How to Create a Webinar
If you have an audience eager to listen to you and something worthwhile to say, a webinar may be in order. Similar to a seminar, a webinar is a forum hosted online. It is a virtual meeting where you and a group of like-minded individuals come together to learn and exchange ideas. Creating your own webinar is easier than you may think. There are many online services that simplify the process so that all you will need to do is plug in your microphone or hook up your Web camera and speak.
Things You'll Need
- Webinar software
Choose a webinar software program. One of the most important factors to consider is the software's ability to be accessed by different types of computers. Not all of your audience will use PCs. Some will use Macs, and some may use Linux or other systems. Its accessibility will greatly determine your webinar's success. GoToWebinar and Webex are two popular webinar programs.
Prepare your video, slides and presentation notes. The way to elevate your webinar above a simple phone conference is through visual reference. Use your videos and slides to dazzle your audience. Spend time weeks ahead of your webinar to search for relevant images. Avoid the common-clip-art trap. Use sites like Flickr or Stock.Xchng to find fresh images.
Invite your audience. It is a good idea to send out a mass email to all interested parties weeks in advance, especially for larger webinars. You want to make sure that your audience members have a clear schedule for your time slot. Also be sure to follow up with a reminder email on the date of the event. Many webinar programs have this function built in so that you only need to a click a few buttons.
Focus on content. Your content is the highlight of any webinar. Be sure to be organized and thorough with the information you plan to share. Consider your audience's knowledge of the subject. You do not want to waste their time threading over elementary information if they are more advanced.
Interact with your audience. Remember that, like a seminar, a webinar is not a static, one-sided lecture. Include in your webinar a time for "Questions and Answers" with the audience. Some webinar programs offer the option for the audience to dial into the conference using voice over internet (VOIP). Other programs offer real-time chat that you can read while conducting your seminar. You may also be interested in providing your audience with real-time polls.
Keep your timing. It is a good rule of thumb to start your webinar two minutes after your official start time. This waiting period provides any lagging members of your audience enough time to sign on. Be sure to keep each of your webinar sessions under the hour mark. Although you may have a lot of information to share, it's a good idea to break up your content across several blocks of time. This gives your audience time to take a break and recollect themselves. An overload of information will only drag down your webinar.
Follow up with information via email. If your webinar program allows you to record the webinar, be sure to use this option. Recording your webinar will allow others to view or review it at a later time. You may be able to email the information or post it on your website for easy download.
Tips & Warnings
- Consider using the trial version of a webinar program before making the full purchase. Avoid committing yourself before you use it.