Have you ever facilitated a webinar and developed ‘stage fright’? or encountered technical glitches where there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel? On the other hand, are you about to facilitate your first ever webinar but haven’t a clue on what, why’s and how’s? As we know, webinars are live events - technology can be unpredictable…not to mention your audience! When facilitating your own live session, it is very easy for something so minor to go wrong, however, following our Civil Service College step-by-step webinar guide we can help you make it go right!
Choosing your theme
Stuck for new ideas and banging your head against a wall? Or are you one of the lucky ones with creative and innovative topic ideas up your sleeve? Either way, it is up to you to deliver a theme you are completely comfortable with, but ultimately will benefit your audience. Be sure to propose a webinar title and description that makes sense to not just you, but your viewers too!
Get comfortable with your technology
Make sure that you feel confident with the digital platform that you are using. Give yourself plenty of time to familiarise yourself with the technical functions well in advance of your live event. Plan test runs to ensure that you are completely comfortable navigating and using the platforms functions to the best of its ability and ensure the smooth running of your session!
Preparation is key
Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse again! If this is your fist time delivering a webinar, we understand how daunting it can be. Be sure to schedule in as many practice-runs to bring you up to a comfortable level. On the day of your event, give yourself at least one hour to set yourself up – check your audio and video functions and ensure that your presentation material is uploaded on to your screen.
Top tip! Perhaps have a second back up device ready to use in case of any technical glitches!
Attract your viewers' attention
They say the average human attention span is 8 seconds, use this time wisely! It’s important to grab your audience’s attention from the outset. Remember, participants will be joining you from around the world, so it’s not just what you say but how you say it. Remember to greet your audience with enthusiasm and zest!
You may not see the audience, but they can certainly see you! Body language say’s a lot about someone’s presenting skills – check your sitting and posture position and remember…. smile!
Engage your audience
Interacting with your audience is imperative, it makes them feel involved and valued! Always encourage maximum participation and engagement in your session so that your audience can share their thoughts and comments on what is being discussed. Although they may not have access to their microphones, be sure to draw them in by asking them questions and urging them to use the Q&A and chat box function throughout.
Bounce off one another!
You may not have to take the stage alone! If you are collaborating with another organisation, you may want to enquire about having an additional person to help introduce your session. Why don’t you use their presence to make your session more engaging? Having someone else assist you on the webinar, may help encourage engagement from the audience, assist with any tasks, ask YOU questions, and they’ll be ready to take on any questions you may want to ask them!
Depending on what platform you use and the format you go for, it may mean that the only way the audience can only communicate with you is via the Q&A and chat function, so it’s important for you to monitor and give direction to the discussion.
Be sure that your multi-task when delivering your material by proactively answering any questions the audience may have and keeping a close eye on the chat box.
Refer to people by their name so that they feel included in your session and if you can’t answer their question on the spot, remember there is time for Q&A at the end!
Be explicit about what you are planning to talk about or demonstrate next. Sometimes it can be difficult for people to pick up on subtle hints, so it’s useful to guide viewers by saying things like ‘We are now going to…’ or ‘Next we are….’.
Create an interactive environment
Be sure to involve short intervals of interaction every so often, we don’t want viewers falling asleep on their keyboard! Try and use a range of visual materials to keep the audience engaged and interested (colour, photos, videos, audio, case studies and anecdotes, group tasks and Q&A)
Glass of water at the ready and breathe! This is not an audition! Try to make your webinar session an easy and laid-back environment. Try not to use a script or read directly from your slides as this can come across as ‘wooden’ and think of your session as ‘conversation with’ rather than ‘presenting at’.
Make a lasting impression!
Following the above steps will hopefully result in a smooth and successful webinar journey and will ultimately leave a lasting impression on your viewers. You may even be asked to collaborate with other organisations again in the future or even recruit a fan club audience!