By Sandi Hunter
When hosting webinars there are some very important points to consider so your audience has a positive experience and you professionally deliver the event. At my company, we use webinars daily to build our business, and there are good reasons that you should too.
There are various webinar, or webcast software and services available from a number of sources at various prices. You can host the webinar any time, from anywhere in the world. The cost to you is reasonable, and the cost to your participants can be free or at an admission price you set. Webinars can be discussion based, education or information based, sales-related, or tutorial in nature. Having a clear purpose for your webinar will help you in your preparation and marketing.
No matter what platform you use to broadcast your webinar, here are some tips to ensure a professional webinar.
1. Prepare. Before you schedule your first webinar, make sure you understand how to use the software to deliver your webinar presentation. Read through the online manuals, watch the tutorials and know how to get Technical Support should you encounter any problems. It’s recommended that you do a test run to make sure you understand how to deliver the webinar, how participants access your event, how to use any additional tools and training aids. If you are charging for your event make sure your order forms work and are secure. If you plan to deliver specific points than make sure you have either prepared presentation slides for the audience to also keep you on track or, that you have notes handy for reference as needed. In your testing phase test your camera, the sound levels and the online presentation materials for clarity, readability and errors.
2. Consider a Co-Host. Some of the best webinars I have attended and hosted, have been those with a co-presenter or host. It’s quite hard to just be on screen all by yourself talking away. It can feel like you are in a vacuum. Having a co-presenter allows you time to have a break to organize your thoughts. A co-host permits you to volley topics back and forth and make an online discussion more interesting for your audience. Don’t try to deliver all your points or information in one session. Consider a series of webinars with various topics on one theme, or consider segmented parts for a continuing series. Invite guest experts as a co-host to keep your content varied and in-demand.
3. Rules of Teaching: If you are a novice to being an educator remember some common rules of teaching. Go slow. Don’t worry about repeating critical points, it helps people learn. Summarize important points onto slides, whiteboard or visual aids. Sharing your desktop or screen allows the audience to follow along with your points. Adobe has a product called AdobeConnect that is an excellent desktop sharing program. It’s helpful to include important links for later reference by participants. Consider your audience, and their familiarity with the topic, experience, gender, background, prospect vs customer, time zone, etc.
4. Encourage Interactivity with Questions and Answers. Depending on how you format your webinar, you may either allow participants to post questions during your session for response as required. Or you may prefer to wait until the end of your presentation. For discussion based webinars, it makes sense to take questions or comments throughout your session. Interactive sessions are ones that are often the most memorable, the audience learn the most, and helps the host connect more meaningfully with the participants. The feedback you get from your participants will help you stay on track and hone your skills and topics as a presenter for your next event.
5. Record your Webinar. If your Webinar or Web Conferencing platform allows you to record the event, definitely do so. You can then archive these sessions for future use, promotion, or reference. It allows you to create a library of your webinars, and the recorded sessions add lasting power to your event long after the live session has concluded. Participants unable to attend your LIVE webinar will appreciate the convenience of watching the recorded version.
About the Author
Sandi Hunter is the Director of Website Development at Worldprofit Inc. Worldprofit provides a number of services for the small and home-based business community including hosting, design, webconferencing, traffic, advertising, SEO, training and resources. This year Worldprofit marks their 17th year in business.