10 Easy Tips
How to Run Successful Webinars: 10 Easy Tips
Webinars are an excellent way of reaching across the globe and connecting with business opportunities using video, audio, and chat. But learning a new way to do business can be a daunting task, even if the benefits are obvious. Here at WebConCentral we’ve put together 10 easy tips that will help you run a compelling web seminar and keep your audience coming back for more. No matter your skill level, these tips are sure to contribute to a successful online presentation.
“Hook” Attendees Before You Make IntroductionsStart your webinar with a compelling point, a fascinating revelation, or a powerful demonstration of your product or ability. This “hook” will draw your audience in, so when you introduce yourself they’re sure to listen Although it may seem logical to begin with an exchange of names, consider that a webinar shares more in common with a presentation than a traditional conversation. They need to have a reason to listen to you before they’ll be interested in your name or position. A hard-hitting fact or a question that begs to be answered will command attention and pave the way for an effective presentation.
Plan for the “Human” ElementAlthough we’d like to think that an audience has the ability and respect to be on time and prepared, the truth is that’s relatively rare. In a world governed by the speed of the Internet, people can still fall prey to overbooked schedules and a lack of technical knowledge. A knowledgeable presenter should take this into account when booking a web seminar. Booking your meeting for fifteen or so minutes before the actual start of your presentation will allow time for inevitable latecomers. In the initial webinar invitation, invite attendees to “preload” the conference application (a link should suffice). A carefully designed webinar means every moment is important, and missing the first few minutes can mean the difference between a receptive audience and a resistant one.
Remember Your NetworkSmaller companies usually have less network resources at their disposal, and it can require some advance notice to insure a successful webinar. Plan ahead by informing coworkers of your meeting and asking them to refrain from high-bandwidth Internet use until your presentation is finished. If you’re in a home office, you may want to schedule your presentation when no family members are online. This simple trick can mean the difference between a smooth presentation, and one that runs a bit uneven as a result of an overloaded connection. Your upload speed to the web is what counts here, and for some offices that’s a smaller number.
Capture their AttentionFrequently attendees arrive to a webinar before it begins, if only for a few minutes. A savvy presenter can use this to their advantage by preempting the meeting with important links, slides, or a short product demonstration which demand attention and provide valuable information for attendees. In addition, a number of advanced web conferencing applications can allow attendees to fill out surveys or respond to questions that can turn into valuable leads or feedback.
Do a Dry RunThis is especially important if you’re new to webinars, but even experts benefit from this tip. A few days before your presentation, confirm that all of your technology is working properly and you know the particulars of your topic. This trial session helps you catch any errors in your delivery, regulate your pacing as it relates to available time, determine ideal moments to invite questions (more on that later), and generally shake down your entire presentation. It can also prevent the pre-show jitters that many people experience when presenting to a group. It’s better to work the kinks out on your own than in front of an audience!
Limit Video and Animated Slides in Your PresentationIncluding video and amusing slide animations can seem like a clever idea for catching your audience’s attention, but ultimately they’re diversionary tactics. Video, while entertaining, isn’t a powerful teaching tool unless it’s incredibly relevant. Not convinced? A recent University of North Carolina study found that animated slide presentations can negatively affect your audience’s recall and comprehension process. When it comes to information retention, your best bet is sticking to hard facts and keen insights.
Use the Buddy SystemFind a coworker that knows the information nearly as well as you do, and ask them to contribute to the presentation. With some brief planning, they can assist the creation of valuable discourse and guide it in a productive direction. This incredibly effective (and simple) tactic will increase the quality of your question and answer session by fostering the growth of meaningful dialog. It also provides the opportunity for attendees to engage in active learning, which many people find effective when paired with a formal presentation.
Always Review and Leave Time for QuestionsPeople will nearly always have questions about your presentation, and that’s a good thing! It means people are interested in your topic and they’re listening to what you have to say. This is also where a presenter can make or break his webinar depending on his responses. Writing down likely questions before the presentation is an important start but it’s only the beginning. Leaving time to review means you can knock those questions out before they’re even asked, leave your audience with a unified message, and demonstrate your organizational skills.
Leave Your Audience with a Call to ActionThe end of a successful presentation is your chance to stir people into action. At this point they’ll be more likely to act on the knowledge you provided than at any other moment. Use this to your advantage by offering a simple way your audience to follow up on what you’ve said. In sales demonstrations this is fairly straightforward; provide them with the ability to purchase your product outright or to reach a sales consultant directly. Secondary options include an opportunity to learn more about your product or to see further demonstrations. If you’re presenting a topic with no strict monetary value attached to it, you’ll have to get creative. A good general rule is to provide an avenue for the audience to learn more or to get in touch with someone who can do that for them.
End on Positive NoteThere’s a reason that the last three tips deal exclusively with the end of the session. It’s because that once the webinar is complete, they’ll retain the last few minutes the longest. This is why a review and a call to action are so important, and it’s your chance to give them a positive lasting impression. If you’re doing a sales demonstration, consider showing them footage of the product in action. If the product is relatively inexpensive and is usually bought in bulk, consider providing the attendees the product as a gift. If it’s a service, offer a free trial period or a generous discount. If your webinar is about a topic and not a product, consider offering a favorable fact or example that demonstrates how this knowledge will benefit them. Be sure to make the benefit immediate and without any significant effort on their part.
With these simple but effective tips, you’re well on your way to running a successful webinar. If you’d like more information regarding webinars, web conferencing, or would like a free trial of our popular and powerful web conferencing software, please visit our site at http://web-conferencing-central.com. If you’re interested in speaking to someone directly, we happily accept calls to our Sales and Information line at 949.631.0274.