How to Host a Successful Webinar

A Superior Alternative to the Traditional Conference?

Webinars, or web based conferences, are becoming more and more popular in the UK and are now considered to be one of the most effective methods of marketing, communication and education.

Webinars offer a convenience that traditional conferencing does not and allows organisers to reach audiences that they would struggle to connect with otherwise, either due to physical distance or associated cost.

Unfortunately, one similarity between the two forms of conferencing is that they can both bomb if care and attention isn't taken in the initial planning stages.

Amy Harris, Marketing Manager for Expert Market UK (visit here) offers you advice for hosting a webinar. To ensure a successful webinar that runs smoothly and is beneficial to the attendees, be sure to follow these simple tips:

Choose Relevant Speakers

Do you need a high profile, high fee presenter or speaker in order to make a webinar successful? Absolutely not, and this is where many organisers go wrong.

They focus on big names, regardless of current relevance, as opposed to looking for those with something interesting to say about recent research or the state of the industry. It doesn't matter who the speaker is, as long as they are relevant and engaging.

There is also no hard and fast rule as to whether there should be a single speaker, or a selection of talks. Some organisers prefer to use a single voice who becomes a dominant knowledge, whereas others prefer to bring in differences of opinion to encourage thought and debate.

Again, the success of a webinar isn't determined by the number of speakers, it's determined by their relevance to the industry.

Include Engaging Presentations

In terms of learning and education, there are few methods more snooze-inducing than simply listening to someone talk for hours on end. When this is done over the internet, away from a structured venue, it's likely to result in the attendee performing other tasks at the same time, in the same way that some people do household chores whilst listening to a podcast.

A webinar isn't a podcast, and it shouldn't be treated as such. A successful webinar should hook the attendee from the word go, and keep them hooked even after the event has finished. The way to do this is with visual as well as audio stimulation.

Like the speakers themselves, presentations should be relevant to the topic, but there's a bit more leeway with this that gives the presenter a chance to bring a bit of humour, comedy, belief, or thought into the talk. Most importantly of all, all visual presentations should be subjected to a practice run to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Don't Over or Under Sell

Determining an attendee limit for a webinar may seem unnecessary as there is no need to consider venue space or catering, but it is actually a critical consideration when it comes to running a successful webinar.

The number of attendees should coincide with the type of format that has been chosen for the event. If the event is formatted as a non-live or simple industry professional talk, there really can be no limit to the number of attendees who log on.

However, if the format is of a more interactive nature, such as including live questions and answers, or audience debate, it's far better to run the webinar multiple times with small groups. A debate or exercise involving 10 attendees is going to run far better, and be much more beneficial to the participant, than an exercise where thousands are keen to get involved.

Use High Quality Web Conference Tools

It's a good idea to choose a web conferencing tool that has a good reputation, and one that fits in with individual needs.

There are many tools to choose from, so it's important to consider a number of aspects. One such aspect is price. One of the primary benefits of webinars over traditional seminars is that organiser costs are kept to a minimum, with webinars being one of the most cost effective methods of educational communication.

Choose a costly web conferencing tool and those benefits become overridden. Some tools are free to use and are well worth considering.

A further factor is the number of attendees expected. It's vital to choose a tool that handles more than the expected figure, not less.

Finally, ensure that the tool has all the features that will be needed. It's pointless choosing an audio tool if both audio and visual presentations will be used. It may be worth opting for some trials of different tools to find the best fit for personal circumstances.

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