Tips for Hosting a Killer Webinar

Many webinars are nothing more than online frontal sound: The speaker sits with headset in his office – in the background, the Yucca palm tree and the bulging bookshelf to emphasize the expertise. The webinar starts and after a few minutes of solitary monologue, the first participants nod or answer the e-mail that has just arrived. No trace of interaction. That does not have to be.

We’ll give you 14 tips on how to make your webinar a high-quality event that keeps attendees alert from start to finish.

1. Do you know the software from the bottom up?
Nothing is worse than unforeseen events in which you lose control of your webinar: the presentation is gone, the participants complain about picture and sound dropouts, the video is not played. Become so familiar with webinar software that you can quickly respond to these issues. Because usually the error is user-related and can be avoided by a good preparation and dress rehearsal.

2. Get help!
Especially the men know this: While you speak, the focus is on your own presentation and everything that happens in the chat, is unfortunately hidden. This is completely normal and only a few people manage to keep an eye on both in order to be able to respond promptly to any questions they may have. With an additional moderator eg technical questions can be answered immediately in the chat. Or content-related questions are collected by the moderator and forwarded to you. Good webinar solutions provide a moderator area that only you and your colleague will see. Just throw your eye on this area, because your colleague will deposit the quintessence from the chat there.

3. Welcome the participants and prepare them!
Most participants come to your webinar out of curiosity and are relatively untrained in dealing with it. To begin with, briefly explain the options that are available to your visitors: that they can connect and join in discussions with a headset. That they can share their screen or webcam. That they can always engage in discussions in the chat. Also, do not forget to give a rough roadmap for your webinar (duration, content, goals).

4. Bridge waiting time
Most participants arrive in the classroom a few minutes before the start of the webinar. To bridge this waiting time, it is advisable to install small gimmicks that keep the participants happy. This is about the personal greeting (via chat or VoIP) or accompanying elevator music, small countdowns or entertaining games. If it is not already part of the webinar, you can also poll in advance by poll or vote. From which city the participants come, but everyone likes to answer and is an optimal introduction to the discussion round.

5. Use a sensible media mix!
Simple show in a webinar
Most webinars are based on the same principle: There are dröge PowerPoint lectures held, then there is at best a discussion round and the hour is over. Why not use the webcam or screen sharing capabilities to entertain your visitors? Use the possibility of annotations (sparingly!): With encirclements, arrows and symbols, you can highlight elements live on your slides. Integrate whiteboards to visualize issues. Do not be afraid to activate a second webcam with which, for example, you can tell a picture story.

6. Be interactive!
You know this from “normal” lectures: The room is darkened, the presentation begins and after a few seconds you fall into a twilight state. This is similar in webinars. It sends a new mail in the mailbox, the Twitter stream flushed new tweets or you have to look urgently, what the new breaking news on SPIEGEL online includes. That’s how many participants are.

Their job is to keep them happy and to follow their explanations carefully. There are several methods for doing this: grab the information from the webinar start, target your participants, or switch (gently!) Between different layouts and talk to them (“I’ll switch views now and visualize with you.”) , It is also a good idea to get the participants to ask questions – either via polls (announce before!) Or via voice messages via the headset.

If necessary, it is even worthwhile to place a “Trojan Horse” out of its own ranks, which encourages discussion.

7. Switch off all unnecessary programs!
Update or mail notifications pop up. Computing-intensive office or image processing programs run in the background. All potential sources that can disturb the webinar. Away with it! Restart your computer before the webinar and leave out any unnecessary programs that are running in the background.

8. Care about screen sharing!
Nothing is more embarrassing than a shared screen that shows company or private information. Uncheck the bookmarks bar of your browser, clear the browsing history, close messenger windows and your mail client.

9. Do not save on technology!
Probably the most important thing to organize a successful webinar is investing in good technology. Say goodbye to the 10-euro headset from the Grabbing Table and spend your money on high-quality hardware equipment. The auditorium will definitely thank you.

10. Create atmosphere!
Interactive training session liveIt was mentioned at the beginning: The obligatory yucca palm in front of terracotta-colored woodchip is still a popular background of numerous webinar webcams. End with amateur look! Create a good room atmosphere and remove unnecessary from the background. Probably nobody will admire you, because the collected works of Schulmeister or Kerres vegetate in the bookshelf. Create a pleasant, but sufficiently bright lighting mood with as calm a background as possible.

11. No experiments!
Conduct your webinar the way you did in advance. No experiments. No spontaneous trial. You would like to have a participant speak, but do not know how to set the microphone rights? Let it. You want to switch between different webcams, but have not tried it before? Let it.

12. Do not get involved in discussions!
Discussions and word contributions are wonderful. If you have managed to have a participant volunteer and talk to you, you can be congratulated, because that does not happen often. Be grateful, but do not remain in dialogue. Either you involve the other participants or summarize briefly: Nobody would like to listen to extravagant contributions in which the protagonists are virtually discussing the bubble. It quickly says: Oh, a new e-mail!

13. A clear call-to-action!
The webinar is nearing the end. but how does it continue? Do not let your participants guess about how to get more information or what to do next if you are interested. Show clearly what possibilities exist. Maybe you also offer a give-away?

14. Good follow-up is everything!
After the webinar is before the webinar. Use your webinar as a cliffhanger for the following. Announce the next appointment at the end of the event and give your participants the opportunity to sign up for it. That’s not enough. Provided you have contact facilities, you will provide your participants with the recording of the webinar and other materials from the presentation – and, of course, to point out the next webinar.

By the way, in the article “6 things you should never do in a webinar “, we tell you how not to do it .

As you can see, many supposed little things are necessary to make a webinar exciting and successful. Try it out the next time or have a look at an edutrainment webinar . There you will find current dates and registration options.