How to set up for a webinar, keep participants engaged, deal with setbacks, and follow up afterward.
In 10 Steps for Planning a Successful Webinar, we showed you how to design and prepare for a quality webinar. Now the big day has arrived. Here are the steps you can take on the day of your webinar to ensure its success, as well as follow-up steps you can take to learn from your experience.
Even if you've held a dry run, it's important to set up your workspace and check in with your presenters early on the day of the webinar. You should have your webinar equipment ready to go at least 30 minutes before the webinar is scheduled to begin, and your presenters should log in at least 15 minutes in advance to avoid any last-minute glitches.
Once everyone is logged on, you'll want to
Once the webinar begins, many things will be happening at once. You, as organizer, need to be leading the discussion, introducing speakers, and keeping participants engaged. Ideally you will be able to rely on your webinar assistants to deal with participants who have technical issues. (For an overview of webinar roles and responsibilities, see TechSoup's 10 Steps for Planning a Successful Webinar.)
To keep participants engaged and the webinar on track, you should
Sometimes things go wrong. Your presenter may cancel, or you may have technical problems.
If your presenter cancels at the last minute, and he or she doesn't have a backup, your options are limited unless you know the topic well enough to talk about it yourself. Thankfully, cancellations are rare since sick presenters can call in from home, and many presenters have colleagues they can call on as last-minute replacements.
Even the best and most stable webinar tools occasionally do have technical problems. You or your presenters could also experience network connectivity problems, a power outage, or other issues that prevent you from hosting the webinar.
If you do need to cancel the webinar for any reason, your webinar software (or your event-registration software) should let you email the list of participants. Apologize for the cancellation and let participants know if and when the event will be rescheduled. If you charged a fee to attend the webinar, explain the refund process, if applicable.
Just because the webinar is over doesn't mean that your work has ended. Here are some things you may want to do after the webinar.
This article was originally written by Chris Peters and Kami Griffiths. It was updated in 2016 by Ariel Gilbert-Knight.
Image: Linh Do / CC BY
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