Seven and Seven: Tips for Running Effective Webinars

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Just as a good Webinar is an effective advertising tool, a poorly run one can sabotage a marketer's message. What follow are seven tips on maximizing the opportunities hosting a Webinar presents, as well as seven recommendations those hosting live sessions should bear in mind. The tips and suggestions have been adapted from several articles found on the EffectiveMeetings.com Web site.

Seven Tips for Making the Most of Webinars

1. A well-run Webcast begins before it begins. Roughly 20 minutes before the event start, a host should provide music to allow viewers to check that they are receiving sound. The host should also provide a rotating series of slides. Suggested slides include ones reaffirming when the Webinar will start, thanking viewers for their attendance, reminding them to check for sound, informing them how to submit questions (if applicable) and providing a few overview slides that tease the program's content. Remember to include the names of presenters, and to mention any additional programs (such as e-mail, spreadsheets or instant messaging) viewers may need to have running.

2. Hit the ground running. Minimize the introduction time to under two minutes – WELL under two minutes, if possible.

3. Be on the lookout for glitches, and prepare to adjust on the fly. If there is a lag between the time a presenter clicks a button to advance a slide and the slide changing on screen, advance the slide a little sooner than originally anticipated.

4. A presenter should see what the viewers see. This means setting up two computers – one that the presenter controls (used for advancing sides, for instance) and one that is logged into the Webinar much in the way any other registrant would be. This lets the presenter see whether there is a difference between what he sees (slow slides, fuzzy images) and what viewers see.

5. Be aware that PowerPoint presentations that have been converted to HTML can result in huge files, which are slower to broadcast, especially to viewers who are not using industrial-strength Internet connections.

6. Send follow-ups to all registrants. Build the relationship with those viewing your content by sending them a roundup of the question-and-answer period, or supplementary information, a chance to re-view – or pass along – the content or even just a bread-and-butter note thanking them for their viewership. If there was a significant dropoff during the Webinar, a follow-up survey can ask about technical difficulties – or problems with the material presented.

7. Offer the viewers a chance to opt in to receive updates about future Webinars. People who have self-selected to sit in on a Web-based presentation are willing to receive information through this channel. Don't leave their rediscover of your additional offerings to chance.

Seven Visual Tips for Live Presentations

1. The presenter should be framed from the waist up, with an extra 10% of the picture above his or her head.

2. Do not shuffle papers, or tap anything against anything else, anywhere near the microphone.

3. Keep curtains and blinds closed.

4. Don't wear the same colors as the background.

5. Avoid stripes, plaids and red. Blue shirts, blouses and blazers look best.

6. Limit hand gestures, coughing, finger drumming and side conversations.

7. Be wary of clocks in the background. They're distracting.

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