99 Problems but Hosting a Webinar Ain’t One

August 20, 2013

Earlier this month, OpenView Labs’ Sales and Marketing Support team launched our first webinar geared toward outbound lead generation teams.

“Work Smarter, Not harder: Planning a Model Day for Success,” focused on how to streamline your day by highlighting the detriment of multitasking and the benefit of grouping like activities and planning them out.

In the process of building out our webinar we learned that there is more to planning than creating your presentation. You have to be on top of your game and be strategic as you gear up for your debut. We took the most valuable lessons that we learned and created a checklist for your benefit. Kill it with your first webinar by following these eight steps below.

Before: Practice Makes Perfect

Deep dive into your platform

If you are new to the webinar world it is important to really get to know the tools you are using. There are a plethora of platforms to choose from, each with their own benefits. Take time before your webinar to play around inside the platform and figure out the what buttons to press and when. Look for tutorial videos on the platforms and become super comfortable with the various components.

Practice session #1

It is imperative to have an early stage practice session with the webinar panelists. This will help you hone the messaging of your webinar and establish a rhythm for who is speaking and when. After the first practice session, you will want to make changes to the presentation so that it flows as smoothly as possible on  D-day.

Dress rehearsal

Perhaps it is my theatre background, but I believe that a dress rehearsal should be a top priority for you when you close in on the 24 hour window of your webinar. The dress rehearsal should happen in the same room with the same equipment that you are planning on using for the actual webinar. You should act as though you are live. And if it is a total flop, don’t panic! A bad dress rehearsal typically makes for a great opening night!

During: Get the Audience Involved

Be transparent

Let your participants know exactly what is about to go down. Walk them through the various components of your presentation, breaking down the agenda, polls, and question and answer sections. Let them know exactly when and how they should ask questions.

Close your polls

Polls are a great way to interact with the audience during a webinar. But if you are launching a poll at any point during the webinar make sure to close it. If left open, participants cannot see the presentation and may think that their screen is frozen!

Share the results

Just because you can see the poll results doesn’t mean that your participants can. Make sure to share the results of the poll and use it as an opportunity to have a sidebar conversation with your fellow panelists. Sharing live results can also mitigate any feelings that the webinar is scripted or rigid.

After: Think Through Your Next Steps

Hang up the phone

Okay, this may seem a bit obvious, but if you are calling into your webinar, be sure to hang up the phone before you start congratulating yourself on a job well done.

Send out follow-up survey

Strive to do better next time! Even if your webinar is a smashing success, it is important to get feedback from your audience. Send a follow up survey asking for their thoughts on the webinar and ideas for future webinar topics.

What tips have you learned from hosting your own webinars? What is the most important thing that can make your webinar a success?




<strong>CeCe Bazar</strong> is an Associate on OpenView's investment team. She was previously a Sales Strategist also at OpenView.