So, you’ve decided to give webinar creation a go. Great! Webinars are an excellent way to connect with people and help them expand their knowledge in specific areas.
They work like actual conferences or seminars (hence the name), but over the internet. Both in education and corporate training fields, they are invaluable when done right.
But how does one actually prepare and host a webinar, making sure he’s delivering the best possible experience to his attendees and viewers? Here is a brief guide on the best practices you should make sure to follow before and during your webinar.
- First off, you have to decide what your webinar will be about. Get together with your colleagues and brainstorm: What do your customers need help with? What topics can be tackled best in the form of an interactive online conference? Once you’ve decided, assign tasks to split the workload, and start doing research.
- Next order of business- administrative details. Yes, this is the “boring” stuff, but it’s still vital in order to make sure your webinar is clearly identifiable by those willing to attend it. You will have to choose a date and time for your webinar to take place in. Consider your clients’ needs when you choose- nobody wants to attend a seminar at 03:00 just because they live on the opposite side of the world as you!
- You should also identify a good Speaker(s) among your team fairly early on in the process, so he will have more time to prepare to deliver the actual conference. Similarly, choose a Moderator, whose task will be to directly engage with the audience during the webinar and in Q&A session, to make sure everyone is on the same page.
- Once the date, time and speaker schedule of your webinar are firmly in place,book a location for your team to base themselves out of. A conference room would work wonders, since it has pretty much all you will need: computers, phone lines and good acoustics. Make sure you schedule your stay in the room clearly, with some extra time to spare before and after the tentative webinar timeframe, so other colleagues won’t barge in while you’re taking questions!
- Choose a suitable Webinar hosting platform. There are many out there, both free and premium. Take a look at this guide to see what best suits your needs. Schedule your webinar on the platform and give login access to speakers and moderators for the event. Start uploading a slide structure as preparations progress, so speakers can start practicing ahead of time and playing around with timing their speech to the slides.
- Create an appealing landing page for your webinar. This is a key step, because it will collect the names and contact details of attendees. This will be vital to promote your webinar, as well as giving you leads for future conference participation.
- Set up reminders and promotional messages for your viewers. Try to cover as many bases as possible: social media, email list subscribers, landing page registrations, through your own website, etc. The name of the game is to try to achieve as much visibility as possible, letting word of mouth do some of the work for you. Some webinar hosting systems have built-in reminder functions for registered attendees- make sure you use them!
- It’s the great day already! Start off by relocating to your booked room and setting up (remember to hang a “Do not disturb” sign on the door, to make sure coworkers don’t walk into the webinar once it is underway). You will definitely need at least two computers- one for the speaker and one for the moderator. Both of these should have a high speed, reliable Internet connection.
- Depending on your choice, you may prefer speaking with a land-line phone rather than through VoIP. In this case, make sure phones are present in the room you chose.
- The speaker’s computer should have a screen sharing function enabled, so that viewers can follow the presentation together. Since the screen will be visible, make sure to keep only the applications you will need for the conference open, to avoid distractions.
- A generally great idea is to have a third computer plugged in acting as a “mole” into the viewer side of things. Connect to your webinar as a normal viewer and have someone look at your presentation through the eyes of an attendee (with headphones, to avoid unpleasant audio feedback). This will let you spot possible issues much earlier, and allow you to fix them immediately.
- You’re all set! Start your presentation (give your audience a couple of minutes leeway before starting if they came in late). Introduce yourselves and outline the schedule of the webinar, as well as the ways viewers can get in touch with the moderator to clear up any details.
- Record your webinar (this is a default function you can enable in many hosting platforms). This will allow you to send the lecture to your viewers after the webinar if you wish to do so, as well as to re-watch it yourself to learn from your mistakes going forward.
- Show your skill and research off to your audience by delivering a great webinar! It is usually a good idea to end the conference with a live Q&A session with your viewers.