Webinars have become a common practice because of their numerous advantages. Convenience is the most important benefit of all. You can host a webinar in your apartment or in your office and all the attendees do not have to leave their houses too. With a webinar, you can talk to people based in different parts of the world.
Most importantly, webinars save cost of renting a venue, cost of providing the equipment you will need for the seminar, and cost of transportation to the place. These are some of the reasons webinars have come to stay. However, they also have their drawbacks too. Every attendee will be in his own location, coping with numerous distractions. The TV is there, his family members are around and even the PC through which he will listen to you has distractions too. So, to make the best of your webinar, you need to follow the tips outlined below as they are the best practices for driving a webinar.
Know your prospective attendees
You will prepare for your webinar better if you know your attendees. Or at least, have a certain set or category of people in mind. You definitely know the kind of people that will be interested in the information you intend to share at your webinar. They are the people you should target in the publicity of your webinar and they are the people you should prepare for. Using what they can relate to, will pass the messages better.
Early publicity is the key
If you want to have a huge number of people to attend your webinar, then you need to start publicizing it early enough. You should start creating awareness about your webinar not later than a month to the day. The fact that people are aware of the webinar does not mean they will attend. So, you need to give them an idea of what they should expect. This will pique their interest.
A good headline is great but not enough. You must break it down into bullet points. It is not enough to list all the topics that you intend to discuss, you must tie all the topics and the entire webinar to benefits. Let them know what they stand to gain. Let them know the key takeaways from the webinar. For tremendous participation you need two things – early publicity and advertisement of benefits that are worthwhile.
Practice before the day
Don’t assume that everything will be fine. Not all technical glitches can be envisaged. So, you need to rehearse the whole process beforehand. The catch here is to discover potential glitches and hitches and fix them before the day.
You should also practice your speech too. You need to reduce or totally eliminate all the common filler words that people use while speaking. You can only do that by practicing several times before you go live. You may even record your rehearsal for self-appraisal and self-criticism. It will help you work on your weaknesses.
In the alternative, if you don’t have public presentation skills, you may need to get a good speaker to do it for you. You don’t have to be the one to pass the messages. Some people are very good at presentation and people love to listen to them. The idea is to go for the best option that will catch the attention of your audience and hold on to it all through the duration of the webinar.
A recent study revealed that about 25 percent of webinar attendees access the webinar through their mobile devices. So, you need to make provisions for those that will attend through their mobile devices too.
Choose the right day and time
If your prospective attendees are not retirees, why choose a weekday? Even if you fix it for 7p.m, they will be tired by then. After all, they just go back from work and they need to rest. The best time for a webinar is a Saturday Evening or Sunday afternoon. By Sunday evening, they will be preparing for Monday.
Get an assistant
Even after several rehearsals, some things can still go wrong when you go live. This is why you should get a standby assistant who will be in charge of that while you concentrate on your webinar. You can’t simply handle the technical aspects of your webinar when you go live. Three-minute silence could make you lose your audience.
Make your webinar very brief
The average human attention span is about 10 to 20 minutes so your webinar should not be longer than that since you can’t even see the reaction of your audiences. You need to make it brief, precise, and concise. You may have the attention of all the participants at the beginning but it is difficult to hold on to it. So, you need to make it engaging and interactive. You need to include some mini challenges, impromptu tasks and a question and answer session.
Another way to hold your audience spellbound is to play a relevant but an interesting video. Humor is a good idea but humor has a flip side. If your jokes are funny, you will retain their attention but if they are not funny, you will make things even worse. Most importantly, make your webinar brief. If what you want to discuss cannot fit into a 20-minute window, you might as well break the webinar into a series.
Maintain a one-on-one conversational tone
Make the message personal. Address your audience like you are talking to just one person. Never underestimate the power of the “you” word. In reality, you are actually discussing with just one person since every one of them are in different locations. Instead of saying something like “I hope you guys understand”, it will resonate deeper if you say “I hope you understand”.
Support your opinions with verifiable facts
Just like in writing articles, in hosting a webinar, you also need to support your beliefs, opinions, and arguments with verifiable facts from credible sources. This gives your audience an impression that you spent so many hours on research. That way you will be boosting your credibility.
Send a summary of what you shared
There are people who may have planned to attend but missed out for one reason or the other. Besides, those that attended may also need to refer any of the information later. So, it is better to repackage all the information that you shared and send it to all the attendees and those that registered but didn’t attend. It will be useful to all of them.
In summary, if applied properly, the tips outlined above will help you make the best of any webinar as they are some of the best practices for driving a webinar.