In this second part we continue with more confessions from our anonymous webinar presenter. Having heard about nerves, preparation and omissions in part 1, we now turn to the practical side of running webinars. Do you identify with some of these? Read on to find out:
If you’ve read part 1, welcome back for more. I hope I was able to alleviate some of your concerns and lighten up some of your own experiences and pitfalls. But there are more confessions. Let’s get stuck into the nuts and bolts of running webinars and what can go wrong for webinar presenters.
I confess - Sometimes I seed questions
Depending on the topic or the audience you can get very few questions during a webinar. It may also be down to you not encouraging the audience enough. I have made the mistake of rattling through my presentation without asking the audience for their input, questions or remarks. Either way, you might want to prepare a couple of questions in advance. These should be questions that you’d expect the audience to ask anyway, but you can seed them in if the audience hasn’t submitted them.
My advice: Don’t make it too obvious that these are questions that were prepared by you. You shouldn’t use this opportunity to pitch an answer that’s too salesy. By subtle about that. Prepare both the question and the answer and if you are preparing the question for someone else (e.g. a fellow presenter) make sure they know about it and that they know the answer to the question. Continue to encourage the audience to ask questions. Having seeded some of your own may break the ice for others to ask theirs, so keep an eye on the Q&A interface of your webinar.
I confess - Sometimes I pre-record
I have pre-recorded a webinar for a variety of reasons. My reasons included not being available on the planned live date, having a new presentation that I wasn’t confident enough to deliver live, and using new technology that had not been tested properly in a live setting before. When things go wrong on a pre-recorded webinar you have the luxury of doing it again.
My advice: Pre-recording a webinar doesn’t mean it automatically becomes an on-demand webinar. Whatever the reason is for you, you can make use of simulive webinars to prerecord your presentation, meaning it goes live on a pre-determined date and time and streams as if it was live. It does come with some restrictions, such as not being able to discuss results from live polls, but you have to decide for yourself whether this outweighs the benefits. Take a look at our “Ultimate guide to picking the right type of webinar” Not all webinars are created equal for more info.
I confess - Sometimes I need help
There have been times and webinars when I needed help running and recording the webinar. When I say “help” I mean anything from getting someone to print the backup slides last minute or get me a glass of water, to helping run the webinar (press start and stop live etc) or even picking the best questions for the Q&A session and help answer technical questions when attendees struggle accessing the webinar. It can be a bit overwhelming when you are responsible for the entire delivery of the webinar, from running the back-end (and remembering to press the “live” button!), to delivering the live presentation, followed by the live Q&A. Add to that a new presentation topic or a traffic jam on the way to the office and you can look like a rabbit caught in the headlights.
My advice: Pick a couple of reliable colleagues who can be at hand before and during a live webinar. Show them what is involved (they don’t have to be experts) with running a webinar and tell them in advance what you may need help with (and how to do it) when time is short or something unexpected happens. Make them aware when the webinar is due to take place and ask them to be on stand-by during that time.
Some of these points make it sound like a webinar presenter is a bit of an eccentric, diva or narcissist. I’m not, and no doubt you’re not either, but the live element of a webinar makes it a top priority to get right. Everyone involved with the webinar has to respect the live time and if that means helping the presenter with something menial then so be it.
There are other confessions that I can’t share here, but perhaps you have some of your own? Why don’t you leave them in the comments below and perhaps that will help someone else reading this post.
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