artist isn’t going to do anything, if you don’t pass the safety question. Now, passing the safety questions showing that you’re one of them. 

Every time someone was, every time a company is thinking about buying something, they’re always looking at multiple vendors, like hardly anybody operates completely alone in their space, right. And so it’s not that you’re going to win the deal with one webinar in b2b If you do satisfy the concern about the safety question. But if you don’t satisfy the concern about the safety question, you don’t even make it to the next step. And so you need to show that you’re one of the Safer Choices of the vendors that they’re looking at in the webinars that they’re watching for these companies, so that you can move closer to them to take the next step and get it so it’s a game that you have to unlock in order to move forward. 

Tim Minton:

Yeah. Okay, okay, that makes sense. But maybe I still want to press a little bit and dig deeper here. So you mentioned a bit on structure. You mentioned a bit the safety question, but like, what are some actual techniques that people can use in order to keep attention throughout the webinar?

Dean Waye 14:46
Okay, there are loads. Let’s see. Okay. One of the most common and best ones is the Call Forwarding callback, right? And you see this a lot in you see this a lot in movies, right. So you know, Jenny is shown in the movie, learning karate, she’s in a karate class. And then 90 minutes later, there’s an attack on her inner groups. And thank God, Jenny knows karate, and she beats the bejesus out of everybody, right? Audiences really love it. 

In script writing, in fiction, that’s called a setup and a payoff. In b2b webinars, it’s called a call for a callback. So you might say, so we’ve got these two things, here are these three things here, this one, and this one, and this one, I’m going to talk about this one now. And in a few minutes, I’m going to talk about number two, and then I’m going to resolve number three, that’s a call forward. And then so the audience knows, okay, I know what’s going to happen next. And I gotta open up a loop in my head for my and keep my attention open. So that I’ll recognize when the next thing is all unconscious, but recognize, and the second one, the third one, then when you get to the second, and the third one, it’s like when you say, alright, a few minutes ago, I said that I was going to talk about this, let’s get into that. And then you go into it, that’s the call back. 

So you’re calling forward to yourself in the future and say, hey, audience come along with me, and keep an eye out for this road sign. And then when you get to it, say, hey, here’s the place, here’s the road sign, and you come back, very satisfied. Like audiences really love setups and payoffs. They really like call forwards and pull backs. When you do that, control your material.

Tim Minton 16:16
Right. But earlier, you had mentioned, to avoid an agenda isn’t an agenda trying to create a call forward and a call back?

Dean Waye 16:24
Yeah, but it’s too much too early, you’re wasting. It’s not that agendas are inherently terrible, it’s that you’re wasting courtesy attention, because everyone puts them during the courtesy attention phase. And you’re better off a gap or a cold open to sort of show the audience, you know, you to make the audience feel understood and agenda doesn’t really make an audience feel understood. It’s you prescribing to them what their what they should pay attention to, because you’ve already laid it out. I mean, no one lays out an agenda and says, and, you know, we might cover some of these topics. Right? 

That’s almost the opposite of what our agenda is for. Right? By the way, agendas are great in interviews, webinars, and they’re rarely used and interview webinars, like they can belong there. They have a whole other reason for being great in interview webinars, but they’re really just a waste of courtesy attention and traditional presentation type webinars.

Tim Minton 17:16
Okay, got it. So agendas can be good for a call for a callback, but keep out of the courtesy period, essentially, yeah, keep it.

Dean Waye 17:22
out of the courtesy, it’s not a good place to put it. And let’s say I like interstitials and interstitial is named after the slide and not the not the technique. But an interstitial slide is where all of a sudden, instead of you know, the regular looking template, the kind of corporate slides that everyone’s been doing throughout the presentation, you just have this very basically, it’s blank, usually, like just white or black. And then there’s a short declarative sentence, like dead center in the middle of it, that interrupts the pattern. So and then what you’re doing with your, you know, your talk track or voiceover, speech, whatever you want to call it, is a different people call it different things, is you’re saying so this was true. 

And then this happened. And then that happens. And that means that x is about to be true, like, one company is going to emerge to completely control this space, and then the interstitials lockups, we’re not that company. And it’s, it’s an interrupt for the audience, right? It’s like, okay, he’s saying this, and he’s saying this, one company is about to emerge, he’s about to say that they’re that company, and then he completely reverses it. And it’s like, not that company. And what the audience tends to do is like, wait, what, what, what do you say? Why? And you always kind of want the audience to say why what’s next, explain that in their heads, and then you move on to your thing again. So Interstitials are a great technique, if you have that kind of narrative setup, to sort of interrupt the audience’s attention and get them back on track. And then another one, understanding we talked about, I’ll do my own callback, we talked about the grandkids curse, right, and your audience behaves the same way you behave when you’re in the audience, they don’t suddenly change into different people because you’re speaking. And so an audio call the screen or fly fishing is where you create a slide, understanding that some portion of the audience is not looking at the screen anymore. 

They’re off doing their own thing, and you want them to come back to the screen, either for that slide, or the very next slide, which may be your most important slide. So you might put something on the slide and you say, Now, I don’t need to tell anyone, you know who this person is. Now. The people looking at the screen, they see the picture of that person, they can even see their name underneath, it’s fine. But the people who are you know, checking their email, they don’t get it. Like you say, I don’t need to tell anyone who this person is, and then you shut up for a few seconds. And to the audience looking at the screen. It seems like you’re pausing for dramatic effect. 

What you’re really doing is giving the people who aren’t paying visual attention to you an extra second or two to process, something’s happening on the screen, and I’m not part of it anymore. or I’m disconnected. I’m uncoupled from the visual process, I’m gonna go back and look and see what they’re talking about. Or you might have like a workflow diagram, or you might have a project plan and use, if you had a project plan or like a workflow. And you’d say you had a color coded, say, every time a project fails, we find it fails here in the red section, and then just shut up. So then the people are looking at the screen, they’re looking at the red sections that, okay, that’s where it fails, or they make all their money here. Or, you know, this is where it all blows up. And they’re looking at enzymes screen. 

To them, it’s a normal visual experience to anyone who’s not looking at the screen, because you shut up. So all I have a silence after something important. So they come back to the screen to look at what you’re talking about. So you’re on audio called a screen or a fly fishing is very weird for that. And then another really popular one that works really well or pivots. And there are two kinds of pivots in your narrative, there’s either a deep dive pivot, or there’s a horizontal pivot. So you might, as you’re laying out certain things, decide, okay, I think this might be the most interesting thing for this audience, you’re making this decision ahead of time. So then you pick, you know, one feature of your software, or one aspect of a marketing campaign or whatever, and you go into a deep dive on it, and just, you know, fully flush it out for the audience. 

The alternative to that is a horizontal pivot, where, let’s say you make something that is used to manufacture paint. And so you’re about two thirds of the way, halfway to two thirds of the way through your traditional linear presentation, you do a horizontal pivot. And instead of talking about, you know, why paint manufacturers should buy your thing, or the benefits of your additive to specialty paints, you go, and you look at artists on Etsy, and you say, Now, turns out the product has other uses. And you show how different people and completely different fields are using the same thing. And it’s sort of a break into tension and sort of like a little vacation for the audience. 

But they come away with the message like not only is this good, what he’s talking to me about, but like we could probably find other uses for it. If you know somebody on Etsy makes paintings that are hanging on your wall using the same thing. Or they use it to fix bicycles or whatever. So that’s a horizontal pivot usually do either a deep dive or horizontal pivot 50 to 65% of the way through the part of your presentation where you’re geeking out and talking about, like, how does it actually work? How does your service actually work? What are all the features that gets done?

Tim Minton 22:23
Got it. So you’re almost got it? I love the last one, you’re almost opening up new use cases, or I guess, social proofing? Like how you can use it. Yeah, those were amazing techniques. Thanks for sharing that. But I want to pivot just a little bit. So there we go. I’ll try it out. Not sure. Yeah. But, you know, I’ve noticed a lot of webinars these days are interview so no signs you explain a little bit? Do you see that? And why do you think it is?

Dean Waye 22:57
Yeah, my clients, every year, a greater percentage of everything we produce webinars that we produce for clients, are interview style webinars, and they achieve something different than a traditional webinar, like presentation, and kind of once they achieve something different, and I mean, they have a different purpose. And a traditional presentation, sort of building a logical case. But make it interesting for the hands, that one is really geared towards moving someone to perform the call to action, whatever your call to action at the end of your webinars. 

Now, watch the demo, schedule a discovery call with sales, read this blog post, download this white paper, whatever, right? They’re very much geared towards that, or they should be anyway because that’s really their one of the best possible tools to ever get an audience to respond and take up a call to action is the traditional one. And that’s what they’re before the interview ones are easier, usually, and cheaper, cheaper in the sense of the time, you need to invest in them. 

They’re cheaper to produce, but they’re really not great at getting people to perform a call to action. They are fantastic at building affinity with a company or a brand. So because essentially, you don’t even have slides, you just have two people talking and the audience gets to know those people with them during their interaction. So they’re there really, I think of interview webinars as marketing kind of webinars, and the traditional webinars as marketing sales, combined webinars. So a little bit further down the funnel.

Tim Minton 24:31
Yep, that makes sense. But I have a question. So what would you do if let’s say you’re doing one of these interview style webinars, and just like you and I are right here, but the person is maybe not the most interesting, or maybe they are interesting, but it just like doesn’t translate well, when you get into the live and they feel almost a little stiff. How would you deal with that?

Dean Waye 24:54
I mean, one of the biggest challenges with corporate webinars is that for the most part, nobody doing them but it’s especially the main presenter or main guests, this is not their job, their job is not to be on camera and to be interesting and stuff. Or, you know, they don’t remember to have three cups of coffee like I did before I came on do this thing. 

So Molly Yeah. And so in that case, what you have is, you know, someone might be fascinating in a one to one, but you put them on camera, or you let them know that an audience, even the audience they can’t see, is watching them and listening to them. And they’ll I don’t want I don’t want to say they shut down, but they tighten up, you know, they tighten up, they want to stay within like, well past the boundary of their comfort zone, they want to say way in there, right? Well within those confines. And normally, I don’t tell this to the guest, I have other things that I talked to the guest about. 

And in some cases, depending on, you know, what people sign up for, we even rehearse with them to get them used to the process. But what I do is I take the interviewer aside, and I say, look, if you find and we won’t know until we go live, really, I mean, we can predict, but you don’t ultimately know. And so you got some people, they seem like they’re going to be stiff. You turn on that audience interaction and the bank, they’re like, Yeah, let’s do this, and other people. So I tell the interviewers, look, if you find that this person seems to be tightening up, then you need to become wobbly. Because one of you has to be wobbly. And if it’s not going to be them, it has to be you. So, you know,

Tim Minton 26:23
okay, what, what is what is wobbly mean? If I need to become wobbly? 

Dean Waye 26:30
If you needed to become wobbly, because you’re with a guest, and I get executive or whatever, and they just sort of seem to be tightening up, they’re kind of dry and so wobbly means you stop being the voice of reason in the interview, you stop being the conductor, and you start being a backseat driver. And normally, you do this in one of three ways. I mean, understand this is all b2b, I mostly only ever do b2b. So there are things wacky kind of stuff we’ll never be allowed to do in b2b that a b2c kind of person or influencer might get away with. But you become wobbly, because someone has to be, you know, like, there has to be an element of instability in every interview, or else the audience doesn’t really feel that something can go wrong. While it’s live, I mean, part of the whole reason that live events and webinars are so good for communicating and getting people is that you can do something that everyone does, or virtually everyone does every day. And but because it’s live in front of an audience, there’s always a chance it’s gonna go spectacularly wrong. And I mean, you can walk on a straight line, you know, on a sidewalk, and nobody cares, you walk on a straight line on the edge of a building, and everyone wants to see what’s gonna happen, right? 

You’re just walking, same muscles, same legs, same everything, but the context makes it very different. So if you want to be wobbly as an interviewer because your guest is tightening up, the first thing you do is you deliberately misunderstand things that they’re saying. Right, almost as an intellectual exercise. So you make them you force them to sort of redefine or rephrase what they said in different words. And that alone is often enough to get and keep an audience’s attention. 

Because you know, everybody there there’s a there’s a craving for novelty in every human brain, but at the same time, there’s a, there’s a craving for repetition, right, more complicated people. And so you deliberately misunderstand something. So they have to say differently. You could assert an assumption, or challenge and assumption, and then make them sort of respond to that. So they say they say x, is it well, everyone knows that sort of x is obsolete now. Or y is replaced x. And that’s it. Oh, no, no, no, that hasn’t happened at all right? And then and now you’ve got interaction, instead of them just sort of delivering the sort of stock answer. And then just like, hoping that, like, everything is pristine and perfect, and go on. 

And then so let’s see deliberately misunderstanding and challenging assumptions. I know there’s a there’s a, maybe Oh, wait, but no, you’re advocating for the audience. You’re, you’re taking on a role as if you’re in the audience, or you’re the direct spokesperson for the audience. And you’re pushing back on them or asking them questions, or sort of telling them, what would you tell the audience about blah, and then like, you forced them out of their sort of guard rails kind of area, they need to get onto the side of the road, because that’s where the audience is, and start deliberately talking to the audience that way. So those are the three.

Tim Minton 29:32
Okay, so you want to basically make them a little bit uncomfortable. So they lose their talk track, essentially. And they have to actually think about it respond a different way. Maybe let their passion come through a bit as we talk.

Dean Waye 29:41
Yeah. I mean, the whole point of and why anyone ever listens to anybody talking about anything, right is they know they’re in control of their material, and they’re excited to talk about it. What you end up with, sort of an executive or a senior technical person who’s tightened up is that they might Do they still know and are in control of their material, but they’re not excited to talk about it anymore. 

Their excitement is revved up to the point where they froze up. Right like an engine that’s geared to high. And so what you’re doing is you’re not trying to necessarily disrupt them. You’re trying to say, hey, like, you got too excited. You seized up here, come over here and talk to me just about this thing. And I say, Oh, no. And then you like deliberately misunderstand, for example, say, no, no, that’s not what I was saying. What I’m saying is this, obviously, you don’t want to, you know, you don’t want to throw them off too much. Or else you end up with someone who, like literally is all over the place. But yeah, you need to sort of misdirect them a bit, and move their attention so that they forget how overexcited they became and before the step.

Tim Minton 30:45
Okay, we’ll have to work on being wobbly.

Tim Minton 30:52
Yeah. Okay, so I want to change directions one more time. So someone at our company has been watching one of your company’s online courses about when you stop caring about the audience’s experience. And this one really struck me as something unique and interesting. And I wanted to ask you, like, when does that make sense? When could that ever make sense?

Dean Waye 31:15
So the way that we lay it out for all corporate clients who are going to be doing or in a webinar, whether it’s interview style, or traditional style one is that from the moment you know, you’re going to be involved in a webinar, right up to the second before somebody clicks the go live button, and now the audience and everybody can see you. And then like, where it’s happening 100% of your effort and time, from the first moment it, it’s an instant idea in someone’s head, right up to go live where before the audience comes in, you care 100% of the time about the audience’s experience, you care about whether they’re going to be interested, you care about getting and keeping their attention, you care about being interesting, you care about who’s going to be wobbly, you prepare for eventualities, right? And then as soon as the button gets clicked, and you’re alive in front of an audience, and I can I swear in this webinar.

Tim Minton 32:10
Yeah, as long as you don’t,

Dean Waye 32:12
like clicks, glad you stopped giving a fuck about the audience’s expense, experience. And counter intuitively, the audience will have a better time. If you stop caring about their experience, you’ve done all the prep work, you’ve done everything, you’ve put a structure in place, you’ve got your techniques, you understand what you you’ve, you’ve invested a lot to make sure that it’s going to work for them. But then you can’t worry about the audience’s experience. When you’re with the audience, you can’t worry that you flubbed a line, or you missed a slide, or you mispronounced the word, or you like us, you skipped some or you like contradicted yourself, you can’t care. Because if you care, then you will become paralyzed, you can’t care that someone in the audience can’t hear you. You can’t care that someone can’t get their video working. You can’t care about any of that stuff. Because you’re actually punishing the rest of the audience. To deal with one small issue for one person or one small issue that you created for yourself. Something goes wrong in every live event, every b2b webinar, every live event period, something will go wrong, I tell every client something will go wrong, the best you can ever hope for is that most of the audience won’t notice it or won’t notice it at the time. But you can’t worry about something going wrong, except that something’s gonna go wrong. Stop worrying about the audience’s experience. We’ve done our investment in that upfront, and you just relax and get to talk about something that you’re interested in, you’re excited about, but stop caring about the audience’s experience when you’re with the audience, or else they have a worse experience. It’s weird, but it’s how it works.

Tim Minton 33:46
No, no, it makes sense. It’s actually one of my favorite things that you’ve said, since we’ve been working on this together is, hey, something’s gonna go wrong. It’s just part of the experience. So power through and it doesn’t matter. And it’s very, almost calming, and freeing when you start to realize that and then you can just focus in on the conference. 

Dean Waye 34:03
It’s like someone telling you, you’re gonna die. Well, you can stop worrying about dying now, because it’s gonna happen. Just enjoy what time you have left.

Tim Minton 34:10
Okay, like that. Okay, so I think we’re at the end of our official time, Dean, and I wanted to make sure that we have time to go to the audience to look at any questions that they might have. Let them press you challenge you and pick your brain just like I did.

Dean Waye 34:27
You have to lead with no one in the Q&A.

Tim Minton 34:30
Yeah, let’s jump over to Q&A, if we can find something from the chat that we can bring up onto the screen here. So, okay, first question, is sharing topics to be covered the same as call forward?

Dean Waye 34:48
Not exactly. There. They’re close. It’s easy to see why someone would ask the question. Sharing the topic is not the same. Turning the topic is really no different than like Having an agenda item, unless you specifically call out, okay, you see this thing and this other thing, I’m going to deal with this thing first, this other thing, I’m going to get to a little down the line, but I will go to cover, that’s a call for it, because you call out the fact that you’re moving this thing from their present where they are now to their and your future. And we’re not going to worry or deal with it. Until we get to that point in our future. If you just have it there, you’re just sort of like, okay, this is the thing, I’ve locked you into this pattern and you can’t get out. So it’s better to just show a little bit and then I call forward to the rest and then pay it off when you get there. It’s subtle, it’s kind of weird, but no, just like throwing it up on a screen, in like in an agenda format is not the same as a call for audiences, it’s kind of zone out. And a lot of times when you’re looking through an agenda anyway, in fact, agendas are funny, most audiences will read the first let’s say there’s five items, they’ll read the first two items, they’ll skim down to the last item. And then they basically forget everything except the first item and the last item. And the only time our eyes and our brains are so great, we you can give us a list of any length. And we’ll in will skim see, but not pay attention to anything in the list. Unless there’s something in the list that’s either like colored differently, we specifically use like, like a psychological trick to call it out, or we care about it. So it could be like 1234. And then you’re really in love with model trains, right? There’s like 19 items. And then the last one, and but then you, you notice that one of the items is model trains, like everyone else is reading it, they don’t even see the fact that model trains is there because they don’t care about model trains. I don’t care about markets. But if you cared about it, you’re I will alight onto that topic is oh model trains. So our brains are really weird about lists and how we read them and process them. So topics in an agenda. And I think there’s the opposite or alternatives, topics in contrasts, let’s talk about those in a second. I’ll call forward to the fact that I’m going to talk about contrast topics feature in a second. But for an agenda, that’s not the same as calling forward at all. In fact, it’s kind of the opposite. You’re telling people to sort of like ignore and shut down for topics in for the call out for during the agenda. In contrast, while you’re doing sort of like a structured presentation kind of thing, then they’re not a call forward, because you would bring up the topic and then immediately cover the topic. That’s not a call forward. Right? If there was a feature that said, you know, coming up in nine minutes, this that’s a call forward, kind of, but if it’s if it’s in contrast, where you’re popping up the topic, and then immediately dealing with the topic, by definition, that can’t be a call forward, if you’re immediately dealing with it.

Tim Minton 37:46
Okay, great. I think that was a great answer. And an interesting idea for how the future should work. So I’ll pass that to the team. But okay, let’s go to the next question here.

Dean Waye 38:02
Behind the scenes doing this, it’s really convenient. Thanks.

Tim Minton 38:06
A lot more organized for us. Like we don’t have to worry too much. Okay, from Francine, it’s all about content does a webinar platform really matter? Okay, maybe Dean if I really liked this question. So if you don’t mind, maybe go for it graphically. Okay, so I think for most people, the answer is, and I’m thinking specifically about people that are solo and maybe running a product, walk through a product demo, and they’re just thinking about sell, sell, sell. But I think if you want to be like really successful, then the answer is yes. And I think this is because a great webinar requires you to connect with the audience. So it’s not just about getting an email that you then go spam, right, you need to show the person behind the brand. Which, by the way, I think is even more important with the rise in AI. But I think a lot of tools just allow you to share slides. Yeah, but what that isn’t allowed you to do is build connections, encourage engagement. And it’s like missing this whole human piece. Right. And we think about that all the time. In contrast, I was what I’m building, actually helping encourage engagement, how’s it building connections, that ultimately, I can create a relationship with my customer or potential customer that will be beneficial in the future? So by that, I mean, if you know a little bit about someone, you know, the questions they asked, you know, how they think you know how they talk, and you have the benefit of getting that into your CRM, then your sales team is going to be more successful. So I think it can definitely matter, depending on who you are.

Dean Waye 39:40
Yeah, I spent the last you know, we’ve done at this point 1000 Over the last many years, 1000 b2b webinars and other types of live events. And a lot of our work and research around audits attention had to be done to overcome and or in spite of the platform that we were using. And so it was, we knew that was just going to be they’re great at showing slides and not much else. And so we had to sort of create a pretty rich set of tools and techniques to wrap around what was really an inferior platform. And so, yeah, when I mean, I don’t know, I honestly don’t know how old contrast that company is. But for me, it’s like three weeks old, because I discovered it three weeks ago. And so like, yeah, like this, this would have changed how we do certain things. If this. If this had existed, when we first started trying to overcome the limitations of how everyone else thinks that you can do a webinar was just throw slide after slide. Do you beat the audience’s attention to death?

Tim Minton 40:45
Yeah, yeah. So we’re a couple years old. But that’s really the whole the whole point of the company. We talked about this all the time. It’s like, how can we make this software, so easy to use, helps so much with building these connections and engagement, that it doesn’t get in the way of your time that you need to create great content? Right? This should be so easy that you don’t even have to think about it. And you can focus on all these things. You’re talking about seeing Yeah. Yep. Okay. Let’s go to the next question. How do you engage the audience to chat or interact with you from Alexis? So Dean, do you wanna take this one?

Dean Waye 41:21
Okay, so traditionally, even with our structure, which will maintain 90 plus percent of the audience’s attention, like for almost the entire event, right up until you get to the Q&A, and the Q&A, audience attention will start to drop off pretty much no matter what you do. Here’s why every audience thinks of every webinar or live event like this as existing of two main parts, there’s the intro part, which is where you sort of get your stuff out of the way and you welcome people in. You sort of set it up. And then there’s the content part which the audience considers they’re part of the webinar. I mean, they showed up to learn or listen to somebody talk about that topic. So the content part is they’re part of the webinar, once their part ends. Not surprisingly, their interest tends to drop. And so what we do is we like to have needed in this case, but we like to have questions ready. So that as we move into the Q&A, and therefore, to some degree, the pitch, as we move into the Q&A part and the engagement part, we like to have styles of questions made. So I’ll tell a client or even help a client come up with it. What we’d like a scary question to be the very first question in the Q&A period. A scary question is any question you would not want to be asked if you were going to be surprised by it. So I tell them go find whoever your head of sales is, or your newest salesperson, and ask them what question do you dread being asked on an intro pitch or an intro discovery call with a client? Right? Whatever that question is, we’re going to use that. And we’ll try to come up with something interesting to say to the audience that doesn’t violate the safety question right up front. And there are like various styles of questions that are engineered to sort of keep to provide the audience with an interesting experience during the Q&A and prompt thoughts and more questions from them? Along I’m scary question normally. Sponsor questions. The, you’re asking the wrong question, question. Sure, is another one of the more you can do to sort of keep things moving back and forth. The Q&A should be the wobbly as part of any event. And because the wobbliness in a Q&A encourages everyone in the audience to pile on and ask a whole bunch of questions. And then you can like sort of cherry pick the ones that make sense. Yeah, the extra wildly in the Q&A section. That’s my advice.

Tim Minton 43:52
Okay, well, I’m gonna wobble a little bit. And I want to I want to press you on something you just said, Dean. So you mentioned coming up with questions ahead of time, before the Q&A. So you know, we talked with a lot of people who host and run webinars, but there’s this feeling that this can be disingenuous. So how do you do it wrong?

Dean Waye 44:08
Okay. Here’s, here’s where they run into trouble. It is disingenuous, if you’re, again, not 100% focused on giving the audience the most interesting and best experience. But secondly, their questions are all strawman questions, right? Do you know what I mean by a straw man question. Like it’s a question you ask where you’re the only or your company, let’s say is the only or the most logical answer to the question. It’s so disingenuous and fake that I’m surprised that people don’t disconnect from the webinar right away. I try. I mean, it’s awful, right? Again, they’re not audience centered questions; their use centered questions. And I mean, if you take nothing away from audience attention in webinars and what we’ve talked about today, just take away this nobody gives crap about you. Ultimately, they care about themselves. The whole point is you’re trying to tell them their story with you in it. Not try to get them to sit still for 30 minutes while you talk at them and make them listen to you talk about yourself. Nobody cares. So yeah, super disingenuous as you come up with questions, and they’re all strawman questions. Not disingenuous, if you’ve tried to anticipate what the audience might actually care about, I mean, a great example of a scary question. Right? Right, right out of the gate on a Q&A is like, your, your biggest competitor just came out with X feature, which seems to make a lot of your stuff like irrelevant. Now, I mean, is that a disingenuous question? No. There are some people that are definitely the people who know about what the competitor just did, are very interested in your answer in that, and everyone else is like, Wait, whoa, that’s a big change. Yeah, I want to hear the answer to that, as opposed to given that you guys are so focused on customer service. Do you think that that’s the way forward for our company? I mean, how stupid is a question like that? Right. So yeah, that’s disingenuous. If you’re not 100% focused on the finance, you shouldn’t be coming up with questions in the Q&A. You’re gonna botch it?

Tim Minton 46:08
Yeah, people can sniff out the BSR. Yeah. Okay, so let’s go to the chat and see if there’s any more questions we can pull up. Okay. Here’s one, is there an accepted rule of thumb for the time taken to shift cold audience to take a CTA, which involves parting with money. So this is from Mark J.

Dean Waye 46:28
Now, I, because I work almost exclusively in b2b. There’s in the b2b sales process or the marketing process, there’s usually no single event, meeting, webinar, AD, whatever that leads directly to a sale. b2b Selling pretty much by definition is you either convincing a prospect to let you move closer, or a prospect deciding to let you move closer, and it’s a series of steps getting closer and closer until somebody is talking to legal and procurement. And it’s all taken care of. But so to shift a cold audience to take a call to action, take up a call to action that involves parting with money. If you’ve if you are going to, I’m going to answer this question in a slightly different way. If your goal is to finish with having some percentage of the audience, I mean, ideally 100%, but to have some percentage of the audience, take up a call to action to like make a purchase there. It’s normally not b2b webinar. I mean, the definition of b2c and b2b for webinars on a live event is it’s b2c No matter who you’re talking to company or individual, it’s b2c. If a single person can make the purchase without multiple people weighing in on it. It’s b2b, if multiple people or departments or whatever need to agree before a purchase gets made. So that’s the difference between b2c and b2b. If, if there’s going to be a sale, as opposed to like booking a sales call, this is gonna be an actual sale, that’s a b2c webinar. The way to do that is, pretty much the only way to do that is to know ahead of time, what your call to action is going to be, which is, you know, making the purchase without a credit card and going, and then like you decide that first, and then you go all the way back to the beginning, when you’re creating your presentation, I would not do this in an interview style thing. By the way, if you’re going to do if your goal is to make a sale, then that’s a structured argument, linear presentation kind of webinar. You pick the Q&A, and then you go back to the beginning. And everything you do is geared towards answering the safety question, how do I know it’s safe for me to vouch for you? And or actually in b2c? The question is, how do I know I won’t regret this purchase. And then that’s part one. And then part two, is you want to finish up with them thinking people like me, would do something like this. And something like this happens to be making that purchase. But you can’t, wherever one fails, the call to action make a purchase now is they spent all their time sort of tweaking their slides and sort of getting everything ready. And then they just sort of bolt on the call to action. At the end. It feels like it’s bolted on. Like it’s not an organic piece of the whole thing. And then it’s like, no, like no like this is this is too abrupt of a change in topic. This is not what I expected to find. I did not show up here expecting to have to buy something. And then that’s when people don’t buy. So the whole thing has to be engineered or answering the safety question and ending up in a place where they think yeah, people like me, people like me would make this purchase right now.

Tim Minton 49:41
Yep. Okay, great answer. Let’s go to the next question. Let’s see what we have here. Okay, this is from Alexis when the audience returns regularly or is a bit used to the webinars, interview ship webinars specifically, should the format or anything be changed to break the routine, so maybe on a more meta level than inside of one specific webinar be changed to break the routine.

Dean Waye 50:09
Okay, so there are two ways to think about this. The first answer, the initial answer is no. And it’s because you actually have a lot more freedom in a traditionally structured webinar, as far as, like disruption, breaking a pattern, switching to something else, and then coming back, it’s much more acceptable, it’s not usually done, because people, you know, it takes some practice and experience to do that transition smoothly, and then bring people back. But it’s definitely like, more easily done in the traditional one, as opposed to an interview one, the interview format is pretty much locked in. The only exception I’ve ever seen that works with some degree of regularity is a swap out to a video. So like so, you know, there’s a point in the conversation in an interview, where someone says, like, what about x. And then I said, or I know that you guys brought like a video to talk about x. And you should say how long the video is, like three minutes or whatever, don’t make it very long. And then you can sort of like, the way that TV news like throws to an in the field reporter and then the video feed in the background, everything’s changed the person’s change, and then you sort of come back to it. That’s the only thing that I’ve ever seen work with regularity. But even then, the video needs to be short. Do you need to tell people up front that the video is about to happen, see if to tell people how long the video is, I don’t know why. But it sort of closes the loop for them, they know you’re coming back to the main thing, they know that they’re not going to spend the remainder of that webinar watching a video when they came to watch or understood that they’d be watching and listening to a person live. And then finally, you want to sort of that video needs to be a pivot, it needs to be a horizontal pivot, or a deep dive pivot. And then when you come back, you need to embellish on that pivot by like, making some comments about it or talking about it or whatever.

But yeah, the interview format, people are so used to it. I mean, how many conversations have you had in your life? And how many conversations have you, like watched, you know, or been near at the next table, you know, in the coffee shop? In real life? People don’t like suddenly, you know, get up and dance.

during a conversation. They don’t like you know, they don’t.

pull out a book and start reading it. The format is so ingrained in human nature, that it’s really hard to successfully transition out of it.

Yep, I’ve never had that make sense during conversation.

Tim Minton 52:41
Yeah, that would be interesting if.

Dean Waye 52:44
nobody’s asking for that.

Tim Minton 52:46
Okay, okay, well, good stuff. And with that, we’ve officially hit our time limit. So let’s wrap it up. But for everyone, here, we are doing a second session next week on Wednesday, same time, same place, this is on the audience’s feeling the different parts of the webinar that’s on the 17th than the following Wednesday on the 24th. We are going through some of the structure that Dean talked about. And then on the 31st, we have one more session where dean will do a giant Q&A and allow you to ask any question of him that you would like. So please join us for that. If you’ve already registered for this, you’ll automatically be enrolled in those upcoming sessions. So keep an eye out for the email. Other than that, Dean, thank you so much for joining us. This was super important. Reaching out with you.

Dean Waye 53:32
Bye, everyone.

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