One of the projects I work on is to host and manage webinars for my clients. We schedule a series of topics to be broadcasted online with a live audience and access to replay over a six month period for a specific group of people. The entire production took a lot of preparation because there were different speakers involved, graphics to be created, and promotions to be carried out. We worked in teams, which made the project run smoothly from start to finish.
However, if you are working on your own and do not have a big team to work with, you can still host your webinar, with proper planning and time management.
That’s how my husband and I do our webinars for our other consulting business. I learned that whether you work on your own or have just one person working with you or maybe ten, the process is just the same.
Let me share with you how we do it which may help you setup yours.
Step 1-Set goals
Ask yourself, why do you want to host one? This usually reflects on the stage your business is at, whether you are creating awareness, consideration, or influencing decision for your brand.
Are you marketing or selling a product or service?
Are you teaching about specific topics or a series of classes that need to run on different schedules?
For our consulting business, we had a good number of people in our database to whom we wanted to reach out to. These people were attendees in our live workshops and we wanted to give them more learning sessions without disrupting their everyday work routine. Attending a webinar allows them to watch and participate from wherever they are. If the cannot be present at the designated time slot, a webinar recording may be made available to them.
We wanted to do the webinars so we can continuously connect with them and share upcoming trainings we have.
Whatever goals you may have, everything else will follow-from the content to the format and delivery. Think about this well and write them down before signing up for a webinar platform.
Step 2-Create your Content Outline
What would you like to talk about? identify the key points you would like to share with your audience.
According to research and Malcolm Knowles’ theories, adults learn differently than their younger years.
It focuses on the concepts that adults are self-directed and autonomous in the learning process. They are independent learners, are more keen to achieving their goals in their own pace. They reflect and decide on matters based on their life experiences as well and not just on what they have just learned.
When designing your presentations, consider the above-mentioned principles so you can be relevant to them.
Step 3-Decide on your format
There is much temptation to deliver all the items you listed in your content outline because every information you want to share may be important. Consider also how much your listeners can absorb, which would be the basis for your webinar format. Consider also how long your audience can stay with you for the learning session.
Ask the following questions:
•How much time do you want your webinar to be?
•What are key points you want to discuss?
•What are the pressing needs that my audience would benefit advice on?
Usually, one hour of webinar is sufficient to provide relevant information to your audience. If you end before the hour is up, that’s okay. At least your audience could designate an hour of his time for learning with you, and you would have some time to engage with them spontaneously.
It would also be best to divide your webinar into segments so you can maximize each segment and cover relevant content within the time period. A 15 minute interval between segments work well to break the discussion and transition to something new.
You can also include engaging activities such as Q&A, raffle, game and review to complement your prrsentation.
Step 4-Make your Presentation
You can create your slides using keynote or powerpoint, make use of photos, videos, meaningful graphics and sounds in delivering your message. Using your outline, search the appropriate material to best explain them in your presentation.
Make sure you also use royalty free material or use a creative commons license for the ones you will include.
Step 5-Rehearse Delivering Your Presentation
Set aside some alone time to practice delivering the material you created. Make sure it is delivered within your designated webinar schedule to respect both yours and your audience’s time.
Imagine it is already your webinar schedule. Rehearse as if you have a live audience listening. Observe your starts and stops, the flow of ideas you share, and if you meet the timing you set.
This is the time when you can make adjustments to your presentation. Cut down or add key points based on your observation. When your happy with it, finalize your presentation and prepare for your live webinar session.
Step 6-Rehearse your presentation using the webinar platform you are using
One last thing you need to do is to load your presentation in your chosen webinar platform.
If you are doing this on your own, you need to familiarize yourself with navigating the software so you will have a smooth presentation. Practice delivering it using the platform to discover any technical glitches.
From our experience, adding animation and lots of big graphic or video files tend to slow down the presentation. Since webinar platforms use the internet to broadcast, you need to consider your audience’s connection as well. I suggest you load up a PDF file backup in case the original file with all the graphics,animation and audio fail.
Step 7-Webinar Time
This is it! You’ve prepared, finalized and rehearsed. It’s show time. Log in to your webinar platform at least 30 minutes before your schedule and setup everything you need. At the time of your webinar, start even if there are not many attendees yet. This is a good practice for you to instill discipline on hosting your webinar. You and your audience time are precious so make use of it well.
Webinar hosting is easy but needs preparation as well. Once you’ve setup and hosted one, you will get the hang of it and be able to master it through time. Utilize this online tool to reach more of your audience and deliver your content creatively.