4 Tips for hosting a great webinar

4 Tips for hosting a great webinar

  • Plan and Practice

Who is this webinar for and what’s it all about? With your audience and the content in mind what will be the best format? A face-to-face interview, a collaborative gathering, or a slide presentation?

What’s your title and hook? Make it catchy, fun, and specific so that someone from your target audience will want to attend. If you have so much content you could talk for hours then steady on, maybe plan out a series of webinars rather than pack everything into a marathon session that will lose engagement as time drags on. The webinar space is more crowded than ever, keeping your sessions short and sharp and leaving your audience wanting to come back for more is the best outcome.

Before going live to a real audience, you need to put in some time talking to yourself at your computer and recording it in your Personal Meeting Room. It feels a little crazy at first, but it’s valuable practice and enables you to watch yourself and tweak your performance for the big day. This is also a great opportunity to test out and listen back to your audio, as well as seeing how you and your background look on camera.

Next, move on to testing sessions with real people, not your real audience but friends, family and colleagues to check with them how things are coming across. The last piece is a test-run with any guest presenters or panellists, you need to log into a session with them to make sure everything is working and go over how things are going to run on the day.

 

  • Keep it simple

Set the meeting up as you’d like it i.e. participants muted on entry. This way you aren’t fiddling around with settings after you login.

Have a host/facilitator AND a presenter. It’s hard to go solo, both facilitating and presenting in the same meeting – one minute you are watching the chat box and re-muting Dave and the next you have to be on your presentation game. It’s much easier to leave the techy stuff and chat box to one person, and the presenting to another.

Only share 1 file. Have your presentation open, minimised and ready to go. And while you’re at it close any programs and tabs you don’t need for the webinar, again don’t be fiddling around trying to find stuff once you are live.

Resize large images and take out transitions between slides. This helps them load quickly and smoothly.

On the day login early (10-15 minutes), test your equipment and have backups handy. Start recording (or auto-record) straight away so you don’t forget. Start your presentation on time and stick to time!

Stay calm and remember to smile. It’s a live situation, things often go a little wrong, just be prepared to deal with them quickly and calmly to get back on track. Turn off your mic and camera if you need to call for assistance, take a breath and then come back. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

 

  • No death by PowerPoint

 

Title/hook. Make it quirky or fun, stand out from the crowd.

Content and housekeeping.  

A very brief bio or even just your job title. Don’t share your life story, these are valuable minutes!

Webinars are visual. On the screen, in your face. Use lots of images rather than text to show your audience around. If you have text, don’t read it word-for-word, let it complement what you’re saying. Update your presentation, use Canva or get professional help if you need, but it needs to look good. In travel and tourism, we are lucky to have access to beautiful images to do the educating and selling for us. Use brand libraries of tourism boards (sticking to the rules of course).

Be you. Of course be a happy, animated version of you, but be authentic. Also include some personal insights, experiences or anecdotes to personalise your content a little.

Itinerary examples. It’s all very well to ‘sell’ someone on the idea of visiting a destination but what does a package look like, how many days do they need etc.

Call-to-action. In normal words, ‘what next?’ What do you want your audience to do – visit your website/sign up for your mailing list/join a program? You need to ask them specifically and not just throw up your website and social links on your last slide for fun.

Interact. This can be done via Q&A, polls or a quiz slide at the end, the latter being a nice way to distribute any prizes on offer.

 

  • Edit. Upload

Not all who register will come to a live webinar, so make sure you record your live sessions. You can either share them straight from your webinar software or download them as videos (MP4 files). I do a basic edit, cutting out the pre-and post-presentation chat so that the video is as clean and short as possible.

MP4 files are pretty large so the best way to store and share is on a video hosting channel i.e. youtube or Vimeo. Once uploaded to the channel you will get a unique URL you can share. Alternatively, you can copy the embed code if you want to display it as a video on your website. Voila!

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