Now that we’re spending more time at home on our computers than ever before, it’s a good time to brush up on webinar etiquette.
Webinars offer brands the opportunity to connect directly with their audience. On the other hand, consumers can expand their knowledge of a topic. It’s a win-win situation if done right, but not all webinars go smoothly. I once attended a webinar on email automation tips that was actually a full product demo. Yikes
Then you have situations where the moderator is late or the participants are having a little too much fun in the chat room. This isn’t exactly the best experience for either side.
Let’s find out how presenters and attendees can make webinars more productive.
Webinar Etiquette Tips for Presenters
- Set the tone.
- Present what is expected.
- Do a practice session.
- Read the questions and answers aloud.
- Make the webinar accessible.
- Record the session.
1. Set the tone.
Every webinar format is different. For example, some are education-based, with the moderator only engaging with the audience when they have questions. In other cases the setting is more interactive.
However, let your audience know what to expect from them early on.
Send your attendees a reminder email with a guidelines section a few days before the webinar. Be sure to answer the following questions:
- Are attendees expected to turn their cameras and microphones on or off?
- Is participation encouraged? If so, how?
- Is there any preparatory work?
You can also remind your attendees of these instructions at the start of the webinar while people are signing up.
2. Present what is expected.
Imagine ordering a medium-sized steak in a restaurant and receiving a piece of chicken instead. The piece of chicken may be delicious, but it doesn’t matter because you didn’t order that.
Meeting expectations is very important when trying to gain trust from your audience. For webinars, there are few things more frustrating than anticipating a presentation on one thing and getting something completely different. Shifting gears can lead to confusion, high drop rates and little engagement.
In addition, each type of webinar has a purpose and is aimed at a unique audience. For example, workshop participants are unlikely to have the same intentions as participants in product demos.
With that in mind, resist the temptation to turn your webinar into an advertising opportunity (or something else) when it’s not on the agenda.
3. Do a practice session.
Technical difficulties are a bummer. They interrupt the flow of the presentation and can be difficult to fix. One way to prevent this from happening is to practice beforehand.
First, get familiar with the hosting platform you are using. Find out where the most important functions are, such as: B .:
- Share your screen.
- Play audio and / or video clips.
- Put the participants in the spotlight and adjust their audio / video settings.
You can consider having a moderator to assist you during your presentation to oversee the chat room and move things forward.
When you are sure that you are navigating the platform, do a trial run of the presentation from start to finish. This will tell you how much time you need to devote to each section in order to meet the schedule.
4. Read the questions and answers aloud.
Typically, when attending a presentation in person, there is no guessing game required when someone asks a question because you can hear it being asked. Things work differently online.
Depending on the hosting platform you are using, you will likely have a Q&A facility that allows attendees to ask questions directly to the host. This means that other participants do not know who asked a question and what the question was.
Therefore, moderators should always repeat questions aloud before answering them so that the audience understands the context of the answer. However, keep the participant’s name anonymous unless the participant has requested otherwise.
5. Make the webinar accessible.
Webinars can be a great resource for information, but they may lack the accessibility features necessary to reach all audiences, including the deaf, hard of hearing, and the visually impaired.
First, check your hosting platforms. Applications like Zoom and Google Hangouts have built-in live subtitle and transcription capabilities. You can also pre-send the presentation slides to your attendees so that non-native speakers can more easily familiarize themselves with the content.
Depending on your budget, you can hire an interpreter to sign your presentation for your deaf and / or HoH audience. If this is not possible, contact video relay service providers who will connect your audience with interpreters during your presentation.
Use high-contrast colors in the presentation itself to make it easier for visually impaired participants to see your slides.
6. Record the session.
If you’re hosting a webinar, only a percentage of your registrants may be attending the live session. Due to planning conflicts, many people rely on video footage to review the sessions they missed.
While not essential, it is a great way to add value to users who are interested in your brand but unable to attend live sessions. You can restrict access to the recording for a week or two after the live session and add a password to access the footage for added security.
Webinar etiquette tips for attendees
- Be on time.
- Chat to reinforce, not to distract.
- Don’t interrupt.
- Avoid self-promotion.
1. Be on time.
Webinars tend to follow strict guidelines, which means that if you missed part of the presentation, you have very little catching up to do.
Be on time to get the most out of the webinar. Usually, participants have a grace period of one to three minutes to register on the hosting platform.
To be on the safe side, join the webinar a few minutes early in case you have trouble logging in. This gives enough time to ask the webinar organizer for help. You can also set reminders in the days leading up to the webinar to make sure you’re ready when the event starts.
2. Chat to reinforce, not to distract.
Think of the Chat field in a webinar as in a classroom. Except in this case, you cannot whisper to the person next to you. Everything you say is loud enough for everyone in the room to hear and engage in.
With that in mind, your input should only be to reinforce what the moderator is saying.
For example, let’s say you are attending an email marketing automation webinar. The moderator explains the benefits of setting up email sequences as soon as a lead takes a certain action. You can play along in the chat to add how effective this approach has been for your brand.
However, it wouldn’t be all that helpful to have a conversation about email click-through rates or delve into your experience with a particular automation platform.
As a rule of thumb, if it doesn’t match the presentation, leave it out of the chat room.
3. Don’t interrupt.
As a moderator, interruptions can really take you off the game. It disrupts your thinking process and it can take you a second to get you back on track, no matter how experienced you are.
Unmuting to add your input should only be done after the presenter has opened the floor for it. For professional reasons, do not interrupt the presenter unless he or she specifically states that it is welcome.
Instead, wait for a call to action. The moderator might have their own slide for questions and comments, or they might ask aloud if someone has something to add.
4. Avoid self-promotion.
Self-promotion during someone else’s webinar is like blowing out someone else’s birthday candles, it’s tasteless.
When prompted, be sure to include your brand in relation to the content of the presentation. What to avoid is trying to bring your brand to the attention of other subscribers through your website and social links or other strategies.
With a few simple steps you can help create a more positive webinar experience that is fun for everyone.