Mastering the Modern Webinar: Do’s and Don’ts

July 22, 2016

If you’ve ever been involved in putting on a webinar, you know there is a great deal of preparation involved: preparing content, creating slides, locking down guest speakers, driving attendance, testing the broadcast technology, and more.

If you are lucky enough to be the host or moderator of a live webinar, there is a whole list of other things to consider. I’ve moderated several webinars, or videocasts, as we call them at Blue Jeans, and have learned a few tricks along the way. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to consider if you’re hosting a webinar for your company.

Do collect your talking points beforehand. I like to draft a brief introductory script. This usually includes my welcome message, speaker names/titles, and the key bullet points I need to cover with the audience, including any technical instructions and letting them know how they can obtain a recording of the session after the webinar.

Do test your technology ahead of time. We use Blue Jeans Primetime for our videocasts because it allows us to broadcast to thousands of viewers and enables those viewers to become active, two-way participants over video. We always do a dry run with our speakers before hand to make sure they’re comfortable with the setup. We also use messaging platform HipChat for discreet communication during videocasts so my behind-the-scenes team can feed me agenda changes or questions from the audience in real time without disrupting the event.

Do consider your appearance. Dress appropriately for your audience. Does your audience include upper-level management or executives? Maybe dress things up a bit. Talking to IT admins? Then a more casual style is probably safe. In either case, avoid loud colors or distracting patterns; solid, neutral tones look best on video. And remember to sit up straight and smile!

Don’t over prepare. Although you should know your main talking points, attempting to memorize a script word for word can be dangerous. Live events mean anything can happen, and if you are mentally locked into a script and flow, a last minute change in plans can throw you off your game. Be flexible and prepared to improvise on the fly.

Don’t forget names and titles. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. There is nothing more embarrassing than introducing a valued customer speaker and forgetting his or her title or mispronouncing their last name. Familiarize yourself with everyone on the agenda. Know their names, where they come from and what they do. This will also help you to facilitate and direct questions during Q&A sessions.

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be professional but be human. When you act naturally and speak extemporaneously, it puts everyone else at ease and builds a better connection with your audience members. The conversation becomes more engaging and more productive when everyone can relate to the moderator.

Primetime has features like two-way audience engagement over video, screen sharing, and recording that allow you be strategic about your events and plan them to be a worthwhile and engaging experience that drives results. Click here to try a 14-day free trial.

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