The Perfect Webinar
Tips for Running the Perfect Webinar
Webinars are seminars conducted over the web. Webinars are primarily a one-way communication from the presenter to the audience, but some interactivity is possible. Webinars have grown in popularity as a technique for delivering content. Why?
- Webinars can support a much larger and geographically distributed audience that is possible with an on premise seminar.
- Lower delivery expenses
- Eliminate travel costs
- Webinars can be recorded for reuse or flexible delivery times
Although webinars are conducted via the internet, there is no reduction in the amount enthusiasm, public speaking skills and planning that are required. Whether you’ve never conducted a webinar or have a few under your belt, you can ensure that your next webinar is great by following a few recommendations.
Tips for the Perfect Webinar
Plan, Plan, Plan
Conducting a webinar requires the same level of planning as an on premise conference. The only difference is that instead of attendees meeting at a venue, you are broadcast to attendees. It is important that you plan the details of the webinar in advance or chaos will ensue. Trust us on this one. Key items in your plan should include:
- Detailed outline with timeline
- Data collected during registration
- Marketing and promotion strategy
- Metrics for success of the webinar
Web Conferencing Central includes features like a customizable registration form builder that allows you to define exactly what information you want to collect during registration and a webinar list. Web Conferencing Central’s webinar list helps you organize meetings with participants pre-registering for the event. The system then delivers the invitations, reminders, and stores participant information for export to Excel.
Know and Communicate What You Are Doing
Webinars should have clearly defined objectives. Ask yourself, when the webinar is complete,
- What will people learn?
- What is the definition of a success?
Develop a detailed statement of what you are offering and communicate in advance of the webinar and at the start of webinar. Webinars with clearly defined objectives reduce audience confusion and can make participants feel more engaged by knowing what to expect.
Step Away from the Slides
Slides are useful for a webinar, but don’t get out of hand. Many webinars include slide after slide after slide. Don’t do this. If you truly want to engage and captivate your audience:
- Share content such as supporting documents
- Include multimedia
- Share your desktop to perform demos if appropriate
- Use video
- Conduct surveys/polls at various points in the presentation
Offering multiple styles of content keeps the webinar interesting.
Engage the Audience
Webinars can be more challenging than an on premise seminar for engaging the participants. A webinar doesn’t provide the same visual feedback. You can’t see the audiences’ faces to determine if they are zoning out. You have no idea if they are checking their email or surfing the web instead of paying attention.
Interest starts to wane if outline topics are exceptionally long or is in a single format. You should present your content prior to the actual webinar and get feedback. It is important that webinar content is informative, your speakers interesting and delivery entertaining.
Registration Is Important
The registration process can be a useful tool to reduce participants simply not showing up to the webinar. Do not make the registration process overly cumbersome, but collect adequate information follow up with registrants. Ideally, you should send reminders, monitor the registration list and offer multiple strategies to register.
In addition to follow up, registration provides an opportunity to learn about participants. You can use registration to gather demographic data to tailor your presentation to the actual audience. Web Conferencing Central supports all of these activities with its webinar features. You could do these things manually, but why should you?
Shockingly, you are not perfect neither are your presenters. Pause. Take it in. Presenting at a webinar is different from presenting to a live audience. Webinar speakers must practice, practice and practice again to ensure the highest possibility for success.
Practice isn’t just about the content. Be sure to practice:
- Using the tools
- Surveys – if you are conducting survey/polls during the presentation don’t forget to try it out
- File Sharing
- Desktop sharing
- A technical difficulty like loss of audio
Use a Reliable Service
Technical difficulties can ruin even the best planned webinar with outstanding content. Free webinar services can be tempting, but in most cases get what you pay for. Choose an established vendor and test out the service in advance. In most cases, paid service offer better call quality and scalability for a large audience – of course there are exceptions, but do you really want to be test case? Web Conferencing Central does a great job of handling webinars with solid performance and intuitive controls for users.
Now Go Have a Great Webinar
There are many other tweaks and practices to improve your webinar, but starting with these tips is certain to improve your delivery. Do you have a hot tip on conducting a webinar? We’d love to hear it.