The quality of every webinar varies. Some are dazzling, distinguished by the quality of the content, solid preparation of the presenter, clarity of the message, and the comprehensibility of the information provided.
Bad webinars, on the other hand, are prepared in a sloppy manner in which expectations don’t meet reality. One of the most common mistakes is showing up unprepared, unconvincing, and not promoting the webinar enough to reach the correct number of participants.
In addition, technical problems can easily lead to a webinar being classified as a failure. Thanks to them, you might not attract customers but push them away instead.
However, you can effectively prevent such mistakes by following a few simple, yet practical tips that we will provide you with here. In this blog post, we will share best practices to make your actual webinar a hit rather than a failure.
Best practices for webinars
Best practices are all about taking the time to research what you plan to do and finding the best way to achieve that. Getting everything to run smoothly starts with establishing your own best practices, which can change as new solutions are invented, technology develops, or better understanding of a topic is gained.
Below are some best practices we have found to work for our customers. You can apply them when preparing and running your own webinars to make them stand out from the crowd and leave your recipients feeling satisfied that they took the time to join, encouraging them to stay with you until the very end.
#1 Plan ahead - know what you want to say and how you want to present it
Have you ever taken action toward accomplishing a goal without a plan in mind or written down? Have you achieved any measurable results, or did you feel lost and confused - repeating in your mind, "I wish I had thought about that" or "Why didn’t I plan it first?"
In such cases, the results can be abysmal.
To perform well in public, avoid situations like these and always prepare your webinar programs in advance. If you don't, your business and your position in the market may also be negatively affected.
Being aware of the webinar content and following the designated points will allow you to keep the message clear. By preparing a webinar strategy, you can avoid repeating yourself, uttering nonsensical sentences, or stuttering while speaking on a given topic. Creating successful webinars starts with solid preparation.
Don't write the entire script for yourself when preparing your speaking plan. Leave some space for spontaneity and ad-hoc discussions, which are essential if you want to organize high-quality webinars. However, draw up an outline that points out all of the most critical issues you want to raise.
Use bullet points so that you have something to lean on. Preferably, read up well about the topic you are going to talk about. Then, during the meeting, try to stick to the plan.
Remember that, sometimes, you must be flexible when conducting a meeting and some points may need to be modified. Do not be afraid of this. Adjusting to the requirements of the moment can bring greater benefits than rigidly following a predetermined meeting schedule.
When preparing your outline, do not forget to list the most important points so that you always have them in mind. Also, practice what you will present several times before hosting any webinar. This will make you feel more confident and comfortable during the speech and thus help you to host effective webinars.
#2 Make sure your internet connection is strong and stable
The webinar revolution is in full swing.
In a world where many people work remotely and cannot travel or attend mass gatherings as often as they would like, webinars are the perfect way to get the training, education, and networking you need.
But what if something goes wrong? Even with the best webinar platform, problems can occasionally occur. And there is nothing worse than watching a webinar full of glitches.
It is, therefore, essential to ensure that your internet connection is solid and stable. If not, it is best to reschedule the time or date of the webinar or try to find an alternative option to help you host a compelling webinar rather than a technical failure.
#3 Test your audio and video beforehand
If you have already made sure your internet is working before connecting, do not forget to check other devices such as the microphone and the camera. It is good practice to create a test meeting in advance for someone you can rely on and check with them if your hardware passes the test.
Sometimes it is enough to put on additional headphones so that your participants can hear you well. The audio and video quality will play a significant role in your audience's reception of your webinar.
It is also essential that the background for your meeting is not distracting. Therefore, if you know some sounds may distract the participants (e.g. background noises) or something might make them look away (e.g., at your cat) instead of actively participating in the discussion, get ready to prevent them.
Conduct a meeting from a quiet place, preferably with a solid background behind it. You can also use additional facilities such as virtual backgrounds that offer many tools for conducting meetings.
#4 Keep your slides simple and easy to follow
During an online presentation, you should prepare captivating slides. Putting your existing slides from live presentations into your webinar will not work.
Keep in mind that your webinar audience is likely to be more easily distracted and have a shorter attention span than in the traditional environment. If you want to keep your slides interesting for the virtual format, you should make the following edits:
- Increase the number of slides. Take the information that may have been on one slide for a live presentation and spread it out over two or four slides for your webinar. By changing slides frequently, you will hold the attention of your audience.
- Don't put too much on each slide. You should only have 1-2 key points per slide. This will make it easier for your audience to focus and identify the important information faster.
- Ensure that bullet points are used and the font size is at least 20 - 24. As a result, you will have clean, simple, and easy-to-follow slides highlighting your key points.
#5 Be aware of your body language and facial expressions
Maintaining and combining a consistent tone with your body language and facial expressions is vital if you want to conduct a powerful webinar
The human face can express countless emotions without saying a word. Your viewers will undoubtedly recognize the facial expressions of happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, and fear. Do not show any signs of stress, and remain neutral during your webinar.
You must also pay attention to your body language when communicating. Nonverbal communication occurs through physical behavior, expressions, and mannerisms, often instinctively rather than consciously.
#6 Engage with participants throughout the webinar
There are many ways to keep your audience engaged while hosting webinars, so let's discuss the most helpful ones. One of the most popular ways is incorporating poll questions. They're an excellent way to keep viewers interested during your webinar and ensure that they interact with your presentation.
For example, to start, you can pose questions such as "Where are you from?" and "What industry do you work in?”, etc. This would be a great warm-up and an excellent way to break the ice
Next, more questions. Preparing Q&A sessions is also beneficial. During your webinar presentation, you should periodically pause to ask and answer questions in order to keep your viewers engaged. Adding a variety of content forms to your webinar also helps viewers pay attention.
Most of your information should be presented orally rather than on a screen. Having too many slides can result in two problems: viewers will read all of the text and zone out before you even get to present or they will get overwhelmed by the amount of information and not listen.
Make your audience think and keep them busy. Let the participants know that you're on the webinar to interact with them. Including discussion groups and interactive experiences can also boost the mood of a conversation.
#7 Get to know your webinar platform inside and out
Take a moment to consider the goals of your webinar. Then to make the most of your presentations, check if your webinar platform offers a wide range of options. Preparing for your performance is easier if you know about all of the possibilities.
Using a robust platform like LiveWebinar, you should be able to mix audio, video, chat, and presentations. Ideally, it should integrate with Slack, Zapier, MailChimp, and GetResponse, among others. Unlimited customization options and easy browser access should also be available for your convenience.
#8 Use a headset or microphone for optimal sound quality
You can improve the quality of your voice while hosting webinars by choosing the right microphone. Good hardware can enhance certain aspects of your speech, such as the prominence of specific frequencies, tone, color, and voice clarity.
On the other hand, your microphone will then be more likely to pick up sounds from your speakers, which can cause an echo that others may hear. Thus, wearing headphones would be a good way to avoid this, although it may not be the most comfortable.
#9 Promote your webinar ahead of time and send reminders to attendees
To encourage as many people as possible to participate in your webinar, you need to develop a method of promotion in advance. For instance, you can advertise your webinar via email - one of the most effective ways is to use an email list and send invitations to your clients, then remind them before the upcoming event.
You can also ask your target group to send you back confirmation emails, which will help you estimate the attendance numbers. Social media channels are another powerful tool that can be used to promote webinars effectively.
Also schedule your meeting time cleverly - the timing of webinars can either attract or dissuade attendees. Your webinar is less likely to be attended if it is held in the early morning, during working hours, or late at night. Consider a time when your target audience is most eager to participate.
Nevertheless, promoting your webinar too early or too late can be problematic. Those interested may forget about it if you start with promotion too early. On the other hand, people may not have time to attend if you leave it until the last minute. Thus, promoting the webinar at least one and a half weeks before your online event may be the most effective timing. Make sure to design certificates online and send to your attendees afterwards.
#10 Keep things moving during the webinar - no long pauses!
It is okay to take short pauses, but make sure your quick break does not turn into a tense silence. Avoid repetitive language and keep the atmosphere lively during webinars. You can use jokes to relieve tension when the atmosphere is thick
Most importantly of all, don't worry and don't stress. You are the host of the meeting, and it's up to you what it will look like.
Common webinar mistakes
Now that we've covered the best webinar practices, let's move on to the topic of some pitfalls you might encounter and the mistakes that are most frequently made.
#1 Showing up unprepared
Unpreparedness can easily cause you to get distracted or misled during your webinar.
While distractions can occur beyond your control, you can decide how prepared you will be. First, prepare an outline for your webinar, practice it for yourself and with a friend, and research the topic thoroughly. A better understanding of your webinar topic will allow you to better prepare for it.
As a result of being unprepared and nervous, repetitive language often occurs. It's crucial to avoid repeating yourself as much as possible because this suggests that you do not know what you're talking about or understand what you're presenting. Referring to points is fine, but reiterating the same issues constantly will lose your audience's attention.
#2 Not promoting the webinar enough
Strike while the iron is hot!
Remember to promote your webinar actively in the run-up. First, read up on how to create a good webinar marketing plan. Then start the promotion as fast as you can; do not leave it for the last moment.
In order to gather a sufficient number of attendees, webinar registrations are required. However, while getting webinar attendees to register is great, you can't just assume they'll show up on time. That’s why you need to send reminders before and on the day of the webinar.
Regardless of how great a speaker you are or how innovative your ideas are, webinars are only successful if they have an audience.
#3 Not having a clear goal or purpose for the webinar
A webinar's objectives should be clearly defined from the very beginning, so be sure to identify them before you begin organizing it. There are too many people who ignore this necessity.
In that case, all the information may still be covered but it most often appears disorganized and the webinar's main points are lost.
#4 Focusing too much on selling and not enough on providing value
Some people focus too much on increasing their sales during webinars, i.e. increasing the demand for a product or service rather than on the topic they chose. A participant who notices the problem might leave the meeting when this happens.
Webinars can be useful promotional tools, yet misusing them for marketing purposes can be counterproductive. People come to webinars to learn something, not to watch a 50/60-minute ad spot.
#5 Not creating a strong call to action
Viewers won't follow through if your call to action (CTA) is weak, so you need to use a compelling one to motivate your audience to get involved. Reasonable CTAs range from "start watching for free" to "get a discount now", etc.
However, they only work when used strategically towards the end of your webinar. This can only happen once you've delivered value and gained the audience's trust. Then it is high time to include a clear CTA.
#6 Having poor audio or video quality
Your business' perception as a professional can be adversely affected by poor audio and video quality. Unfortunately, it often happens during webinars that we hear background noise or see distractions like family members walking through the room. Unprofessional behavior like this should be avoided.
#7 Talking too much or not enough
It is a common mistake for webinar hosts to fail to respect their audience's time. This can lead to the participants becoming irritated. Ensure to start and end your webinar on time so you don't run into this issue.
Apart from that, the duration of your webinar should be taken into consideration. The maximum time you should spend on a single presentation should be 45-60 minutes.
During this time, do not speak too much or repeat yourself so as not to bore the viewers. Instead, try to convey the message clearly and understandably so that your audience can get the most out of the webinar.
#8 Technology failures
Technological failures may occur at any time, but this is often because the host does not know their software well. When hosting a webinar, make sure that you are always prepared for the slight possibility that something could go wrong - but through your own fault. Organize additional equipment to work on, and be prepared to postpone the meeting if a complete failure occurs.
In a few words of conclusion
Regardless of its goals or topic, a well-planned webinar has a much better chance of success than an unorganized one. Applying the good practices we have shared with you today will help you avoid making the most common mistakes when preparing webinars.
Thanks to this, your viewers will be satisfied with participating in your events and will definitely come back to you in the future. So, why not give this advice a shot and prepare a new webinar right away?