Running a webinar sometimes feels like speaking in a cave. You’re in the complete dark. You don’t know how your participants feel, whether they are enjoying your webinar, or doing chores around the house.
Often, you’re left wondering: Are people even listening to what I’m saying?
The truth is, presenting online is much more challenging than speaking to a live audience.
That’s why we’ve put together this handful of tips on how to overcome these hurdles and run a webinar that’s engaging and fun both for you and your online audience. All tried and tested.
Give them a go and make your next webinar or virtual event a success.
1. Log in early and facilitate the waiting time
Allow yourself 15 to 20 minutes to get everything ready. Log in to your webinar platform, open your presentation and test the interaction tool (if you are using one).
When you’re all set, facilitate the time while online participants are tuning in. Check how many people have already joined the call and comment on the situation.
Our webinar expert, Zuzana Bozikova, starts her webinars by saying: “I can see there are X people already connected, let’s just wait two more minutes for the rest of the participants to join us.”
2. Greet your participants and learn about their background
Once all the people tune in, kick off your webinar with a warm greeting and thank your participants for joining. If you know where they are calling from, greet them more personally, for example, “Hello to Paris” or “Hey, guys in Berlin!”
Then follow with a simple icebreaking poll to learn about their background or expectations. After showing the results, don’t forget to comment on them and explain what you are going to cover in your slides.
- What’s your current role in the company you’re working at? (open text)
- What is your main objective for attending this webinar?
a) Learn new practices
b) Broaden my skills
c) Advance my career
d) See how others do things
- Which of these topics would you like to focus on today?
a) Increasing traffic
b) Improving SEO
c) Building the email list
d) Getting more followers
- How extensive is your experience with the tool X? (star rating)
3. Introduce your content
Once you break the ice, go briefly through the agenda of your webinar. Give your attendees a little context into what you’re going to talk about and plan out the structure of the whole session. You can summarize this in a few bullet points and make it your opening slide.
As Janelle Raney, Head of Product Marketing at Zoom, suggested: “Tell people what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you just told them.”
Helping people to navigate through your content is ever more important in the online environment, where the participants rely heavily on your verbal delivery.
4. Do continuous check-ins
Throughout your webinar, use live polls to collect your attendees’ opinions and check their understanding of the topic. Run a poll every 8-10 minutes to re-engage your online audience and actively involve them.
Weaving interaction into your presentation like this helps you break the monotony of a one-way talk and split your content into bite-size pieces. It’s also an effective way to find out whether you’re getting your main points across.
- On a scale of 1 to 7, how clear is the discussed topic for you so far? (1 = unclear, 7 = very clear)
- How comfortable do you feel about using these features?
(1 = not at all comfortable, 5 = very comfortable)
Read also: How to Use Slido for Your Webinar
5. Quiz your audience
A quiz is an ultimate win for you to make your webinar more fun. However, it’s not just about running the quiz. You need to properly facilitate it.
First, tell your online attendees how to join the quiz. Read each question out loud and comment on the situation throughout the quiz – like a sports commentator does during a match.
There are many ways you can use quizzes during your webinar, depending on your objective. If you want to help people loosen up, run a quiz around fun facts relating to the topic of your webinar. For example:
- How many videos are watched on YouTube every single day?
a) 900 million
b) 2 billion
c) 5 billion
d) 1 billion
Another option is to use the quiz as a bridge to a topic which you’re about to tackle. For instance, if you’re running a webinar on digital marketing, you can ask something like:
- What does CPC stand for?
a) Consumer Protection Committee
b) Cost per click
c) Community produced content
d) Custom PC
6. Collect questions throughout
One of the reasons why people lose attention during webinars is the lack of opportunities to participate. Change that. Give your online attendees a chance to ask you questions via Slido.
During your webinar, keep reminding your attendees to send their questions in, or upvote the ones posted by others.
Review the incoming questions continuously. As they start flowing in, incorporate them into your flow or tell your audience that you’re going to address them during a Q&A session at the end of the webinar.
Take inspiration from our colleague Zuzana and say something like: “Thank you, Mark, that’s an excellent question. I’ll address it by the end of this webinar,” or “I can see the questions are coming in. We’ll get to them in ten minutes.”
Extra tip: For larger webinars where you expect plenty of questions, invite a sidekick, e.g. your colleague or friend, to monitor incoming questions and comments on chat and respond to them. As a speaker, you won’t have the capacity to do that.
7. Facilitate the Q&A
Once you get to the Q&A session, remind the participants once again to send in their questions. Then take the first question with the highest number of votes. It’s good practice to read each question out loud so your participants know which one you are addressing. Only then give your answer.
Then continue with the remaining questions until you cover them all. In case too many questions flew in and you don’t have enough time, you can prioritize questions based on the upvotes.
Slido and other tools then allow you to download the outstanding questions and address them after your webinar.
8. Ask your participants for feedback
To wrap things up, you can run a simple survey to get feedback on how well you did. Make it short, so it’s easy for the attendees to complete. Don’t forget to activate the feedback survey while your attendees are still on the call so they get to fill it out.
Here’s an example feedback survey:
- How would you rate this webinar? (star rating)
- What was your main takeaway from this webinar? (open text)
- Any suggestions for the speaker? (open text)
9. Finish your webinar with a call to action
Instead of just closing the conversation, provide ways for your participants to keep in touch with you. Share your contact info with them, prompt them to follow you on social media for more relevant content, or invite them to register for your next webinar.
If you have resources that your attendees might find useful, like a blog post, ebook or a guide, direct them to it at the end of your webinar or send them links in the follow-up email.
Over to you
We hope you found these tips useful and that you’re ready to run more engaging and enjoyable webinars.
Explore more ways how Slido can help you create a richer online experience for your virtual audience.