In their landmark 2007 bestseller, "Made to Stick," Chip and Dan Heath shared "The Curse of Knowledge," the concept that once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it.
Or, as the Heath brothers explain, "Our knowledge has 'cursed' us. And it becomes difficult for us to share our knowledge with others, because we can't readily re-create our listeners' state of mind."
When it comes to creating webinars that engage your audience and enable you to sell your products and services as a result, this is perhaps the biggest hurdle many presenters have to overcome.
Is Your Webinar Cursed Before it Even Begins?
This is why many webinars fail before they even begin.
Having spent thousands of hours over the past five years studying why some webinars work while others fall flat, I've come to realize that the biggest mistake many presenters make ties back to the Curse of Knowledge.
Too many presenters assume they know what their audience wants (or should want) to discover, and they rush ahead and build out an entire webinar based on those assumptions.
There's a saying about what happens when you just assume, isn't there?
How To Determine the Perfect Webinar Topic
The most valuable lesson I've ever learned when it comes to how to do a webinar is a simple one - I must ask my audience what they want to learn!
It's a simple - and yet profound - exercise that yields incredible results.
Before I type a single sentence of a new online training program or webinar, I reach out to the people on my email list, social media followers and other outlets and ask them:
"What do you want to know more about [BLANK]?"
I replace the "Blank" part of the question with the topic I want to build my Webinar around.
For instance, if I want to put together a new webinar on using LinkedIn to generate leads, my question will look like this:
"What do you want to know more about LinkedIn?"
With that one, simple, beautiful question, I get the exact words, phrasing and pain points of my target audience before I ever spend a second building out my webinar or
online training course.
All you have to do is set that question up as a simple survey on Google Forms or Survey Monkey, and then reach out to your target audience online and ask for feedback.
Ask. Listen. Respond.
Once the survey responses come in, you'll begin to see patterns emerge. With a tool like Google Forms or Survey Monkey, you can even sort all the responses inside of a spreadsheet, identifying common words or phrases and analyzing the data.
More important, people will tell you where they're at with your topic, what they need the most help with and what they want to learn about.
Often, it will be far more basic and simple than you'd imagined. This is critical to understand, because it helps you shape the content for your webinar and ensures you won't fall prey to the Curse of Knowledge.
In addition, you can utilize the language from the survey responses as part of your online copywriting and webinar content, using the exact words, phrases and statements your survey respondents do.
This helps people realize your webinar is exactly what they're looking for, because it's using their exact language and promising to answer their most pressing questions.
It's one little question, but it has an incredible impact on the effectiveness of your webinars!