Death by Webinar

Thanks to technology, people no longer need to take in-person trainings. Instead, we’ve now turned to webinars, online training sessions that you can participate in as long as you have internet access and headphones. Along with being super convenient and a great way to connect with others, it’s a God awful, boring way to learn anything.

That’s right, I’m not a huge fan of webinars.  In fact, I think they’re pretty terrible the majority of the time. They’re right up there with awkward conference calls and that luncheon I had to go to when my supervisor was demoted. Nothing says ease and comfort of learning like monotonous presenters, unattractive slideshows, and stretching your head at an awkward angle so your headphones reach your desktop tower. Just throw me in a raft and let me float away down the Delaware River instead.


I recently had the opportunity of sitting through a two hour learning session where it took all my effort not to fall asleep as the presenters read word for word off the presentation. I literally almost died of boredom (dramatic, I know). But seriously, there was a webcam video where the voice didn’t mesh with the lips so it was like watching the original Godzilla movie. It was more distracting than helpful in my opinion. But never fear! Here are 7 ways to make it through a webinar (relatively) unscathed.

  1. Take notes. Believe it or not, webinars are meant to teach you important things. One of the best ways to make sure you stay awake and focused is to take notes. By doing this you’re ensuring that you’re engaged in the presentation and actively understanding what the presentation is about. Plus, it’s always nice to have notes to look back on in the future.
  2. Print out any materials they send you beforehand. If they’re offering you handouts, print them out beforehand. Sometimes it can be easier to follow along with a piece of paper than staring at your screen for 1+ hours. Also, this gives you a nice spot to doodle and color in the big block letters of the titles (yes, I still do this).
  3. Try to participate if you can. If this is an interactive webinar, make sure to participate. This can be done by typing questions to the presenter or even through verbal debriefing if that’s available.
  4. Bring a snack. I’m not one to promote mindless eating, but you should have a snack ready if you can. It’s a good distraction when the webinar gets particularly boring. Plus, who doesn’t love snacks?!
  5. Schedule it for a good time. If you have the option to pick the time you’re signing into a webinar, schedule it for when you perform best. For example, I try not to schedule them for right after my lunch. I’m a little bit sleepy at that point and won’t be able to focus as much as I’d like. However, I can rock 10am-12pm or 2:00pm-3:30pm like nobody’s business. Try to pick a time that works best for your personal work arrangement.
  6. Focus on the benefits of what you’re learning. When things start getting rough, focus on how this training will benefit you. You may even want to write down what you’d like to achieve from this webinar to help keep you on track. Then, it won’t seem so pointless when things get a little dry.
  7. Remember that this is time limited. This will end and it will likely end soon. When you feel like you can’t go on any longer, revisit your confirmation that tells you when the webinar is over. Then, breathe a nice sigh of relief that you only have 1 hour and 55 minutes left.

Now, it’s your turn. What do you think of webinars? Awesome way to learn remotely or could they use a little improvement?

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