This past week, we were fortunate enough to sit down with Karen Hyder, a CTT+ Trainer, to talk about something we do quite often here at Web Courseworks: webinars. As part of our Managing eLearning Thought Leader Series, Karen spoke about the process to follow for a great webinar.
Karen begins the webinar asking the audience – “What’s wrong with webinars currently?” Here are a few of the responses:
So what will help fix these issues? According to Karen, there are four key areas to focus your preparation on:
Within these four areas, there are certain tasks that you need to complete in order to ensure you are prepared to host a webinar. It’s in these preparations that you can ensure you will engage your audience and have a successful and hiccup-free webinar. Below we have covered some of the pointers and tips that Karen explained.
- Tutorial slides – Have tutorial slides with instructions on setting up the webinar.
- Participation prompts – You should have participation prompts set up on enough slides to keep the audience engaged. These can be polls or questions for them to answer in a chat. The prompts are important to help relieve any ambiguity for the audience.
- Elicit feedback – You should always ask for feedback after every webinar. Make sure when you are asking for feedback, you are asking the right questions. The goal is to receive meaningful feedback by asking good questions based off a strategy of what you want to learn from your audience. (Read more about post-conference evaluations here.)
- Identify roles – Identify roles in managing technology. Who is going to troubleshoot during the webinar? Webinars can have too much technology for the subject matter expert to have to manage with everything else they need to focus on. You should have someone who can be their aid to help troubleshoot and manage the technology while the presenter is giving the webinar.
- Familiarize with the technology – The whole webinar production team needs to familiarize with all of the features of the webinar technology. There are a lot of buttons and different functionalities!
- Bandwidth – Ensure you have enough bandwidth to handle the amount of traffic. This will help avoid glitches and a slow connection from the presenter to the participants. Aren’t sure how to check? Use this link!
- Audio – Double, triple check your audio if you are the presenter. However, this also means to ensure that the audience, if speaking, all understands how to work their audio and webinar tools.
- Presenter comfortable with technology – As the presenter it is important for you to master the webinar technology you will be using. There are a lot of screens you need to use at the same time as you speak. If you are uncomfortable with the software, you’ll have less brainpower to focus on the participants.
- Silence any distractions -This means background noise. Any computer typing, dog barking, honking horns, or lawn mowers, you need to find as quiet of a space as possible.
- Adapt your techniques and create a script – Adapt your in-person classroom techniques to fit a webinar format and create a script so you are using the language that fits presenting a webinar.
- Give prep time – Give the participants time to prepare, especially if they will be required to do something in the webinar. If this is one where the audience will join in for discussions, instruct them on the equipment they will need and how to use it. Give them ample time to do this. No participant wants to feel like they are floundering or having to scramble at the last minute to get something done.
- Apply learning – For a better experience, if you are giving a teaching webinar, have the listeners apply the learning DURING the live session. This will keep the webinar interesting and engaging.
Preparation is the most important part to a webinar, but it is often not done with the care and time required to create a great webinar. Karen suggests three prep sessions before each webinar to ensure for a smooth and engaging webinar.
- Immersion: The first time ensures that the presenter understands the software and feels comfortable giving a webinar.
- Working Meeting: The second session allows them to focus on the content. They now have a good idea of how to run the software, now they can run through their presentation to see how it will flow. Should certain slides have polls added to them? Fine tune moving the presentation from face to face teaching to online.
- Click Through: The third session is to walk through the presentation one more time. A quick click through. This gives everyone a final chance to review what they will be doing at each point of the webinar.
Which steps are you missing?
Download the webinar recording here:
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