Host a Dynamic Thought Leadership Conversation, Not a Talking Slide Deck

by ON24


Print content, whether in hard copy or electronic form, has its limitations. While it may offer a social media share option, a comments section, or even a call to action, it is inherently a one-sided conversation, no matter how well the publisher understands their audience.

To excel at building and strengthening relationships through appropriate thought leadership, content has to be interactive. Webinars are an ideal medium for these conversations. Create a true exchange and not a lecture. While single-speaker slide-deck webinars are fine for conveying information, interactive webinars are what truly connect thought leaders to their audience and build relationships.

This can be accomplished in a number of ways. 

1. Reader Interests

Look at the analytics of the content you've posted to measure what is of greatest interest to your readers. Look behind the numbers to see what questions the posts are answering. If a recent Cyber security post is your top read, chances are high that you haven’t answered every question for readers in a single post. Take that knowledge and build a more comprehensive program that will cover a deeper body of material.

2. Questions & Polls

Get attendees involved early in the process. At registration, ask attendees three questions about the webinar topic. Tally those answers to determine where most people’s interests lie. You can share that data during the webinar, and use it to structure your content so that it focuses on the most important aspects.

...ask a trusted client to join in.

You can also place short polls throughout your webinar. This engages your audience and opens a true conversation. Or consider sprinkling multiple-choice questions at key transition points in your program to maintain engagement and interaction.

3. Interviews Instead of Lectures

Likewise, carry this theme of conversation forward with a Q&A format rather than a single speaker. Q&As are inherently more organic and often more interesting than panel presentations. They also allow the presenters to quickly respond to questions the audience may pose in the chat feature, rather than feel pressured to get through a slide deck. Slides are fine as a supplement, but heavy reliance on PowerPoint communication turns a live presentation into a static lecture.

4. Client Guests

Instead of relying only on attorneys from your firm as presenters, ask a trusted client to join in. Panels and programs that include in-house counsel are among the highest-rated presentations. This again stimulates organic conversation. Your client’s concerns are likely the concerns shared by the audience. This is practically a guarantee that you are hitting on the most important content. 

5. Attendee Participation

Lastly, consider inviting an attendee to join the conversation. This can be arranged ahead of time. This person does not have to be identified in promotional materials as a presenter. Bring them on two-thirds of the way into the webinar, when audience members may be considering dropping off, to add an unexpected element to the conversation. Call on your attendee/guest panelist to answer a question, and you’ve introduced a true invitation for interaction with all attendees. This can stimulate additional questions in chat, which in turn will point to the content and direction of your next program.  

Each of these suggestions will help you make the most of a dynamic medium. Sometimes true thought leadership is talking less and listening more.


[Samantha McKenna is a Senior Director, Sales at ON24Connect with her LinkedIn to learn how webinars can supercharge your firm's content efforts.]

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