November 20, 2020
Planning to host your first webinar, but don't know where to begin? This guide will walks you through the process from start to finish.
If you are planning to host your first live webinar, you should prepare to do some upfront organization and preparation to get it right. In order to ensure your first webinar is a success, check out this guide for first time live webinar hosts.
Before choosing to use a live webinar as your presentation platform, you need first to make sure that it aligns with the goals and objectives of your audience.
When you are trying to determine if a live webinar is a good fit for your needs, you will first want to consider the participants, your subject matter, and how long you will need to deliver the presentation.
Webinars work great for the right topic, but they are not suited to every type of presentation or training opportunity out there. Keep in mind that most audiences attending an online presentation will tend to lose interest after one hour.
If you are uncertain if a live webinar is the right fit for you, consider contacting other experts in your field to inquire if they have conducted their own live webinars. If they have, ask them for some advice relating to how you can maximize the effectiveness of your own.
You can also gauge the interest level of your potential audience by sending out a survey and making sure that they will be interested in what you have to offer.
If you are going to do your webinar right, it is suggested that you have at least three main people involved from the onset. This will include the organizer and facilitator of the basic webinar, the presenter, and an assistant.
Of course, the bigger the scale of the webinar, the more people you will want to have involved. Each person, however, will generally fall into one of these three categories.
The organizer of a basic webinar is the person who will develop the topic for the presentation. This individual will also locate the speaker, promote the webinar, set up the registration protocol, and communicate with each participant before the webinar and again once it has completed.
The facilitator will also introduce the speaker at the beginning of the basic webinar, and he or she will engage subject matter experts in an interview, moderate questions from the audience, and encourage the audience to participate in the presentation fully. This is a big commitment, as it can require up to 20 hours of time from start to finish.
Naturally, your basic webinar will include at least one main presenter. Many people will refer to this person as a subject matter expert. It is this person who will devote most of his or her time to the quality presentation of information.
If you are able, you will also want to have some assistants ready to help. This is particularly helpful if you plan on hosting a basic webinar that is expecting a large number of participants. Assistants can help members of the audience with any technical problems that they may encounter.
As you prepare your live webinar, it is very important that you choose the proper format that works well for the topic and the audience.
There are several popular formats that you can choose from, beginning with one speaker. This is where a single presenter will speak and demonstrate the topic of the webinar. This individual will also be responsible for answering questions that the participants may ask.
An advantage of this format is that there will be fewer people involved the process that you will need to train to use the basic webinar program and online tools. A disadvantage is reflected in the lack of variety the results from having a singular voice and perspective.
Another popular webinar format is the interviewer. This is also where a moderator will come into place. He or she will ask a series of questions to a subject matter expert in a predetermined fashion. Members of the audience can also get involved by chatting in their questions during a live webinar.
An advantage of this is that the audience will stay more alert when they hear multiple voices. A disadvantage is that this format requires more people in order for the basic webinar to be scheduled properly, and these people will need to trained and well coordinated.
Two other formats that you can choose from include a moderated panel discussion and an interactive live webinar. The former will involve multiple people participating in the online webinar at the same time, with a moderator serving as a facilitator to the discussion.
An interactive webinar will actually get the members of the audience to participate in a series of exercises and a discussion that is facilitated by the host.
Since a live webinar is online, you will need to make great use of audio and visual techniques in order to keep the audience engaged.
You do not have the benefit of gauging their physical reaction, so you need to do everything possible to ensure that participants remain interested and involved.
You will want to include graphics, animation, and pictures as appropriate. In sales presentations and business meetings, you can include colorful charts and graphs to illustrate your main points.
One of the primary considerations in developing an online presentation is the selection of the actual webinar software that you intend to use.
Within this realm, there are many aspects of the presentation itself to take into account. This begins with a determination of how many people you plan on having attend the webinar.
In determining your live webinar tool, you will also want to consider the type of features that you require. This will determine your ultimate selection. For example, many programs will allow participants to dial in, while others will deliver the audio over the Internet. Some will even allow for a combination of the two.
An agenda is a very important part of a basic webinar.
You have to remember that you need to have a hook to get people to attend the presentation, even for those who have registered long in advance.
This is often accomplished with the distribution of a detailed agenda that effectively builds the interest level in the webinar itself.
Be sure to outline the timing of the full presentation. Don’t forget to factor in any Q&A sessions you plan to host during the webinar.
If you do not have a great deal of experience hosting webinars, it is important to host a practice session to make sure that everything is working properly.
This is also important just to ensure that all of the tools are working as they should and that everyone involved in the presentation understands his or her role in the process. You do not want to encounter any technical issues when the live webinar begins, so a practice session is a way to help avoid this eventuality.
A practice session should include an introduction to all of the tools and resources that your webinar platform contains.
Everyone who has a role in the basic webinar should be a part of the practice session to make sure that they have an understanding of the available features.
They also need to know who to turn to during the webinar if any issue comes up.
This is also the time to do a complete equipment check to make sure everyone has properly functioning equipment on his or her end.
Each presenter will be online from his or her own location and must attend a the practice session.
It is important that everyone has the proper equipment to perform his or her own part of the webinar well. Finally, a practice session is a way to go over the agenda, review the visuals, and make sure that everything else is in order.
You do not want to overlook the importance of securing all necessary equipment and space to host a basic webinar. If you are in a business setting, you want to make sure that you have a quiet location free from distractions.
Everyone involved in the webinar presentation itself will need a working headset or microphone.
You will want to avoid conducting any basic webinar using a speakerphone, as the quality of the audio is usually quite poor even if the room is quiet as a mouse.
If you are using a laptop, remember to have a power cord. Running out of battery power before the presentation ends could ruin an otherwise effective webinar.
Now that you have everything in place for an effective webinar, it is time to establish registration procedures.
You will want to begin by determining if you are offering a paid or free webinar. This depends on the scope and purpose of your presentation.
Registration, at a minimum, will need to involve participants sending in their name and email address.
Marketing your webinar is a crucial step in this process.
You can put as much effort into the creation of a great presentation as you want, but it will all be for naught if nobody ever hears about it.
You can start with your existing email list.
Send out a blast that informs everyone of what you have to offer. You can also begin a social media campaign that revolves around Facebook. Digital marketing is an effective way of engaging and captivating a global audience, so you will want to put that into play as well.
As you promote your basic webinar, you want to have prepared links that can take interested individuals right to an online registration form. This will increase your exposure and draw people into your presentation in higher numbers.
Following this suggested pattern of designing a basic webinar will maximize your chances of success.
Remember that webinars do have many advantages over in-person meetings, but must be properly executed to be effective.
Take your time in the planning process and make sure that you have all of your bases covered. Having done that, you are well on your way to an effective basic webinar, no matter if you have only two participants or thousands.