How to Prepare a Guest Webinar Presenter in 12 Easy Steps

A webinar presenter could be a force-multiplier for the success of your show. It’s still a big decision to bring one on, though, which is why we’re going to cover this topic in detail.

Why You Should Bring on a Guest Webinar Presenter

This can be a very big step for many companies. You may have been successful at building up a decent audience for your webinar program and are, therefore, rightfully cautious about the idea of bringing in a guest to hold the reins.

If so, let’s quickly cover some of the reasons a guest webinar presenter could be completely worth it.

The first is that it’s simply nice to mix things up. You’ve probably heard that variety is the spice of life. We’re not saying your audience may be getting bored with you, but it will definitely grab their attention if somebody else will be speaking to them.

Second, the person you choose should have some kind of expertise. This means they can provide your audience with information that you couldn’t. Even if you could cover the same topic, their credentials may go a long way toward getting the message across.

Third, you can leverage the other person’s audience. This is an absolutely huge advantage and, thus, something else you should be thinking of before deciding on the guest webinar presenter you’re going to invite to host the show.

Ideally, find someone who has a large audience of their own. They’ll then tell their following about this webinar they’re doing and you’ll be able to attract more people to watch.

Down the line, you can still benefit from their name recognition when people do web searches for them. If they feature the webinar on their site, you’re going to get more traffic and a nice backlink.

 

There are countless other reasons it may pay to have a guest webinar presenter run your program, but these big ones should have you thinking about the opportunity.

 

1. Host a Dry Run

This is probably the most important tip of the list, but it often goes overlooked. If you’ve hosted a number of webinars already, it may be second nature to you at this point. Therefore, you may assume the same goes for your guest webinar presenter.

You don’t have to have them do the entire thing, but make sure that they feel comfortable with the concept and the technology. Encourage your guest webinar presenter to ask questions.

 

2. Make Sure You’re Clear About Expectations

This is another easy one to overlook. Imagine your guest webinar presenter finishes their live presentation and it’s only then that you realize they didn’t understand what you were looking for from them.

Now, you not only have to do the entire thing over, but you also have to get through a fairly awkward conversation. They might not have time in their schedule to redo an entire webinar in the near future, either.

Your list of expectations should include:

  • The topic you want them to cover
  • Any important subtopics
  • The tone of the webinar (professional, casual, etc.)
  • How long it should take
  • Any CTAs you need them to include
  • Whether or not they can pitch their own products/services

Use this list, but also feel free to come up with any other pointers that will help them.

Recognize, too, that your guest webinar presenter will probably really appreciate you taking the lead to help guide them. They don’t want to do a bad job or otherwise miss the mark anymore than you do.

 

3. Let Them Know About Your Audience

Unless your guest webinar presenter is already familiar with your audience, you’ll want to tell them what to expect from your listeners.

Presumably, this won’t be a problem for you. Nonetheless, these are some questions that it may help to answer in preparation:

  • What is their age range?
  • What industries are they in?
  • Why do they usually tune in?
  • Which parts of the world are they from (some cultural references may not make sense)?

You can also share feedback with them that you’ve received in the past. Even if you’ve already processed these critiques and made changes to the way you do webinars, this kind of information can be extremely helpful.

 

4. Sort Out the Graphics They’ll Use

Every webinar needs to have visual components aside from just the speaker’s face. Long before your guest webinar presenter takes to the mic, you should both understand which graphics are going to be used.

You may already know the ones you would like them to present. If not, make sure they know that they’ll be responsible for this vital component. Offer to help them with this if they’d like.

If they decide to provide the graphics, then politely ask to see them beforehand. This way, there won’t be any nasty surprises the first time they put one on screen.

 

5. Make Sure They’re Okay with a Q&A Segment

One other element that usually makes a webinar much better is allowing audience members to ask questions at the end. Some people even give time for them throughout the presentation.

Obviously, this only applies to live webinars. Assuming that’s what you’re doing, let your guest webinar presenter know that you’d like them to take some questions at some point. If they haven’t used your interface before, you’ll need to show your webinar presenter what this will entail.

Allow for a webinar Q&A with a guest presenter

6. Discuss the Dress Code

If they’ll be facing a formal seminar, your webinar presenter shouldn’t show up wearing a sweatshirt and hat. This goes back to the point about tone we brought up earlier. They may be a wonderful presenter and even an expert on the topic, but if they’re dressed too casually, this will throw your audience off.

Likewise, if your webinar presenter is going to be talking about a more casual topic or their audience will be made up of people who don’t have a dress code at work, there’s no reason for them to wear a suit and tie or nice dress.

Your presenter probably has enough sense to know this, so you don’t need to make it an overt point, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Just politely tell them what kind of attire you think would be best.

 

7. Have Them Focus on Engagement

Q&A sessions are so great because they ensure there is a certain level of engagement during a webinar. Otherwise, it can be too easy for people to lose focus or drift off instead of watching your presentation.

There are other ways to engage the audience, though. Therefore, even if you’re not doing a live webinar, make it a point to stress that engagement needs to be a priority.

Your webinar presenter should be saying “you” a lot more than “I” for example. They should look for opportunities to bring up situations and scenarios that their audience will immediately find relatable. Again, this is why knowing about one’s audience plays such a big role in a webinar’s success.

 

8. Schedule a Quick Pre-Webinar Meeting

Ask your webinar presenter to either show up early or call you beforehand so you can go over the plan one more time before the show begins. This will give you both an opportunity to iron out any details that may still be in your presenter’s head.

The real reason to do this, though, even when your presenter is 100% ready, is simply to make sure the program begins on time.

If they’re coming into your office to do the webinar, they might get stuck in traffic. If they’re doing it remotely, the technology might provide a challenge at the last second. You never want a delay between the time you said a webinar will begin and when it actually does. This is especially true when you’re introducing a guest webinar presenter to your audience.

 

Schedule a pre-webinar meeting

 

 

9. Introduce Your Guest Webinar Presenter Well Beforehand

Speaking of which, your audience should be excited about this new guest. You don’t want them learning about them for the first time when they log in. However, you also don’t want your audience to have vague expectations.

Excitement is a huge advantage to have when presenting a webinar. People will be more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt and ignore small hiccups when they’re full of anticipation.

Of course, this will also help increase attendee enrollment. Long before the webinar goes live (or is otherwise published), start telling your audience why this guest is not to be missed.

 

10. Have a Backup Plan

This is another tip that isn’t necessarily about preparing your guest webinar presenter but is still crucial.

Unless your guest is a seasoned webinar professional, they might run into nerves when they realize they’re speaking to a large audience. If that happens, will you be able to step in? If they’re doing the webinar remotely and their feed cuts out, do you have a plan for running the show?

The likelihood of these things happening is small, but the fallout would be massive. Webinar attendance is already a tough thing to count on. Imagine what would happen to your numbers if your audience remembers that the last time you held one it was a complete bust? Plan accordingly.

 

11. Should You Ever Pay for a Webinar Presenter?

Finally, we’re going to close on a common question that gets asked when it comes to inviting a presenter to run your show.

Without a doubt, the presenter should get something from it. Otherwise, why would they bother doing it? Unless it’s a friend doing you a favor, they have a job and busy schedule to attend to as well, right?

That doesn’t mean you have to pay them, but it does mean you should be able to give them something in return. Maybe it’s just your large audience. Maybe you’ll be partnering with them on a project in the near future, so increasing their mindshare with your market is important.

That being said, don’t shy away from the idea of paying someone. Once you set a budget, you can broaden your horizons and may be able to choose a really impressive name in your industry simply by paying their bill.

Having a dollar sign attached to the success of this project also ensures the guest presenter takes your webinar seriously. It would be great if you could take for granted that they were going to do this, but money is a nice insurance policy.

 

12. Consider Having Another Webinar Ready

Finally, we talked about what you’d do if your presenter falls through or the technology crashes. Similarly, you should have a contingency plan in case the thing goes off without a hitch but simply doesn’t do well with your viewers.

This means having another webinar idea lined up and ready to go. By having one in the chamber you can quickly let your audience know that you’ll be doing one again next week. Doing so will limit the number of them who may detach permanently after a bad experience. You’re moving things right along and limiting the amount of time they have to solidify this new perception of your webinar as a low-quality one.

Bringing in a guest webinar presenter definitely comes with a unique set of challenges, but the result can definitely be worth it. Remember, too, that once you get your first guest webinar in the books, the others are going to be much, much easier.

This article should also help. Follow the above advice and you should be feeling extremely confident about having a guest run your show.

You can always count on BigMarker for advice, too. If you’re still nervous about the whole thing, just let us know how we can help.

 

Sources:

http://blogs.adobe.com/adobeconnect/2013/12/six-tips-for-new-webinar-presenters.html

http://blog.workcast.com/top-10-tips-for-webinar-presenters

http://blog.clickmeeting.com/10-wow-audience-tips-webinar-presenters

https://elearningindustry.com/14-tips-to-create-and-present-a-highly-effective-webinar

https://www.meetingburner.com/blog/how-to-recruit-an-influential-guest-presenter-for-your-next-webinar/

http://www.eventbuilder.rocks/5-tips-for-using-experts-as-guest-presenters-in-marketing-webinars/

http://blog.clickmeeting.com/benefits-guest-expert-speakers-webinars

10 Best Practices for Preparing Your Guest Webinar Speakers

When planning a webinar, a crucial piece for pulling off a successful event is adequately preparing your guest webinar speakers for all the possibilities that come with a live production. We’ve put together a list of 10 best practices to thoroughly prepare your webinar speakers before, during and after the webinar.

 

Best Practice #1: Schedule practice sessions for each webinar

Practice makes perfect! Three to four dry-runs might be overkill for a reoccurring webinar, but for each brand-new webinar, if you are not making changes and updates after each dry-run, you’re not collaborating enough.

Dry-runs are the time to find all the gaps in content, ensure the presentation is smoothly transitioning throughout the entirety of the webinar and see if the webinar speakers have any issues with managing the webinar platform or connecting to audio.

 

Best Practice #2: Coach your webinar speakers on effective presentation skills

More people are likely to engage and pay attention when there are energetic and lively webinar speakers. Webinar attendees will take note if your webinar speakers’ delivery of presentations are engaging, easy to follow and have periods of interaction.

Ensure your webinar speakers don’t “talk at” attendees, or give a “death by PowerPoint” presentation. Similarly, ensuring there is something new to look at every minute or so on the screen will help to keep attendees engaged. Make sure your webinar speakers don’t sound like they are reading from a script either. Watch out for a monotone voice and those nails-on-chalkboard “um’s”.

Coaching your webinar speakers until they are comfortable speaking to a live audience and practicing all the above items will go a long way in having a successful webinar.

Best Practice #3: Train guest webinar speakers on your webinar platform

In many cases, your webinar speakers might have to manage the webinar platform in some context. Whether it is to advance their PowerPoint slides, type a question in the chat or put themselves on mute. Without proper preparation and training before a webinar, you’re likely to have confused webinar speakers if they are not familiar with your webinar platform. Likewise, if you have webinar speakers that are “technically-challenged” make sure you have multiple training sessions until they have it down.

 

Best Practice #4: Review and collaborate on all webinar content

Don’t let your guest webinar speakers plan the entire webinar, including content and engagement. As the primary webinar host, you oversee the whole webinar and its success. Make sure the guest webinar speakers are not putting together a “death-by-PowerPoint presentation.” And ensure that they are including multiple engagement opportunities with webinar attendees to keep them entertained. Similarly, encourage your webinar speakers to use powerful images in their presentations that align with their content.

During your dry-runs see what engagement tools are being used with the content, are they using the chat, Q&A and polling features to their advantages? Does the text in the polls align to the content and goals of the webinar?  A webinar is more than a webinar speaker spewing words; it’s an opportunity for a webinar speaker to interact with prospects or existing clients and to make a positive impact.

During your dry-runs, review the agenda and objectives of the webinar content to ensure it aligns with the text on the webinar registration page and that it fulfills the reason people are attending! Also during your dry-runs, it’s important to have at least one full dry-run to see if the content is long enough to last the entire length of the webinar.

 

Best Practice #5: Review webcam best practices

It is best practice to use a webcam when you’re live on a webinar, it gives a more personal touch and can feel more like an in-person event. Yet, there are many things to consider when you put a person on webcam.

Make sure the webinar speaker selects a nice solid colored shirt to wear the day of the live event, preferably not black. Also, ensure that whatever is shown behind them on the webcam screen is neat and tidy. I’ve seen messy beds in the background of a webcam before. Awkward!

Another best practice is to ensure there is a light set-up behind the speaker. This will make everyone look better on webcam. Before the live event if the webinar speaker is using a portable webcam, make sure they have the best angle on the camera, so it’s not too low or not too high. Lastly, give the webinar speaker a few tips about how close to move in on the webcam, don’t want to get too close, that would look strange – and too far away would be hard to see them.

 

Best Practice #6: Review all technical possibilities and create a playbook

Not only should you review what could potentially happen during the live webinar, like an audio failure, but you should also put together a playbook for how to react to every type of error should a technical error happen. This playbook should have a list of all error types and then a response for options of what to do.

 

guest webinar speakers should have a list of technical webinar errors and proper responses

 

With the audio failure example above, if their audio line is cut off, a playbook response could be to make sure they have a second phone available to dial in at any time. Likewise, if there is an internet failure an option in the playbook would be to have an alternative option nearby, like using a cell phone as a hot spot. These are the types of items to include in your playbook, so when something happens (and it inevitably does!) you know that the situation is covered.

 

Best Practice #7: Prepare a webinar script

A webinar script is like a map. Its function is to keep you on the right path throughout the length of the webinar and not find yourself on the wrong path halfway along the trip.

This script should be in the webinar speakers voice and cover all the main sections of the webinar. Ideally, a good webinar script is written from the initial introduction down to the goodbye and thank you for attending.

The script should include when to ask webinar attendees a question or request that they answer a poll. And highlight sections that are important to add a little extra energy, for example. With a solid webinar script, your webinar speaker will walk into (or sign into) the webinar fully prepared and ready to go without any hesitations on where to begin.

 

Best Practice #8: Prepare webinar speaker for post-webinar Q&A

Depending on who your webinar speaker is, an internal employee or an outsourced industry expert, you should prepare them for what type of questions may come up during the Q&A part of the webinar. You might want to bring in some internal help to answer questions that are beyond this person’s knowledge base, particularly if they are an outside industry expert, but might not be an expert on your offering.

Having the webinar speaker offer their contact information to webinar registrants to be able to reach out directly to ask questions after the webinar is a best practice as well. Some webinar speakers might not be keen on having their information distributed, so this option should be discussed beforehand.

As a side note, you might want to offer your webinar registration list as a thank you or payment to your webinar speaker. Before offering this as an option make sure you aren’t “selling your list” to a speaker who is just going to email spam them, ensure it could be just as beneficial for your webinar registrants to hear from your webinar speaker too.

Best Practice #9: Login to the webinar at least 30 minutes beforehand

This piece is very, very important – I cannot stress it enough! Make sure all key players of the webinar login to the webinar at 30 minutes before the start of the webinar. When this doesn’t happen, you never know what could take place throughout the webinar.

Use this time to do a last review of the content, ensure your engagement tools are set-up, test the sound quality and check that the audio is working. Have someone do a test to make sure that webinar attendees can access the webinar without a problem as well.

Doing this before the webinar start time will allow you to begin right on time and know that the webinar will most likely get off to a good start. Never hurts to have a few extra minutes to “pump” up the webinar speaker too, give them a little burst of energy to knock the webinar out of the park.

 

Best Practice #10: Help webinar speaker prep a sheltered space for the live webinar

If your webinar speaker is doing the webinar from a home office, ensure that their kids, pets, neighbors, mailman, or whoever, won’t interfere or make any noise during the live webinar. I’ve been on a webinar where a handyman accidentally walked in the path of the webcam, while funny, it took the whole webinar off track.

Alternatively, if they are doing the webinar from a work office, have them find a quiet room with a door where they won’t be disturbed. Perhaps even put up a sign saying, “live webinar in the process, please keep your voices down.” Have them keep this space clean and free of clutter.  Have them also potentially shut down their cell phone, email and IM apps on their computer. Just eliminate potential distributions, then it can never become an issue.

xx

 

Make the time to follow these best practices and ensure your webinar speakers are fully prepared for the live event. Your webinar speakers might believe they are seasoned speakers, even so, all you need to do is ensure they check all the above 10 boxes and then you will have the confidence in their speaking and presenting abilities to move forward with them as webinar speakers. A webinar speaker makes or breaks a webinar. They can have the best content, but if the delivery is poor, your company’s reputation can be on the line, not to mention the webinar speaker’s reputation, too.

 

To host your own amazing webinars with as many webinar presenters as you need, check out BigMarker. Sign up for a 14-day free trial today or send us a message to get in touch!