You know what is awesome? AmeriCorps alums! I love being part of the AmeriCorps tribe. Luckily, here in Flagstaff, Arizona I am still connected to a lot of fellow AmeriCorps alums. This came in handy recently when I was leading a live webinar for AmeriCorps members with the Arizona Supreme Court. The webinar was set for 90 minutes, and although I am fascinating and funny, that is still a long time to listen to one person talk. What to do? Many webinars try to keep people engaged with polls and interaction, but more and more webinar participants are listening in through a phone or don’t have access to the full set of features that the software can handle. This leaves it up to the webinar presenter to provide interesting and engaging content.

While listening to a podcast recently, I realized that I loved the relationship between the cohosts, and I enjoyed listening to the natural conversations they had. It was way more interesting than just listening to a straight lecture or even story told by a single storyteller.

Enter Chelsea Silva. Chelsea is a local AmeriCorps VISTA member serving in her second term. Chelsea is also a fabulous person, and she agreed to come over to my home studio and join me in person for this live webinar. The results were great! Instead of standing around awkwardly waiting on the webinar participants to enter questions into the chat box, I could use the time while they were typing to let Chelsea ask a question.

Having Chelsea in the room with me also kept me grounded and reminded me of who I was speaking to. It can be very strange to stare into the little black orb of the webcam. Like most professional speakers, I thrive on audience energy, and I really miss that when I host a webinar. Chelsea reacted to what I was saying in real time so I could alter my timing, vocal variety, and tone to adjust to her reactions.

I loved this method and can’t wait to use it again in a future webinar!

If you would like more information about the webinars that I offer for AmeriCorps Members, Supervisors, and Staff, check out the descriptions here.

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