Having attended and hosted a number of webinars in recent weeks, I’ve developed a number of suggestions on how to host a webinar successfully.
This is an abbreviated list. I’m focusing on some of the mechanical or logistical aspects of the webinar. For a more thorough discussion, see “Create a successful webinar.”
1. Test the webinar platform, even if you’ve used that webinar service before. Deliver a short, say three-minute, test webinar. Essentially a dry run, it gives you the chance to familiarize yourself with the features. Watch the recording. Are any changes or corrections needed?
I use Anymeeting.com, and felt up until recently that I knew it pretty well. Anymeeting changed some facets late last year. As I was preparing for a webinar in January, I realized the changes affected how the program worked. It took me several tests to become acclimated to the changes. Give yourself time to become comfortable with the platform before hosting a webinar.
2. Speak clearly. As with any presentation, you want to be understood. You may need to slow down and enunciate words thoroughly. Use vocal variety for proper effect and to keep from putting your attendees to sleep.
2.A. Don’t move outside the range of your microphone. I recommend using a headset. If you use a microphone, make sure you know what it’s working range is. It’s very annoying for the audience when the presenter’s voice drops off.
3. Engage your audience. Ask the group before you begin what they’re looking to get out of the webinar. At various times during the webinar, stop and ask for feedback or questions. Pose questions of your own. The more engaging you are, the more successful your webinar will be.
4. If you bring an attendee on the line, ask the person to turn down his speakers. If he doesn’t, the conversation is picked up by the person’s microphone, which is then broadcast. The result is an annoying echo-like sound in the background.
5. Keep your cool if something goes wrong. Continue talking as you work to resolve the matter. Brace yourself for the possibility of a technical glitch. If one hits, you’ll be less likely to panic.
6. Record your webinar. Post a link to the recording on a Web page, and announce it via social media channels.
Hosting a webinar is a relatively easy matter, and helps establish you as a leader and authority. Commit to hosting webinars on a regular basis, and see your business and communication skills blossom.
If you got some value from this column, I’d appreciate it if you passed it along. Feel free to leave a comment about your webinar experiences.
For related reading, see “More tips for an effective presentation.”