Last summer I walked out of my office to get a coffee at my favourite spot. Luckily for me it is just next to my building and if I go out the back door I can get in and out in just under 5 minutes. In the courtyard I walk through I saw a new addition. A 7000 lb stone ping pong table equipped with paddles and balls. I always enjoyed ping pong anytime I played so right away I got my sales team together and took them out after work and I was hooked. Fast-forward 6 months later and I am playing 3 times a week, in a league on Monday nights and getting ready for my first open tournament.
So what can Ping Pong possibly have to do with Webinars?
In the 6 months that I have been playing actively I have learned a lot about the sport (like it is actually called Table Tennis) and have gone through a number of stages in my development. As I was sitting down with my long-time friend and practice partner last night we were reviewing the different things that we did in the past year to develop our game and compared what we see some of other competitors doing and I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to my business and the journey most of my customers go through in an effort to deliver killer webinar programs. So, I started to write this blog about two of my biggest passions Webinars and Ping Pong!
Try to get a base understanding of the sport before you start playing regularly.
Ping Pong is a very accessible sport. You don’t need to be in great physical shape or have amazing athleticism to pick up a paddle and knock a ball around. Basically anyone can enjoy the sport. The same goes for webinars. Getting a Powerpoint together and presenting it online (what some people consider a webinar) is very easy with today’s technology but like the person who just picks up paddles and starts hitting balls over the table without any knowledge of the game you will only go so far in your development and likely pick up a number of bad habits along the way. You need to start with basics, the grip, the stance and basic shots.
The best players have a coach but since there are not many Webinar training camps you can attend you want to try to get a base understanding of what generally works for webinars and model your “game” on a proven formula before you go inventing shots and trying to make it your own. This website and many like it aspire to provide the kind of background information you should read before you get started (and if you can find a partner/coach you should do that too!)
Check out our Youtube Page for some pointers on getting ready for your webinar program.
There is no substitute for hitting a lot of balls.
When I first started playing with people who were competitive I would lose to players who on paper I was better than. I had better technique, I hit the ball harder but I would get caught all the time by spins and shots I had never seen. It was what would force me to make many more unforced errors than my opponent and in the end I would be spotting them 3 or 4 points every set which made it very challenging to win. At the time I had only been playing for a few months and realized these guys and gals had been playing the sport for years and hit literally thousands more balls than I had and were much more comfortable at the table against a new opponent. The same goes for running webinars. It is highly unlikely you are going to be delivering a world class webinar program if you only do a couple webinars a year. The more you do, the more you practice the better you get.
Committing to a consistent program including dry-runs and post event reviews of your performance is what makes you a pro!
Ping Pong Spin explained:
My practice partner is someone who analyzes and researches everything he does. As we started our journey he quickly started looking into what the pros use and as we progressed through our journey we went through a few stages of paddles (they are actually called bats but I digress) my most recent bat was assembled for me with my choice of forehand and backhand rubber and blade based on my style of play and cost me about $160.00 USD on Amazon. When I stepped into my league night where I faced a bunch of new players the first person I rallied with asked me “where did you get that thing? The ball literally jumps off the paddle!”
I know that I played against guys who had played more than me, had a few more shots than I had but were playing with inferior equipment and couldn’t keep up with my game. So although technology does not make me the player I am today – it certainly helps! When it comes to webinar platforms the same holds true. A webinar platform should enhance your message not be a detractor from it and investing in the right technology can actually help make your overall program better.
So, it is a lot easier to have fun playing ping pong than it is running a webinar but if you can approach it in the same way you will ultimately provide a better product and get better outcomes. If you are having fun the audience will hear or see that on the webinar and will see that you enjoy what you are doing. This mindset of looking forward to the webinar (like I look forward to my ping pong practice) will ultimately elevate your game even if you don’t have the experience of someone else. And the nice thing about having fun with something is all a matter of mindset!
I always have fun when I do webinars with Demand Metric CMO John Follet and I think it comes through in the strength of the events we produce together: Check out our Content Mapping Edition here
Webinars are not just like Ping Pong but like anything in life. To be good you need to put yourself out there, commit to doing them on a regular basis and always try to enjoy what you are doing.