Unlocking the Potential of Webinars

When it comes to a way to make the delivery of information both fun and engaging, little can compete with the webinar. Not only can attendees see and hear a speaker, but they can also enjoy much richer engagement with content by interacting with it in fresh and new ways.

Webinar Benefits

When done correctly, a webinar can offer the feel of a classroom as it provides a personal connection for each participant. Participants can ask questions, chat with other participants as well as the speaker, and even enrich their experience by integrating the webinar with one or more social media outlets of their choice.

Webinars also offer a way for audiences to learn about a product, service or opportunity without feeling any pressure to purchase or sign up. Webinars allow information to be shared freely and opportunities to be presented without any need to coerce participants into engaging further.

Webinars are also affordable, eliminating the need for attendees to travel to the meeting place. The ability of the webinar to reach participants around the world and gather them in one virtual location is another powerful benefit, one that other mediums cannot offer.

Following a webinar, the information it contains can be repackaged as a series of blog posts, articles, podcasts or an eBook to be sold to consumers at a later date.

For the host, a webinar can reveal information about an audience that may not have been clear previously. Finally, the webinar can be a great place for a host to test new approaches and ideas and get instant feedback.

Why Your Company Should Host a Webinar

There are many reasons why you should host a webinar. Not only do they allow a level of engagement with your customer that marketing tools like blogs and articles do not, but they also are convenient. A webinar can last from a few minutes to a few hours, unlike its offline counterpart that can take days. As well, a large number of people can attend a webinar because no physical travel is necessary. This allows you to reach more people at one time than a web conference or other physical meeting would.

However, as effective and impactful as webinars can be, they can also contain many opportunities for mistakes. In order for any webinar to be successful, several elements must be in place.

Hammer Out the Details

Even before the webinar exists, it is important to see how and where you can increase the value of your webinar for your attendees. This could mean partnering with another company. Where this is the case, getting together well before the webinar will be crucial, as it is during this meeting that you can agree to the details your webinar will contain.

Some items to discuss may include:

  • The title of the webinar;
  • Who will be organising, presenting and moderating the webinar;
  • The building of a template that outlines the agenda for the webinar;
  • The webinar’s time and date, and whether or not more than one session will be needed to accommodate more than one time

Testing, Testing

All presenters, organisers and moderators should plan to hold a mock webinar a week or more before the actual event. This will allow for connectivity, technology and other tests to take place to ensure that everything is in working order. Having the mock webinar several days before the actual event will allow enough of a cushion to resolve any significant problems requiring more than one or two days to be fixed.

Following the mock webinar, having a follow-up meeting is a good idea. This will allow all involved with the webinar to discuss what worked, what didn’t and what can be improved upon before the actual event.

The Right Environment, the Right Technology

Hand-in-hand with testing and planning is ensuring that the basics are in place. A quality microphone will ensure that all communication from the hosting party’s end is clear and professional-sounding.

However, even the best microphone may not be able to overcome a poorly-chosen room. Ensure that the room you’re presenting from is quiet and ‘dead’, or free from as much echo as possible. If the webinar is being held from a busy office, it is a good idea to hang a ‘do not disturb’ sign from the door.

The software used will also be vital to the overall quality, as it can affect both the sound and video of a presentation.

Compose the Presentation

Composing your webinar will involve everything from organising the slides in your presentation to writing the text you will be using as your script. You will need to write an introduction, both for those that show up on time to your presentation, as well as those who show up late.

If your presentation contains slides, your participants will likely need to be reminded to look at them. These reminders can be placed throughout the script of your presentation.

Have a Contingency Plan in Place

Regardless of how much you may have prepared yourself and your presentation team for possible glitches on presentation day, things can still go awry. For example, you or another presenter may experience a power or other outage that’s beyond their control. You must ensure that the webinar can go on as planned. Therefore, it’s a good idea to print out as many details as possible, including the slides you will be using, details for getting access to the webinar, and any documents with the contact info for the other presenters.

Just Before You Present

Some last-minute details to ensure everything is in place should be confirmed about 30 minutes before the start of your webinar. Place the ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door, and restart your computer. Once started, ensure that any software known to hog resources or your monitor is temporarily disabled or closed altogether.

Once you’ve minimised the noise around you, tested your backup internet connections and started recording, it’s time for your webinar to begin. Good luck!