12 Tips for Hosting a Successful Training Webinar
Training webinars are becoming more common than they once were. The internet has created a place where geographic boundaries no longer matter. Businesses can bring employees from all over the globe together into one virtual classroom or conference. The following tips will help you get the most out of this popular LMS feature.
Webinar Hosting Tip 1: Plan a Test Run before Your Webinar
Few things are as frustrating as having your equipment or connection fail when you try to start a webinar. A good way to reduce the chances of malfunctions is to plan at least one test run prior to your online class.
If this is your first time hosting a webinar, then plan a test run well in advance in case you need to obtain replacement equipment or components. It’s also a good idea to perform a second test run with any replaced parts and a follow up just before the webinar to ensure that nothing has changed.
Webinar Hosting Tip 2: Pay Attention to Audio As Well As Video
Many people think about the visual aspect of a webinar and forget that audio is just as important. Your audience needs to be able to hear you well to absorb the information you are imparting on them. Poor sound quality and intrusive background noise can be an annoyance to those listening.
Built-in laptop or computer microphones are not recommended. Always use an external mic. If you plan to have multiple speakers in the room, you can also try a high-quality speakerphone.
Webinar Hosting Tip 3: Have a Technical Assistant Available
When things go wrong, it helps to have a dedicated person there to figure out what’s happening and fix it as quickly as possible. You cannot take on the role of tech support while delivering a webinar. Make sure your assistant understands how the equipment and software works so they are prepared to make adjustments on the fly if needed.
Webinar Hosting Tip 4: Practice Delivering the Content
Technology is only part of the successful webinar equation. You must also be ready to deliver the content. The only way to do that is to practice. Try the traditional approach by going over your dialogue and notes alone. Listen to your voice as you deliver each sentence and make sure it sounds natural and clear. Avoid verbal crutches like “um.” Your words should flow smoothly and you should sound confident and friendly.
You can also use a mirror to watch your body language and facial expressions. The more familiar you are with the material, the better your delivery will be when you do it live.
Webinar Hosting Tip 5: Be Concise & Watch Your Pace
It can be very difficult to step outside of yourself and see how you are performing. Remember to avoid dragging out concepts and to pace your dialogue so it’s concise but not too fast. Your audience needs to have time to digest what you’re giving to them, but they should not become bored in the meantime. If you aren’t certain about your pacing, have someone listen to a practice session to provide feedback on how you sound to someone in the audience.
Webinar Hosting Tip 6: Use Relevant Visual Aids
Visual aids are essential to a good webinar. Some LMS systems may offer tools to build graphs and charts or access to third party programs that do the same. Make sure your visual aids are relevant to the section you’re covering at that moment.
The average audience has an attention span of around 10 minutes. When your audience is online, that time limit decreases significantly. You’ll be competing with their smartphones, additional browsers, and other devices that have access to the vast internet. Make sure they are focused on you by giving them something worth looking at while they listen. Slide text should be short and only use a few bullet points on the screen at a time.
Webinar Hosting Tip 7: Open the Webinar with a Narrative
Stories are a great way to introduce yourself and make a point. Try using a narrative to open up your webinar. It’s an elegant way to begin the session and engage your audience. Share a personal experience related to what you’re doing or how you came to host the webinar.
The story should be personal and brief, ideally with a few suspenseful elements. End strong before diving into the webinar content. Smiling while you share your story is a good way to elevate your voice and build enthusiasm in your audience.
Webinar Hosting Tip 8: Apply Humor Where Appropriate
Humor can be a powerful tool, as long as you use it wisely. Never use off color or questionable comedy with a professional audience. If you aren’t sure about a bit or comment, don’t use it. The humor should be short and sweet to keep the audience interested. It can also help maintain a positive atmosphere that will make your webinar more memorable.
Webinar Hosting Tip 9: Use a One-on-One Conversational Tone
You will probably know how many people you are actually speaking to during your webinar. Whether you’re hosting three people or 300, always use a conversational tone. Speak as though you are having a one-on-one conversation during the webinar. Don’t let the size of the audience intimidate you. Create an experience that makes each person listening feel as though you are speaking directly to them.
Webinar Hosting Tip 10: Use “You” When Addressing Your Audience
Along with a conversational tone, also remember to address your audience as “you.” This makes it easier to know how to deliver the content when speaking to the audience and it maintains that one-on-one experience for those in attendance.
Webinar Hosting Tip 11: Add Varied Content & Interactive Opportunities
Keep things interesting by incorporating varied content into your webinar. Add in photos, video, audio clips, and more wherever appropriate. Also include interactive elements like questions directed to the audience or mini challenges. Take a survey of the audience, ask them to complete an activity, or do something else that makes them feel like they are participating in the webinar. This will also help pull the audience away from the temptation of social media, games, or their favorite websites which may be accessible during the event.
Webinar Hosting Tip 12: Create a Professional Scene with Proper Lighting
You want to leave a good impression on your audience, and that starts with a professional scene and proper lighting. Position yourself in front of a solid background. Wear clothing that will contrast the background color. Solid garments are preferred over prints and patterns. For example, if your background is white, consider wearing a black shirt.
Use natural lighting and avoid glare by applying matte powder to your face as needed. Anti-glare glasses are also helpful because they prevent reflections and allow the audience to see your eyes during the webinar. Position your camera to create the illusion of good eye contact (even though you cannot see everyone’s eyes).
Webinars have become a big part of eLearning in today’s internet-focused business world. This valuable technology has nearly limitless possibilities and comes standard with many LMS platforms.