If you are about to host a webinar for the first time, you are probably dealing with a bad case of nerves. Though a webinar is broadcast over the internet, but that doesn’t make it any less daunting than standing up in front of people and giving a presentation.
Even though you can’t see them, you know they are out there, waiting for you to impart wisdom like a monk on a Bangladesh mountaintop. With that in mind, here are some absolutely essential things that you should (and shouldn’t) do on your very first webinar.
DO conduct a dress rehearsal. Have a friend, family member or colleague sit through your webinar presentation and write down anything that went wrong or needs to be improved. Also, it would be helpful to know when they were bored so you can spice things up.
DO have a tech expert on standby on webinar day. Just because everything went right on the tech side on the dress rehearsal doesn’t mean it will when you actually present your webinar. In fact, it probably won’t.
NOTE: You can solve this by choosing a webinar platform that offers customer service with your session.
DO remind your participants (and then remind them again). People are forgetful and some of them will forget until the very last minute.
DO spend five minutes explaining how the webinar will work. Talk about how people can ask questions; explain if there will be a recording that they can review and anything else they need to know.
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DO dress for success. Maybe young Steve Jobs could get away with dressing in jeans in a t-shirt, with bare feet propped up on his desk, but you need to dress like you are presenting a grant proposal for funds you really need.
DO set up your lighting, camera, backdrop and audio properly. Make sure that you aren’t washed out or in shadow, that your backdrop is neutral and consistent (not your untidy living room), that your camera angles are good and that your mic is positioned properly.
DON’T record your webinar on the same machine you are presenting on. You’ll probably have lag problems and sometimes this can result in lost audio, video or other elements.
DON’T use low-budget equipment. If you are using a cheap microphone and webcam your presentation will have a much less perceived value to your participants.