Raise your hand if you’ve ever thought to yourself that you wish a webinar would last longer. Yep. That’s what I thought. A few folks who learn best through auditory means and another handful who have attended a webinar with an uber-engaging presenter raised their hands. But, let’s face it…webinars can be pure drudgery. Is there a perfect length of time for a webinar? My answer has changed over time…and it depends on your audience, your purpose, your presenter(s)…but most importantly it depends on how you engage those on the other side of the computer screen.
Here’s my rule of thumb:
30 minutes is too short for anything but a quick announcement, overview or introduction
60 minutes is the max for a presentation by an expert … and should include 10-15 minutes for answering questions from attendees
90 minutes is excellent if you are planning to engage the participants in the content and through interactions with the presenter and other participants
I have been part of a team who designed and facilitated 3- and 6-hour webinars. These were designed for a discreet group of participants who were gathered for a specific reason to address very targeted topics….and they participated in small face-to-face groups. These were very participatory, included compelling presenters, and were positively received. (We decided to offer two 3-hour webinars instead of one 6-hour webinar after receiving feedback about the length of the longer webinar.)
In my experience, webinars of 60-90 minutes allow for getting into the content to some depth and offer opportunities for discussion among presenters and participants.