Why do webinars have to be so hideous?

Eleanor O'Rourke
4 min readMay 1, 2020

You know how it is. A subject matter catches your eye. You hover over the sign-up button and try to convince yourself that this time it’ll be different. The voice in your head says “sucker” but you hate this voice because no-one likes a cynic. You click… and fall into a cave of clichés.

Perhaps there’s a template for webinars that some business guru sold, but now that prices are falling, everyone’s trying to offload their stock as quickly as possible. This is the template…

First begin by saying one of the following… “I’m soooo excited” “I’m super excited” “I’m beyond excited”. It’s essential to convey excitement at every given opportunity, presumably in the hope that some of this excitement will be catching. It’s not.

Next, fill in a lot of time with introductions. If there are two hosts, spend at least ten minutes on how much you love each other, how the universe brought you together and how clever and fantastic the universe is. This is supposed to convey sincerity. It doesn’t.

Next, avoid getting to the end of any sentence by reading on screen messages, because that’s not annoying. Remember to give endless shout outs “Hey Sharon from Doncaster, thanks for joining… Ah! Louise from Wisconsin loved our last podcast, thanks so much Louise! You have no idea how much this means! We have Puerto Rico in the house Woop! Woop! This is awesome.” Shout outs are a way to make Sharon from Doncaster feel special for one nano second, thus ensuring she’ll be a life-long subscriber . Andy Warhol once said “In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”. Not even close Andy.

Next, get super excited about the content of an upcoming “offer” at the end of the webinar. The content in this offer is mind blowing, life changing and absolutely essential. Although essential, only sign up “if it calls you”, though I’m unsure of the mechanics of how a piece of digital software makes requests. This is supposed to convey integrity. It just produces confusion. Am I hearing voices? Why not?

Next, make sure your content falls neatly into pillars, pyramids or pie charts because people need geometric shapes to understand words. Bonus points if the words begin with the same letter (see what I did there with the P) If you can’t manage this, then shoehorn the points into an acronym of some kind.

Next, get super excited — again — in case people are starting to think the information is generic or common sense. Ensure the reader that there is no BS but lots of kick ass (this just means generic content with added swear words). Make some bad jokes then laugh… yes, laugh at your own wittiness! It makes you seem zany and someone people will definitely want to hang out with over the next six weeks of the program.

Finally hit them with the price, but… not so fast. First break down the content into a shopping list of benefits — each with their own arbitrary price tag. For instance, an old interview you did that’s freely available on YouTube, is suddenly valued at $300. I lie… It’s actually $297 because even numbers have been banned from any on-line offer. Search the internet as much as you like, you won’t find an even number anywhere.

Make sure that just one of these items on the list is “worth the ticket price alone” because we’ve never heard that expression before.

By the time you get to the end of the shopping list the total is something like $23,697.75. This is when you hit them with the massive, one off, never to be repeated (until next month) discount, which now brings the total to $797 so it’s “super affordable”.

After that, you’re home and hosed… no wait!! Add an endless bunch of bonuses (I think there’s a website somewhere selling job lots of them). Then do a final edit… go through your copy to look for any word that has anything to do with “selling” and replace this with “serving” because serve is the new sell. Throw in “humble” for good measure.

In 2011 Brendon Burchard wrote a book called The Millionaire Messenger. In it, he told the faithful that there is no-one on the planet who doesn’t have some bit of information to share, and that information can be monetized, so that you can achieve the Holy Grail… making money while you sleep. He urged everyone to “get on it” immediately because the market for information “had two years in it at best”. Not even close Brendon. Remember when someone at IBM said “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers”? This is how badly he underestimated peoples’ desire to talk to the world from a beach front property.

“Making money in your sleep” is not a creative aspiration. Besides, there’s only so much coastline to go around. We are now drowning in information and lacking in action.

It’s time to wake up, smell the coffee, put down the cell phone, and think of a more creative way to do life.

PS. If you still want to produce or consume online content then listen to Sam Harris. If you don’t… then listen to Sam Harris. Basically There’s never not a good time to listen to Sam Harris. He gives you hope that there’s intelligent life on the planet.



Eleanor O'Rourke

Geometricity - everything is patterns and energy. Shaping up for the 21st Century.