Webinars – 10 Tips for Wonderful Webinars

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1 ) Scheduling is important. The best time for a webinar seems to be Tuesday’s between 9AM and 1PM. This allows everyone to be fresh. Monday is the beginning of the workweek, so people deal with all their beginning-of-the-week stuff. Friday afternoons are terrible because people mentally are out the door. 9AM allows people time to get in and check voice and e-mail messages. Ending by 1PM allows people to still get a reasonable lunch. After lunch, people get tired and attentions dip.

2) Have a backup speaker. What if your presenter has laryngitis or gets sick?

3) Have a backup computer and impromptu Q & A content. What if the presenter’s computer dies?

4) Have a backup phone line. What if the conference call line has an issue?

5) Prepare for spontaneous conversation. Sometimes you need conversation starters in your back pocket for lulls in content. Here are some examples:

  •  Why do you say that?
  • Where else might this apply?
  • What if X, Y, or Z were different?
  • Are there any side effects to this idea that have not been considered?
  • Does this topic touch any other related topics we need to think about?
  • What is the potential cost related to this idea?
  • Can you provide some practical applications for this content?

6 ) Things will go wrong – plan for it.

  • Create a virtual simulation – Make a list of all the potential things that could go wrong and write them on note cards. During your rehearsal, pull a new card every five minutes and deal with that issue.
  • Time your rehearsal. Expect the actual event to run anywhere between 20-40% longer. There will be interruptions and technical issues.
  • Rehearse three days before. This allows you time to find errors or issues, deal with them, and rehearse again.

7) Get yourself a partner. Two choices are either a producer or a sidekick. Producers are there to guide the activity. They can offer you hand signals, coaching, and cues when you need them. If you have a guest speaker, you can act as their producer. Sidekicks are a second personality that has a speaking role. It breaks up the monotony of a single presenter and one can answer chat-based questions while the other speaks.

8) Stand when you present. This allows you to move around as you speak. It also allows you to breathe properly. As you move, you can gesture. This will make you sound more animated to your listeners.

9) Get your work area in order.

  • If you have access to a headset, use it. It will remain a consistent distance from your mouth, thus reducing variations in your audio.
  • If you have a second computer (or a mobile device) you should log into the session as a learner. This allows you to see what they are seeing. Sometimes it is different than what you see.
  • Get a countdown timer. This allows you to be constantly aware of your time. This can either be a physical timer that sits on your desk or it can be a software-driven timer that lives on your desktop. It just needs to be visible.

10) Avoid one-way lectures. If this is what you need to offer, look for a different delivery method. You are better off pre-recording the event and letting people view it on their own schedule.

BONUS TIP

 Know when to use webinars.

  • Use them to accomplish one or two learning objectives. These objectives can have a few sub-objectives.
  • Use them if you have a limited audience.  This will keep your attendee list smaller.
  • Use them to teach learners HOW to learn a subject independently. In the session, you can define the subject and terminology, as well as the structure of the content. You can then share with your learners where and how they find more information on the topic.
  • Use them to convey incremental knowledge. This type of presentation is for learners who are already familiar with the basics of a topic. Learners need to have enough prior knowledge to apply any new information you will present to them. In this type of session, you can convey new discoveries, present new resources, refine the students’ knowledge, or offer up new announcements around the topic.

Do you have any other tips you would like to share? Together, let’s all work to make our webinars better!

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One Response to “Webinars – 10 Tips for Wonderful Webinars”

  1. JD Dillon (@JD_Dillon) Says:

    All great tips! I would also add that presenters should facilitate continued learning and not limit sharing and discussion to the event itself. I like to tie webinar presentations to additional resources, such as Twitter feeds (hashtags), blogs, and related readings/events. This way, people with interest in the subject can continue the discussion before, during, and after the event and enhance the overall participant value. JD

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