Not long ago I was a webinar newbie. It’s amazing how much you can learn about a new pursuit in a short amount of time!
If you are new to hosting webinars or maybe are considering adding them to your platform in the near future here are some tips to help you get going a little faster!
Tip #1 Join a webinar FB group
Whichever platform you use for hosting your webinars on – join that Facebook group. For example, I use WebinarJam and EverWebinar and they have a support and advice group for members to ask questions in. This group is incredibly wonderful and the veterans are always friendly and willing to help newbies out with technical questions, marketing and launching and overall support. Plus, this is a great way to network with other professionals who also do webinars – think potential collaborators down the road.
Tip #2 Over Prepare
This doesn’t mean aim for perfection. It does mean that you need to walk through your webinar a few times before you go live. This lets you practice your verbal presentation, walk through any slides or videos you are using, and spot potential hick ups and fix them. Things like checking your audio, your registration links, the sign up flow into the webinar, and having your chat room inserts ready to roll are important to do before you go live.
Most webinar services have test run options (WebinarJam does!) so you can practice as many times as you want. Practicing also helps you make sure your Google Hangouts and YouTube accounts are all set up properly.
Walk through your presentation a few times, enough times for you know that your set up is good to go.
Tip #3 Print It Out
Print out the transcript of your presentation and also your Power Point slides if you have them. That way if you get lost or lose focus during your presentation you can quickly spot where you are in your presentation.
After your webinar you can also download and print out the chatroom conversation which gives wonderful insight into what participants are thinking about, struggling with and loving about your presentation!
Tip #4 It is Okay to Pre-Record
Yes, it is! There are times when life happens and it comes in handy. For example, I had my webinar date and all relating registration stuff set for a specific date, a few weeks in advance. Three days before the webinar I learned we could be in the middle of a blizzard when my webinar was to be live! So I pre-recorded my webinar presentation just in case my kids had a late start or snow day with no school. Not only did we get hit by winter weather, but my kids didn’t have school. I could still be live in the chat room interacting with participants but they didn’t have to hear my 4 year old talking about her need to go #2 or them dancing along to Dance Party Wii. To top it off, I had a slight cold so my voice was good and scratchy.
It is important to be honest with your participants and let them know if you are using pre-recorded content. It is NOT okay to state that your webinar will be entirely live if it isn’t.
A bonus for using some pre-recorded content? You get practice making videos, uploading them and inserting them into your webinar.
Tip #5 Professionalism is Important!
While it vital that you are authentic in your presentation, you don’t have to be a perfect speaker, but you do need to be professional! If you are using video or slides in your webinar make sure they work correctly and look clean.
For example – I spent an entire month dealing with slides that would not show up correctly in my webinars. While I kept researching trying to fix the issue and asking for help from other webinar hosts I did not let my not-so professional looking slides keep me from giving good presentations. However, I didn’t let the issue continue without being fixed either. Videos and slides that aren’t working correctly DO take AWAY from the professionalism participants see you in.
So if and when you experience technical issues – address them and keep working at fixing them until they are fixed. This doesn’t mean cancel your webinar! Every time we show up and do our best we provide ourselves opportunities to learn, grow and do better next time. If you experience an issue with your webinar just take a moment to let your participants know you are aware of the issue and are working on getting it fixed.
Tip # 6 You don’t have to upsell
Gasp! Yes, it is true you do not in any way have to upsell another product or service at the end of your webinar. In fact, this practice is starting to turn many current and potential clients away from big names because they spend upwards of 20 minutes talking about an upsell product in every webinar they do.
Getting started in a new platform is scary enough for most and the thought of having to sell too makes many great presenters hesitant to begin. If this is you, stay focused on your content and let it sell you.
If your content is great, people WILL take a few minutes of their day to go check out your website, follow you on social media and see what else you offer. They will.
On the other hand, you have a business to run and you want to make money too. A middle ground option is to briefly mention your upsell program at the end (like 5 minutes or less talking about it) or simply invite and redirect participants to your homepage or a webpage listing several examples of what you offer. You can invite people to join your email list if they liked what you presented. You can choose to do upsells in every other webinar or one out of every three. The choice is yours, just be respectful of your participants with whichever route you go.
Tip #7 Stay Focused
Stay focused on why you created this presentation, the purpose behind it and the impact you want to have on those participating. When you are lined up with your purpose and are passionate about what you are presenting you will have natural confidence. Keep your presentation on your topic and try not to get sidetracked with random chatter. When you go off on tangents, that is when you tend to get lost in your presentation. (Again why Tip # 3 is handy.)
The key to confidence is knowing why you are wanting to provide this content for others to benefit from and keeping your presentation in line with its content.
Tip #8 Just GO for it!
There is no amount of preparation or practice that guarantees a successful webinar. While practicing does help you learn how to make adjustments to issues and get your presentation flowing nicely, you never know what will actually happen in the live webinar.
So you have to just GO for it. Allow yourself to be a beginner and to be human. There are mute buttons and ways to turn the camera off if something happens like a big sneeze or your dog barks or people can’t hear you. You will stumble here and there, it is normal!
When you believe in what you are doing, the why behind it and in the content you are providing, you will do just fine!
Success requires us to leap at times in order to rise up to the next level.
Tip #9 Follow the end of webinar procedures.
It is a good idea to print off or have at hand the how to end your webinar tutorial guides. Different platforms may have different steps to take.
If you use Google Hangouts you will need to stop broadcasting, however until you hang up (the red phone) your chat is still live. This is a great time to answer any last questions, give redirection to another site or service and interact with your participants.
There are also steps to take in order to download your chatroom transcripts, to get your YT video link and so on.
Tip #10 Visit Your G+ and YT Page
When you do a webinar with Google Hangouts it automatically shares it on your G+ page! Same with your YouTube account. Even if your webinar is free, you may not want to publicly share your presentation with everyone. So you will need to go in and delete it from your G+ page and change the YT settings for it to private or unlisted. (Follow the steps in the tutorial for the platform you are using.)
This is especially important if you are going to charge for your webinars!
There you have it. 10 good tips to help your first webinars go more smoothly.
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