It’s about more than spotlighting on a video call.
We’ve loved seeing more webinars being organised – people across industries taking advantage of technology to share information and build connections. There’s something we don’t love about the current webinar experience though and that’s the practicalities of them.
We’ve all been making do with group video calling options and they’ve done a great job of allowing us to share information, have fun and stay connected. What they don’t do so well is engagement or interactivity – the things that make their in-person counterparts so awesome.
With that in mind we want to share some tried and tested solutions for making your webinar so much more than one person talking or, worse, a boring set of slides with a voiceover!
A great virtual events platform will include engagement options for your audience
- Chat – for public discussions or private conversations with other attendees.
- Twitter integration – to bring the event buzz to social media and vice versa through an event hashtag.
- Q&A – to ask public or private questions, with an upvoting system so the most popular questions get answered.
- Polls – to allow the audience to give immediate responses to speaker’s questions.
- Handouts – to share downloadable resources.
If you’ve found that audience engagement has been a struggle at your webinars, try bringing in some of these tools to increase interaction. As event planner Sharon Summers mentioned in her reflections on switching to virtual events, your audience are likely multi-tasking while attending your virtual event so bringing them into the conversation is especially important to ensure they come away having had a memorable experience.
Not all speakers are created equal and you may find that the ones you’ve worked with before don’t command a group call the way they do a room. Making sure your speakers are either experienced in the virtual space or offering some extra support to them with practice runs and advice will prevent those awkward talks which nobody wants to sit through.
“The plenary room with speakers and panelists was great and well received.”
If you’re hosting hybrid events, work to capture the atmosphere around your in-person speaker so those joining online are swept along by it. The buzz of the crowd and the vibe of the space can translate beautifully to the digital space with the right camera angles, kit and know how. Our friends at DHP have a great article on exactly this.
Prep your tech!
We’ve all been there – the webcam isn’t working, somebody can’t unmute themselves, the slides aren’t showing or your loved one leaves the cat filter on and you can’t remove it. Technical problems happen and some can’t be avoided but with a practice run and some preparation, many can be.
- Ensure everything is fully charged.
- Check your WiFi signal and find the location with the strongest signal.
- Start all the apps you intend to use in advance to check they run on the equipment you intend to use.
- Make sure all the apps are up to date with the latest patches installed.
- Familiarise yourself with the layout of the apps and equipment you will be using – check the manuals or online instructions if you need to.
- Turn off notifications or put your device on do not disturb.
- Have a test run using the exact set up you intend to use on the day – make sure you have someone join as an attendee to check everything is working from their side too.
Test runs also increase your confidence making it far more likely that things will run smoothly on the day so don’t skip them.
Don’t forget the replay crowd.
One of the benefits of virtual events is that your attendees can enjoy the experience whether they show up live or they come later so don’t forget that when hosting your webinar.
If you’re using an experience first events platform like TrueEvents, all the audience participation tools will be available to replay viewers too, meaning they can still ask questions, respond to polls and be involved in the discussion. If your replay won’t have those tools available, make sure you consider what replay viewers will be able to see and do while you’re presenting so they don’t feel like they’re getting a second rate experience just because they couldn’t make it live.
Whatever tools or platforms you choose to host your webinar, we want you to think bigger. Start with the idea, the vibe you want people to feel at your event, and then use the incredible technology at your disposal to bring it to life. You don’t need to settle for good enough anymore.