How to Host a Successful Webinar
The global switchover to remote work and education during the COVID-19 Pandemic has resulted in a rapid increase, and interest, in videoconferencing and webinar software. Webinars have quickly become one of the most effective modes of online communications for professionals who are eager to continue learning and networking from home. After conducting countless webinars for clients during this time, I have found these tips and information especially helpful in hosting a successful webinar.
1. Pick a Reputable Webinar Platform
Choosing a webinar platform that you can trust and rely on is crucial. Some of the platforms I have used are GoToWebinar, WebEx, and Zoom webinar, but there are countless other options out there. When narrowing down which platform you might want to use, think about what features you are going to use the most, and which are most important for the types of webinars you will be holding.
2. Decide on Your Webinar Format
Based on the webinar topic, there are a few formats you can use. Some of the most popular webinar formats are: Single Expert Presenter, Dual Presenters, Panel, or Q&A Style. If you plan on hosting regular webinars, switching up formats can also help attendees stay engaged and interested.
3. Do a Dry Run
At some point before the day of the live event, get everyone together to do a dry run using the selected webinar platform. It is also important to have everyone logging in from the location and the computer they plan to be using for the live event. This way you can all get equated with the software, and make sure the technology is working correctly. On the day of the live event, it is also helpful to have the speakers join in early. That way if any technical issues occur, you can get those taken care of before the start time.
4. Use the Right Equipment
Try to use the best equipment you can for your webinars. Instead of relying on the built-in microphones on your computer, use a headset or a landline phone to ensure the best audio quality. Printing out a copy of the slides will keep you prepared in case you encounter any technical issues. Make sure to use this equipment during the dry run as well, to practice using it, and to double check everything is working.
5. Engage Your Audience
Having your webinar be interactive is a good way to keep attendees engaged. Make sure to save time at the end of the presentation to answer audience questions. Most webinar platforms will also have features such as polling questions or live chat to add even more audience participation.
While Webinars are not the same as in person events, they are a highly effective way to communicate in-depth information, while utilizing an engaging virtual format. Following these tips and having an experienced team to help plan and run your webinars will make sure your webinars are a success.
Emily Clifford serves as the Communications Coordinator for several of McKenna Management's clients with a variety of web, print, and social media communications needs. While completing her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration with concentrations in Marketing & Graphic Design at Merrimack College, Emily worked as a Marketing Communications Intern in the association management field. She also brings a variety of communications and design experience from internships and as the Design Editor of her college's newspaper to the McKenna Management team.