Best Practices When Running A Live Webinar – Part 1
More and more people these days are running live webcasts, for many reasons e.g. to raise awareness of products and services, or to provide much needed training to customers or employees.
In Oracle I have seen a huge growth in what we call Live Virtual Classes and over the last 18 months I have started using this as a way to offer training and development services to employees. In my next two Bloggertone posts I want to share with you some of the things I’ve learned when running live webcasts.
In Part 1, I will cover some things that you should do when planning and communicating your session. I will also share some of the things that you should do in the hours and minutes leading up to the start of the session.
Planning and Communication
- Use a registration system to capture the details of the people who are interested in attending the webcast. This way you will not only have their details for future follow-up but you will also get an idea of your percentage of attendees vs registers.
- Send out “Save the Date” communication as early as possible. Attach a universal calendar file so people can update their personal calendars.
- Test the web conferencing technology in advance to make sure it works and that you are comfortable with it.
- Clearly communicate the goals and objectives of the session.
- Have all communications come from the same person, to avoid confusion.
- Remove anyone who has cancelled their attendance from future communications.
- The day before the session send out a reminder. Make this interesting so you can catch people’s attention and make them feel it’s a worthwhile investment of their time.
- Use your email auto-reply in the days running up to the session to give information to people who are having difficulty and attempt to contact you via email.
- Plan for a blend of instruction and participation. A 40% instruction, 60% participation split is usually good.
- Have a backup plan in the event of technology failure. For example:
- send a colleague copies of the slides in the event that your Internet Access goes down.
- if doing a life demo of an application have some backup screenshots, just incase there is an issue with the application on the day.
- If there are multiple presenters make sure you have an overall facilitator who controls the proceedings.
At the Start of the Webcast
- If you are using a call conference system make sure you turn off any entrance notifications, so that late comers don’t interrupt the flow.
- Have a “walk in slide” with a question or pictures displayed so that you engaging people while they are waiting for the session to start.
- It goes without saying but always start on time.
- Sometimes you will have a mix of people who are familiar with the web conferencing technology and those who are not. Rather than wasting 5 minutes at the start explaining how the tool works, consider inviting new users a few minutes early to get some orientation.
- Reboot your computer prior to delivery of the session. While not mandatory it helps to close down any open files and applications that you don’t need.
- Have your machine and content ready at least 30 minutes in advance. Check all connections, open all documents, load any polling questions, open whiteboards.
I hope you find these hints and tips useful. What do you think of them?
In Part 2 I will share some of my thoughts on what you should do during the session and afterwards.