7 Tips For Hosting a Successful Webinar
Since much of the workforce went remote in 2020, webinars became a critical method of communicating with employees, customers, partners, and clients. They made it possible to answer questions and provide information to large audiences without the need for in-person events, with no constraints on space and location. So it makes sense that as in-person events and office work continues to make a comeback that webinars are still a useful tool for product demonstrations, brand messaging, and community building.
Here are our tips for hosting a successful webinar, including audience engagement, interesting content, and no dreaded technical difficulties.
1) Use the right equipment
Technology is the basis of a webinar, and using the right equipment will set you on the path to success. We recommend springing for an external microphone and camera instead of using the one that came with your computer. Most standard computer’s built-in microphones won’t have the crisp, clear audio quality you want in order to present in a professional manner. We’re also big fans of the backup gear: keep a backup computer and spare batteries, cables, and a spare headset nearby in case of equipment failure. It’s not a bad idea to print copies of the slides in case you lose your screen on your end. That way, you’ll be able to continue presenting without on-screen notes.
2) Tech run-throughs are critical
Just as it’s important to practice your own presentation, practicing with the presentation system is key as well. This means understanding the hardware as well as the software and making sure that when the time comes to present, the show runs smoothly. Check all connections and make sure you’re on the right settings if you’re using external microphones and cameras. They should all be ready to connect with cables organized and systems in place. Check all connections, including your broadcasting platform. Understand how the webinar system works, and practice a few times so you know how to troubleshoot if something goes wrong.
3) Practice your presentation!
This probably goes without saying, but presenting fluidly and effortlessly will help with audience engagement, and will help get your message across. You want to seem friendly, professional, and enthusiastic without being stiff or wooden, so keep it flexible and don’t be afraid to add some humor in. This means knowing your material and the flow of your presentation inside and out, so you can go with the flow on the day of the actual presentation. You don’t have to memorize it, but run through it as many times as you think you need leading up to the webinar to ensure confidence.
4) Engage your audience
Engaging your audience will result in better responses from attendees, so don’t be afraid to break script and ask for feedback, send out polls (depending on the platform) and initiate interaction. We recommend engaging your audience at least every five slides, and leaving plenty of time at the end for questions and reactions.
5) Vary your content
Use videos, images, stories, and real-life anecdotes to keep the energy up and people’s attention spans activated. Having a dynamic presentation means more than an hour of the same type of messaging, so starting off with a story, question, or funny anecdote and then continuing to deliver a variety of content will keep people paying attention.
6) Have an on-hand technical assistant.
While we all hope our webinars go off without a hitch, sometimes technology is not our friend. Having a technical assistant on site with you will allow you to continue delivering content while the tech wizard can make things right, whether you lost audio, video, or something disrupted the slide presentation.
7) Follow up with attendees
After you’re finished, we recommend following up with attendees, whether that’s sending them a thank-you email for joining, a short poll, or a polite request for feedback. You can also send out a separate email to people who weren’t able to attend with the link to the recording. Lastly, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open and make sure to mention action items and next steps. Let them know you’d love to continue working with them, and offer ways to stay up to date with your company or organization.