August 22, 2021
A guest presenter could be a force-multiplier for your event, but if they aren't prepared, it could be a disaster. Follow this simple presenter success checklist.
This can be a very big step for many companies. You may have been successful at building up a decent audience for your webinar program and are, therefore, rightfully cautious about the idea of bringing in a guest to hold the reins.
If so, let’s quickly cover some of the reasons a guest webinar presenter could be completely worth it.
The first is that it’s simply nice to mix things up. You’ve probably heard that variety is the spice of life. We’re not saying your audience may be getting bored with you, but it will definitely grab their attention if somebody else will be speaking to them.
Second, the person you choose should have some kind of expertise. This means they can provide your audience with information that you couldn’t. Even if you could cover the same topic, their credentials may go a long way toward getting the message across.
Third, you can leverage the other person’s audience. This is an absolutely huge advantage and, thus, something else you should be thinking of before deciding on the guest webinar presenter you’re going to invite to host the webinar.
Ideally, find someone who has a large audience of their own. They’ll then tell their following about this webinar they’re doing and you’ll be able to attract more people to watch.
Down the line, you can still benefit from their name recognition when people do web searches for them. If they feature the webinar on their site, you’re going to get more traffic and a nice backlink.
There are countless other reasons it may pay to have a guest webinar presenter run your program, but these big ones should have you thinking about the opportunity.
This is probably the most important tip of the list, but it often goes overlooked. If you’ve hosted a number of webinars already, it may be second nature to you at this point. Therefore, you may assume the same goes for your guest webinar presenter.
You don’t have to have them do the entire thing, but make sure that they feel comfortable with the concept and the technology. Encourage your guest webinar presenter to ask questions.
This is another easy one to overlook. Imagine your guest webinar presenter finishes their live presentation and it’s only then that you realize they didn’t understand what you were looking for from them.
Now, you not only have to do the entire thing over, but you also have to get through a fairly awkward conversation. They might not have time in their schedule to redo an entire webinar in the near future, either.
Your list of expectations should include:
Use this list, but also feel free to come up with any other pointers that will help them.
Recognize, too, that your guest webinar presenter will probably really appreciate you taking the lead to help guide them. They don’t want to do a bad job or otherwise miss the mark anymore than you do.
Unless your guest webinar presenter is already familiar with your audience, you’ll want to tell them what to expect from your listeners.
Presumably, this won’t be a problem for you. Nonetheless, these are some questions that it may help to answer in preparation:
You can also share feedback with them that you’ve received in the past. Even if you’ve already processed these critiques and made changes to the way you do webinars, this kind of information can be extremely helpful.
Every webinar needs to have visual components aside from just the speaker’s face. Long before your guest webinar presenter takes to the mic, you should both understand which graphics are going to be used.
You may already know the ones you would like them to present. If not, make sure they know that they’ll be responsible for this vital component. Offer to help them with this if they’d like.
If they decide to provide the graphics, then politely ask to see them beforehand. This way, there won’t be any nasty surprises the first time they put one on screen.
One other element that usually makes a webinar much better is allowing audience members to ask questions at the end. Some people even give time for them throughout the presentation.
Obviously, this only applies to live webinars. Assuming that’s what you’re doing, let your guest webinar presenter know that you’d like them to take some questions at some point. If they haven’t used your interface before, you’ll need to show your webinar presenter what this will entail.
One of the most engaging elements of a webinar is a Live Q&A session. BigMarker's Q&A feature gives audience members the ability to ask questions during your presentation. When questions ares submitted, other audience members can upvote them, so the best ones democratically rise to the top. Then, when it's time for Live Q&A, you have your list of top questions right there in front of you.
Pro Tip: Seed some questions from your guest presenter and add them to the Q&A feed yourself, in case the audience is feeling shy, or needs a little inspiration about what questions to ask.
If they’ll be facing a formal seminar, your webinar presenter shouldn’t show up wearing a sweatshirt and hat. This goes back to the point about tone we brought up earlier. They may be a wonderful presenter and even an expert on the topic, but if they’re dressed too casually, this will throw your audience off.
Likewise, if your webinar presenter is going to be talking about a more casual topic or their audience will be made up of people who don’t have a dress code at work, there’s no reason for them to wear a suit and tie or nice dress.
Your presenter probably has enough sense to know this, so you don’t need to make it an overt point, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Just politely tell them what kind of attire you think would be best.
Q&A sessions are so great because they ensure there is a certain level of engagement during a webinar. Otherwise, it can be too easy for people to lose focus or drift off instead of watching your presentation.
There are other ways to engage the audience, though. Therefore, even if you’re not doing a live webinar, make it a point to stress that engagement needs to be a priority.
Your webinar presenter should be saying “you” a lot more than “I” for example. They should look for opportunities to bring up situations and scenarios that their audience will immediately find relatable. Again, this is why knowing about one’s audience plays such a big role in a webinar’s success.
Ask your webinar presenter to either show up early or call you beforehand so you can go over the plan one more time before the webinar begins. This will give you both an opportunity to iron out any details that may still be in your presenter’s head.
The real reason to do this, though, even when your presenter is 100% ready, is simply to make sure the program begins on time.
If they’re coming into your office to do the webinar, they might get stuck in traffic. If they’re doing it remotely, the technology might provide a challenge at the last second. You never want a delay between the time you said a webinar will begin and when it actually does. This is especially true when you’re introducing a guest webinar presenter to your audience.
Speaking of which, your audience should be excited about this new guest. You don’t want them learning about them for the first time when they log in. However, you also don’t want your audience to have vague expectations.
Excitement is a huge advantage to have when presenting a webinar. People will be more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt and ignore small hiccups when they’re full of anticipation.
Of course, this will also help increase attendee enrollment. Long before the webinar goes live (or is otherwise published), start telling your audience why this guest is not to be missed.
This is another tip that isn’t necessarily about preparing your guest webinar presenter but is still crucial.
Unless your guest is a seasoned webinar professional, they might run into nerves when they realize they’re speaking to a large audience. If that happens, will you be able to step in? If they’re doing the webinar remotely and their feed cuts out, do you have a plan for running the webinar?
The likelihood of these things happening is small, but the fallout would be massive. Webinar attendance is already a tough thing to count on. Imagine what would happen to your numbers if your audience remembers that the last time you held one it was a complete bust? Plan accordingly.
Finally, we’re going to close on a common question that gets asked when it comes to inviting a presenter to run your webinar.
Without a doubt, the presenter should get something from it. Otherwise, why would they bother doing it? Unless it’s a friend doing you a favor, they have a job and busy schedule to attend to as well, right?
That doesn’t mean you have to pay them, but it does mean you should be able to give them something in return. Maybe it’s just your large audience. Maybe you’ll be partnering with them on a project in the near future, so increasing their mindshare with your market is important.
That being said, don’t shy away from the idea of paying someone. Once you set a budget, you can broaden your horizons and may be able to choose a really impressive name in your industry simply by paying their bill.
Having a dollar sign attached to the success of this project also ensures the guest presenter takes your webinar seriously. It would be great if you could take for granted that they were going to do this, but money is a nice insurance policy.
Finally, we talked about what you’d do if your presenter falls through or the technology crashes. Similarly, you should have a contingency plan in case the thing goes off without a hitch but simply doesn’t do well with your viewers.
This means having another webinar idea lined up and ready to go. By having one in the chamber you can quickly let your audience know that you’ll be doing one again next week. Doing so will limit the number of them who may detach permanently after a bad experience. You’re moving things right along and limiting the amount of time they have to solidify this new perception of your webinar as a low-quality one.
Bringing in a guest webinar presenter definitely comes with a unique set of challenges, but the result can definitely be worth it. Remember, too, that once you get your first guest webinar in the books, the others are going to be much, much easier.
This article should also help. Follow the above advice and you should be feeling extremely confident about having a guest run your webinar.