Webinars have become a fast growing marketing channel in 2020, especially with forced travel restrictions and the safety measures adopted after the COVID-19 outbreak. When you are planning a webinar program, it’s important to respect the standard etiquette to create the best webinar possible. Be it from the presenters’ side or from the attendees’ side, we need to follow webinar best practices.
Webinar etiquette is pretty similar to video meeting etiquette or even face-to-face meeting etiquette – but adapted to the specifics of this digital channel.
Choosing the right technology
An important factor when considering webinar etiquette is choosing the right technology for the right content – because every webinar is different. Make sure you choose a webinar provider which matches your needs.
Most webinar platforms offer basic tools such as powerpoint sharing and a chat function, but make sure to ask your webinar provider to authorise webcams if you need it. Be mindful that in our experience, video webinars work better with audiences since they are easier to follow and more interactive.
Using a collaborative video conferencing platform is definitely not recommended for large scale webinars.
Making it easy, seamless and secure
Make it easy for attendees to access your webinar and make sure all people receive the necessary information to attend. The easier the process to join the webinar, the better for the attendees.
Security is also a very important issue in the wake of the latest data breaches. This is why some companies are starting to shy away from using platforms such as Zoom. During webinars, sensitive issues can be discussed, and you should make sure that your provider uses secure servers to provide their service. Make sure you use a service provider that has a local support team who can deal with any issues attendees may have in joining.
Respect everyone’s time
A general good practice is to respect your participants’ time. Always ensure your presenters are set up and ready to go at least 30 minutes ahead of time so your webinar starts on time. This is also the case for concluding your webinar – if you promote the event to run for 45 minutes, ensure it runs for 45 minutes.
We understand that sometimes this can’t be helped. In that case, let your attendees know that you will be running 5-10 minutes over and give them the option to leave should they wish.
Stick to your planned content, and keep it educational
There’s nothing worse than joining a webinar, only to realise the content is nothing what you signed up for – it can come across as plain rude.
Ensure you have a clear agenda of what you want to cover, and that it replicates what was on the registration page.
If you are running a lead generation webinar, refrain from selling at all costs! Your content needs to be educational and valuable to ensure people remain online. Stick to a giveaway or call to action at the end of your event.
Ensure you’re setup to present
To run a successful online event, we recommend having the right setup, no matter if you’re presenting from home, the office or from a dedicated studio.
Start by considering your background which will be important if you are doing a video webinar. The camera on your laptop or the dedicated camera for your webinar usually covers a small area. Make sure your background is uncluttered, even if the rest of the room isn’t.
From a lighting perspective, do not sit your back against a window since this obscures your face. Try to focus the active light of the room on your face so it’s easy to read your facial expressions. If you lack natural light in the room, you can turn on the room light and add a lamp to provide soft light from the front. Try to avoid the ghostly effect of harsh downlights.
When using your camera during the webinar, you need to get your angle right. Try to position the camera at the best angle possible to provide a level image of your face – you want to have good eye contact with your online audience to increase engagement and appear more present.
Audio is key…
One of the most important factors of success is to have great audio connection. Make sure you invest in adequate equipment – this includes: a headset with built-in microphone, headphones, a great microphone. Equipment like this is also made specifically to reduce background noise.
Be wary of screen sharing
During webinars you may sometimes need to share your screen to show particular websites, documents or your desktop. Just remember, that everybody in the meeting can see your screen. To avoid any confidentiality issues or breaches in privacy, we advise you to close down irrelevant tabs and turn off notifications so you’re not inadvertently sharing extraneous or even embarrassing details with your attendees.
Know the technology
The last thing your attendees want is to watch you fumbling with the polling feature or struggling to find submitted questions.
Always ensure you are comfortable with the tools available within your chosen platform, and make sure they have been tested. If necessary, have a moderator or facilitator join you to ensure the experience is even more seamless. And always remember where the mute/un-mute button is.
Test, test and test
A poor Internet connection can ruin your digital experience – as well as the experience of all attendees. The professional thing to do is to test your connection before the event and ensure your microphone and internet connection are all working.
Make sure that your data output is at least 25 Mbps if you are doing a live webinar. If you are running other programs that use a lot of bandwidth, we recommend cutting those to improve the webinar experience for all involved. If you have a LAN connection in the office or at home, we recommend using that instead of your Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi connections are notoriously unreliable and often explain the drop in broadband quality. Your LAN connection will be more stable.
Try using the most modern browser proposed on the market since this will also have an impact on quality. Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari are usually the most up to date browsers that enable a 720p webinar stream.
In saying this, things can, and will, go wrong. We recommend speaking to your webinar provider for a list of backup plans available.
Create great webinars thanks to our team of experts. If you need any help, please reach out on 1800 733 416. Webinars.com.au is an Australian hosted company that manages around 200 webinars a month for all types of companies.