Webinar Best Practices

Having an online event isn’t really much different from having an in person event. Each has concerns about technology, and a lot of planning and preparation to ensure that the event is successful. Don’t assume that just because your event is virtual that there is less planning involved in terms of presentations and the information you will impart to the attendees. In fact, your information needs to be that much more interesting and compelling because the attendees aren’t captive audiences, they can simply “click out” and go back to playing Farmville.

Platform — What technology do you need to give the event properly? Make a list of the functionality that you want the technology to have. Do you need to present PowerPoint slides, do you need to share your screen? Do you want the technology to record the session? What should guests be able to do?

Agenda — Along with the other speakers and JV partners create an agenda for the event just like you would for an in person event. The content that each presenter has should somehow tie together and be cohesive and relevant to your target audience.

Practice — Make sure that all speakers and participants practice using the technology and do a run through of the event to ensure for best results during the live event. It is important to educate the participants about the technology. This is also a good time to get volunteers to act as attendees. Ask for feedback and refine based on the feedback from everyone.

Presenters — For each presenter and speaker, you should be able to answer the questions:

  • Who are they?
  • What do they offer your target audience?
  • When do they speak or present during the event?
  • Where will they be, and do they have the right technology so that they’ll sound good and everything works well?
  • Why is this person perfect to speak or present at your event?

All presenters should be given some guidelines about their presentation so that they don’t go off course toward being too “salesy”. Giving each speaker an outline to fill in to give to you before the event can help target them toward appropriate material.

Attendees — Don’t forget to greet guests just like you would at a live event. Make sure to explain to the attendees how the technology works, and what to expect during the virtual event. Having interaction during a live virtual event is imperative to the success of the event. If people are bored, they’ll just click out and go back to watching television.

Handouts –  Provide PDFs of the agenda, and other information to attendees so they have something to look at before coming to the event and during the event. Make sure any visuals are pleasing to the eye, and make sense.

Follow up — Arguably, one of the most important parts of the event, don’t forget to send recordings and follow up information to the attendees, give a small bonus to those who showed up live. This is especially good to do for those who did not show up to the event, they should know what they missed, and be able to watch later if they paid for it, but be envious of the bonus. Next time they won’t miss your live event.


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