I recently delivered my first webinar, something that I had previously resisted. I enjoy the face-to-face element of my work, whether it is a presentation, delivering a workshop, coaching or mentoring. I think understandably I had reservations about how I would transfer my skill of engaging others and retaining their interest without full visual contact.
When I face a challenge, my mantra is prepare, prepare, prepare! So I made sure to cover all bases.
I discovered that my first webinar would be using WebEx, so I had half a day's training from an expert, mainly focusing on the mechanics e.g. loading slides, recording the session, how to mute and unmute delegates, etc. I then had additional training on adapting my training style to suit webinars. Both of these training sessions gave me the confidence to deliver my first webinar.
At the end of the two-hour webinar, I felt euphoric! Most of the delegates participated, and I was able to gauge the needs of the group and create some interaction between them. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I am looking forward to delivering more webinar sessions soon.
In case you're thinking of running a webinar yourself, I thought I'd share some of the challenges I experienced:
- Technical Problems - Although in the introduction you do cover some technical issues, delegates can have problems that you are not in control of at their end, which impacts on their overall experience.
- Location - One delegate was taking part whilst sitting in a local café, which meant there was a lot of background noise when she was speaking to us.
- Engagement - Some delegates do not want to engage, so when you ask a question or ask them to type questions in the chat box, some are reluctant to take part.
- Distractions - Although you ensure that everyone is aware that you are not to be interrupted for the duration of the webinar, sometimes unexpected phone calls or someone accidentally knocking on the door can be distracting.
To avoid some of these teething problems, next time I will be less fazed if delegates have technical problems - it comes with the territory, and I can always send them some notes afterwards. In future, I will also email all of my delegates in advance and encourage them to participate, explaining that the session will work better if everyone engages. Additionally, I will suggest in the same email that delegates watch the session in a quiet environment so that they are not distracted. Lastly, I'll check that my own phone is on silent and put a 'do not disturb' sign up on my office door to remind people that I'm on air.
If you have any hints or tips that you would like to share with me on how to deliver webinars, please do get in touch.