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!

The Role of the Webinar Moderator: How to Be an Effective Co-Host

Webinar hosting has firmly established its foothold as a viable promotional tool in any company’s specific marketing mix. Webinars, especially when hosted with a webinar moderator, allow businesses of every size the chance to engage with their targeted demographic on a simultaneous, global level, with remarkable results.

The interactive nature of webinars affords organizations an unparalleled opportunity to generate dialogue with interested prospects and develop sustainable industry partnerships, all while giving the consuming masses the chance to put a name, face, and voice to any hosting business. Few other resources allow brands to both promote and personalize in such a tangible, scalable way.

Benefits Of Utilizing a Webinar Moderator

Due to the comprehensive range of potential advantages, corporate leaders recognize it’s critical to optimize efforts and execution during every webinar.

Enter in the webinar moderator.

A webinar moderator helps mediate a live conference in a wide range of ways. Unfortunately, the role of webinar moderator is often underestimated. Many assume it’s simply completing a behind-the-scene checklist that requires little more than rote response; a technical support person who merely clicks buttons, grants permissions, and confirms everyone can log in at the appropriate time. These business owners believe if they have the technology down cold, they have no use for a second-in-command during their webinar.

Others misjudge the sheer amount of work that goes into creating a captivating, compelling live webinar. They enter into the process believing they can shoulder all of the many responsibilities on their own, only to discover (often too late) sharing the workload can yield a comprehensive range of benefits.

Veteran webinar hosts recognize an effective webinar moderator manages a slew of tasks and operations that require strategic thinking, planning, and preparation, making it in invaluable component to any successful live session. Using a webinar moderator for assistance during any video session can help business owners attain the many advantages offered from just a single live webinar. During any given video conferencing session, the webinar moderator will coordinate responsibilities including:

  • Audience welcome message
  • Agenda outline
  • Discuss relevant session protocol
  • Speaker introductions
  • Permissions for shared information
  • Track inquiries in chat windows
  • Administrate Q&A sessions
  • Manage unexpected system glitches
  • Close out conference

 

These are just some of the many responsibilities potentially performed by a webinar moderator during a live conference. Due to web conferencing’s immense popularity, the webinar moderator role will likely continue to evolve, further emphasizing the importance of having a secondary point person to ensure any function proceeds as smoothly as possible.

 

Tips To Bring Your Moderator A-Game

In order to ensure you are an efficient webinar moderator, it’s important to understand some critical steps to success. Following just a few simple tips can keep you focused on your obligations and guarantee the session maximizes audience participation and overall return on investment.

 

#1: Understand The Host’s Goals and Objectives

The first step in webinar moderator victory is gaining a firm grasp of what the actual host hopes to accomplish. Don’t simply assume you already understand the desired outcome for any given assembly. In order to fully support the company or person running the webinar, you should meet with the principal presenters to familiarize yourself with their top goals and objectives. You will want to know what the point of the session is, the targeted demographic they hope to reach, and what results they want to achieve.

You will also want to gain insight on the presenter’s specific voice. Everyone has her own presentation style and tone. In order to successfully support the webinar, you will need to pinpoint the individual’s/company’s approach to live webinars. Is the vibe laid-back and casual? More polished and professional? Somewhere in between? Recognizing style can play a key role in ensuring stay on brand throughout the meeting for a seamless transition between you and your co-host.

Beyond familiarizing yourself with your co-host’s voice and pace, you should also ask to review any current marketing materials used by the business. Websites, press releases, blogs, and even printed resources can offer an expedient way to assess brand identity and further assure you align your support services with existing corporate language and overall delivery tone.

 

#2: Find Your Voice

While understanding the client’s professional voice is critical, it’s also important to find your own delivery style and tone as well. Blandly reciting your piece with no personality is a surefire way to give listeners permission to tune out. As webinar moderator, your primary mission is to make the session proceeds as smoothly as possible. A welcoming and engaging delivery can play a key role achieving a seamless conference from start to finish.

Additionally, keep in mind that when you go live, unforeseen mishaps will inevitably occur; things such as schedule incongruences, slides placed in the wrong order, presenters missing their queue, technical difficulties and other unexpected events can quickly fluster even the most polished announcer. Your job as webinar moderator is to effortlessly connect with the listeners and redirect as needed should things get off track. Knowing your specific voice can help you do whatever is needed with poise, personality and confidence to keep the session progressing.

#3: Identify Host Expectations

Beyond an understanding of host goals, you will also want to discuss what the lead presenter will expect from you throughout the webinar.

The role of monitor is fluid; sometimes it may be strictly behind-the-scenes, reactive coordination. Other times, a presenter may want the webinar moderator to take the lead on certain segments and actually present to the audience. Schedule as many calls as necessary before the event to gain the insight you’ll need to provide optimal support and meet your host’s overall expectations.

 

#4: Identify Audience Expectations

A successful webinar moderator recognizes the importance of meeting audience expectations as well. It’s critical to gauge attendee interests before creating the slides and visual presentation. Work with the host to review any distributed marketing material and invites for the upcoming function. Familiarizing yourself with what’s being promoted and promised to participants can help you develop a plan to effectively highlight relevant details and deliver what everyone is expecting.

 

#5: Create An Agenda

Once you’ve discussed objectives and overall responsibilities, it’s time to create a webinar agenda. Putting together a summary before the conference will keep everyone on task with individual obligations as well as maintain focus throughout the preparation and strategizing.

When developing your agenda, go beyond outlining just the major talking points; utilize the power of listening points as well. Always allow extra time to include several strategically placed Q&A sessions throughout the presentation. It’s no secret that long webinars run the risk of losing listeners at various intervals. Permitting inquiries throughout the conference proves an excellent way to keep listeners tuned in and on their toes. Highlighting these more interactive segments can prevent their eyes (and ears) from glazing over and encourage them to participate and engage with all of the speakers during your event.

 

the role of a webinar moderator can play a key role in maintaining focus

 

#6: Schedule Rehearsal(s)

Web conferencing can incorporate a diverse scope of technological components in any given session. Don’t assume your guest has mastered everything he or she will need to use of the course of the event (even if he insists he’s an experienced whiz at managing all the webinar features you will incorporate).

Schedule a dry run a few days before the live session to jointly determine everyone’s area of expertise. Use this time together to not only test the innovation but also go through the entire presentation as many times as needed. You will inevitably pinpoint weak spots in your exhibition or identify salient details that have been omitted entirely. These rehearsals will allow you to iron out any hiccups and smooth out rough patches before going live with your participants.

#7: Game Day Practice

Also, you will want to connect prior to going live on the actual day of the event. This will give you a final opportunity to go through your host’s presentation as well as run a last minute audiovisual test. No matter how many rehearsals you’ve had, you shouldn’t squander the chance to get everything set up before participants begin logging in.

It’s important to practice one final time just to confirm the technology being used is working the way it should; one malfunctioning microphone or a misaligned camera can quickly impact audience attention levels. Spending precious time identifying and trying to fix an issue once you’ve gone live can give your participants the authorization they need to tend to other pressing items on their agendas. Or, worse yet, it can instantly make you and your host seem unprepared and unprofessional.

 

#8: Attend Other Sessions To See What Works (And What Doesn’t)

As webinar popularity and marketing momentum continues to increase, the role of webinar moderator will continue to change, making it vital for co-hosts to consistently up their support game. Perhaps the best way to add maximum value during a webinar? Attend other events that utilize a webinar moderator as often as possible.

Every session brings with it its own unique voice, tone, and overall delivery. Participating in other meetings will grant you invaluable insight on new resources to use and different approaches to implement. Beyond learning what works in a webinar, you will also determine methods that don’t work. This knowledge of what to include and exclude can enhance the overall quality of your next session and ensure you always effectively fulfill your co-hosting responsibilities.

 

 

If you’d like to host your own amazing webinars, check out BigMarker. BigMarker helps you share meaningful content and build your brand with modern, user-friendly webinars. Sign up for a 14-day free trial today or send us a message to get in touch.

 

 

 

Sources

https://www.slideshare.net/GoToWebinar/5-steps-to-moderating-a-webinar

http://www.webattract.com/demand-generation/the-role-of-a-webinar-moderator/