Webinars can help you to accelerate your business growth, build closer relationships with your current clientele and elevate your professional profile. Webinars are an evolution of blogging, where you have an opportunity to provide information and educate your clients, but live interaction allows you to take your client relations to a whole new level. Let’s have a look at how you can improve the quality of your webinars and provide a more progressive service.
Are Webinars Right For Your Audience?
It is important that you evaluate whether webinars really are the right kind of medium for your business and your clients. In the same way that you might want to assess the difference in effectiveness between print and online marketing, a webinar will only be effective if it is the right tool for your audience. Webinars afford interactivity and engagement, but they are best suited for businesses that want to show and explain information in more detail. If you aren’t sure or can’t make your mind up, think about running a survey or evaluation to ask people directly if they would find a webinar beneficial or not.
Do All The Training
Before you get started be sure to go through each step, either using video tutorials or by reading the instruction manual. Write your own script or speech so there is consistency and flow in your session, but also make some allowance for ad hoc things that might come up. Consider what kind of questions might come up from your audience so you are prepared.
Recruit A Team To Work With
Working with a co-presenter or team helps you to create a more professional webinar. Collaboration adds depth and gives you a point of interest in your webinars. Doubling up also gives you a way to handle any problems should they arise. If you encounter a technical problem it is important that the show goes on and you have a chance to address the problem as quickly as possible. Tech Soup explains how you might consider integrating other people and roles into your webinars:
Once you’ve decided that a webinar is the right tool for you, you’ll need to assemble a team of staff members or volunteers to help you run it. In general, there are three main players in a webinar: the organizer/facilitator, the presenter or presenters, and assistants. You might fill all three of these roles yourself, you might assign them to three different people, or you might need more than three.
Make Sure You Do Your Testing Properly
Preparation is key for things to run smoothly. As the host of the webinar you should ensure that everything is correctly prepared and that the chances of something going wrong are minimized. Copyblogger runs through some of the checks and balances that should be put in place prior to going live on air:
Check everyone’s audio, and ask your panelists to use headsets to eliminate echoes and tinny-sounding presentations. Make sure your slides work smoothly. If you’ll be switching presenters, make sure your panelists can advance the slides or show their demonstrations.
But also remember that being prepared can only get you so far. Even if you are prepared there is a chance that something (or two) will go wrong. Entrepreneur.com recommends that you do actually work around the premise that something will go wrong when you are on air, and provides the following advice:
Run on the assumption that some issue will arise — someone’s screen will freeze, they won’t be able to hear, the slideshow won’t work, the entry or exit chimes won’t turn off, or your co-presenter’s computer will fry mid-presentation (these have all happened to me). Take a minute to try to resolve it, but if you can’t, apologize and move on.
Don’t Use A Phone To Handle Your Audio
To do a quality webinar you should use the right equipment, which means that phones (smart or not) are out of bounds.
The number one rule to live by is to never use a speakerphone or cell phone to deliver your presentation. Speakerphones pick up noises such as rustling papers and squeaking chairs. Cell phones are prone to audio dropouts, fuzzy and have inconsistent volume levels. Investing in a high quality headset is ideal for presenters who will be doing many presentations.
If you would like more mobility, a headset will ensure you can get up and move around without losing any quality or clarity. Sitting in one place could make your voice become monotonous but moving around can energize it and make your presentation much more interesting.
Keep Things Concise
The fewer points you cover, the more detail you can go into about each one. If you try and address too many elements you could lose your audience or run the risk of being too superficial. Ideally, you should be selective with the number of topics you want to discuss so that you can provide more depth on each topic or subject.
Also if you can keep things open-ended you give viewers a reason to tune into the next live session. You also want to keep some secrecy and continuity going, and revealing everything takes away a reason for your viewers to tune in next time.
Remember To Leave Time For Questions
In the same way that people surf the net and read blogs in search of information, users participate in webinars to have their questions answered. If the webinar runs over time it will run into your question and answer session (another good reason to run through a test session before you go live on air). Most experts recommend at least 10 to 20 minutes for providing feedback.
The differentiating factor between a good webinar and a great webinar is making it interactive and personal. If you do not allow enough time for questions and feedback then you might as well write blog articles, or find another medium through which to convey information so rather use the medium for what it is intended.