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Webinar Tips for Purdue Extension

Webinars and web meetings are a 21st century necessity to expand our reach. Here are nine tips to make your next webinar a hit.

1. Make a Plan

  • What is the purpose?
  • What are the objectives? (After this webinar, participants will be able to...)
  • How will you know it was successful?
  • Who should attend?
  • How will you intro and close?
  • Will you have a co-host?
  • What materials will you share?

2. Have A Sidekick

It's always nice to have a teaching partner, especially in webinars. Co-hosts allow the presenter to actually focus on presenting the content, but are also helpful for many reasons:

  • They can manage the participants, such as muting/unmuting.
  • Monitor the chat to answer questions.
  • Co-present content
  • Serve as a back-up connection

3. Practice

Log in to the platform and practice. Include any guest speakers/presenters you will have. Practice sharing any documents, presentation, or other items. It's important to practice and be familiar with the platform. The success of a webinar is directly related to the host's ability to control the meeting platform.

A little bit of practice will go a long way in producing a high-value webinar!

4. Join Early

You should also plan to arrive early to an online meeting or webinar. For hosts, this means at least 15 minutes early. Just like you would arrive early to a face-to-face meeting to make sure your room is set up, you should do the same for online meetings. Test your video and audio, prepare polls, pages, or documents to share, etc.

Attendees need to join at least 5 minutes before the start time. This gives them a chance to troubleshoot their video or sound.

5. Introductions

Welcome all the participants as they arrive and then again at the start of the webinar. Be sure to have yourself on camera at least at the start while introducing yourself, then you can turn it off.

Be sure to share basic webinar "housekeeping" information:

  • remind participants to mute/unmute, show them how to do that. If they are calling in, *6 is the key command to mute/unmute.
  • Inform participants how you want them to communicate - talking, chatting, talking/chatting, etc.
  • What to do if a disconnection happens.

6. Mute Your Audio

Always, always, always, always mute your audio when not talking. The biggest webinar infraction is when the presenter is presenting and you can hear someone click-clacking on their laptop, having a side conversation, driving down the road, listening to their dog bark, or answering a phone call. Log in, say your hellos, then immediately mute yourself. Always. Just don't forget to unmute yourself when you do have something to say!

If you're calling in by phone and your phone doesn't have a mute button, *6 will generally mute/unmute yourself.

7. Make it interactive

Try to make webinars interactive. Don't just share PowerPoint slides and read from them. Stop at least twice every 10 minutes to have an interaction: a poll, ask a question participants can respond to, or maybe even collaborate on a Google Doc. Some webinar platforms allow breakout rooms to put larger webinars into smaller discussion groups.

It's ok to not use slides in a webinar. Turn them off and just have you on camera sharing information or answering questions. It provides an opportunity for people to see your facial expressions and show your genuine interest in the topic.

Try a few of these interactions on your next webinar:

  • Polling
  • Ask a question - verbal or chat response
  • Breakout rooms - assign participants to smaller webinar rooms to discuss a topic then bring them back together.
  • Play a video - keep it short, "chunk" up longer ones
  • Let participants share their screen
  • Use the whiteboard feature to collaborate
  • Invite participants to a Google Doc to share ideas/collaborate

8. Debrief

Be sure to ask your participants to evaluate the webinar, but also ask yourself what worked? What didn't work? What could you do differently next time?

You can evaluate your webinar with this great webinar evaluation rubric for Extension

9. Use the Data

WebEx (and most other online meeting platforms) has reports you can download, such as:

  • Registration: view all participant info/demographics, whether registrant attended or was absent.
  • Attendance: Who actually logged in to the webinar and their contact info.
  • In-Event Activity: join time, leave time, chat log, polls and poll results.
  • Event recording: who viewed and downloaded.

Need more ideas or consultation for your next Purdue Extension webinar?

Contact: Ryan Wynkoop | IT Specialist, Purdue Extension | rwynkoop@purdue.edu

Created By
Ryan Wynkoop
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Created with images by Dan Gold - "Macbook Coffee" • Tumisu - "checklist list hand pen business writing check" • Markus Spiske - "MacBook on a messy desk" • Jessy Smith - "Desk"

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