How to conduct an ideal webinar
In Wrike, we take our webinars seriously. For us, this is an educational, marketing tool that allows you to connect with a large number of customers at once.
Every month, employees of the company conduct more than 60 sessions, targeted literally to any user of Wrike, regardless of his level of ownership of the product, whether beginners (in this case, webinars are devoted to reviewing the main functions) or advanced users. We want to make webinars informative, exciting and useful, so we continue to work on improving their quality by talking to experts on this topic. Today I want to share with you a conversation with Kristen Klein . She is a customer marketing manager at Zoom , which is considered one of the leading platforms for video communications in the professional market. I hope this material will help you in preparing webinars and video presentations.
Artem: Good afternoon, Kristen! Thank you for agreeing to meet me. I thought that it would be great to take advantage of your experience and talk about webinars.
Artem: Then I'll go straight to the questions. What, in your opinion, is the best way to involve people in the dialogue? I had a lot of situations when we told our participants the plan of the webinar, they answered: "Well, we hear you". And this our communication throughout the entire webinar was limited. Next - a monologue.
Kristen: There are several different ways to engage the audience in a discussion. We like to periodically start an informal chat, before asking participants to answer the question, where did they join us. This is the simplest question anyone can answer, but after that it becomes easier for people to get involved in the discussion.
Conducting webinars in Zoom, we often use polls. They allow you to quickly involve those present in the conversation and establish contact with them. We also ask participants to write the available questions in the "Questions and Answers" section immediately after the beginning of the webinar. In this case, we do not have to wait until the end of the session, besides, it helps to avoid uncomfortable pauses that may arise when moving to the part of answers to questions. If the speaker is satisfied with this approach, then we answer some of the questions that have arisen already in the course of the webinar.
Artem: Can you give some examples of surveys that can work?
Kristen: For example, when we conduct webinars devoted to launching a product, we ask something like "How familiar are you with Zoom Rooms?". The answers of the participants can turn out to be the exact opposite of those who are not already familiar with our conferencing solution, to those who already use this product and want to learn about its new functions and capabilities. And most recently we held a webinar on how to feel confident during the video presentation, and asked the audience "How confident you feel when you're on video". Questions for surveys vary depending on the content of the webinar, but their task is to involve listeners in the presentation process.
Artem: Those. you want to say that first conduct a survey, and then build up further communication with those present based on the results obtained, right?
Kristen: Exactly. We show the results of an audience survey. This is useful in the presentation process. We have a general plan for the webinar, and we usually follow it, but based on the results we can slightly adjust it. We can dwell in more detail on some particular issue depending on the audience's answers.
Artem: I must admit, several times I tried to use polls, but they did not work. I do not know why, I need to analyze the reasons more carefully. So, what about the process of preparing for a webinar, which besides planning can be useful to sound confidently during it? What would you suggest?
Kristen: If you are new to this business, or for the first time you try yourself in video format (only started to hold presentations on video communication), then I would advise first of all to try to write yourself down and carefully review what has happened. Make sure that you look at the camera, look professional, and nothing around you is distracting. And then the matter of practice and knowledge of the material. In the process of preparation, we conduct test recordings before going online to evaluate the progress of the presentation and its content.
Artem: How do you think, how much should the webinar ideally last?
Kristen: Our experience shows that the webinar itself should last about 30 minutes, plus 15 minutes for questions and answers. It turns out, all together about 45 minutes.
Artem: And what is better - one leading or several? In Wrike, we use both options. If the topic of the webinar is uncomplicated, then, as for me, and one presenter is enough. But if it's a one-time big webinar, then I'd opt for a few leading ones. At least just to add a second voice. What do you think about this?
Kristen: We are for both options. We recently conducted a webinar on "How to make podcasts using Zoom". We had two hosts, which in the process of the webinar were interrupted by the audience, which created the impression of a dialogue. I do not think that the number of speakers strongly influences if the content is interesting, and the speaker keeps confidently throughout the entire video.
Artem: If the topic is very important, we usually leave all the questions at the end of the webinar. As you said, we give 10-15 minutes for this part. We do not interrupt the questions during the webinar. Since they found that opening a chat in the middle of a webinar, the participants' questions might be too specific, which in the end could completely disrupt the entire session and lead the discussion away from the stated topic. What advise to do in these situations?
Kristen: Since the questions are asked in the "Questions and Answers" section, as a presenter, you can decide for yourself what questions you want to answer. If the question is narrower or more specific, then it is better to answer it at the end of the webinar. If you receive questions from participants with a request to clarify or clarify something that you are talking about now, it is important to answer them on the go. If you leave them at the very end, then most likely you will lose your audience.
Artem: And how do you get the idea to answer such questions after the webinar by email?
Kristen: Yes, this is a working option. If someone was not able to get a proper answer during the webinar, we try to mark this on ourselves and then make sure that someone will contact the authors of the question and help them figure it out. In the end, we want our clients to have only positive experience with us.
Artem: And if after a webinar you get a negative reaction? I do not mean technical remarks like "the sound was terrible", but I'm talking about comments about the content or the presenter. Would you also contact the webinar with these people to find out what they did not like?
Kristen: Oh sure. If we are not able to solve the questions during the webinar, then we will contact this person after him.
Artem: I had a lot of situations when we received completely opposite responses to the same webinar. So, for example, I upload the report and see that one person wrote "the webinar was conducted at a good level, the presenter kept to the optimal pace" and "well opened the topic," while someone noted "the content was intended for advanced users, I was overloaded with terminology. " Can you give some advice?
Kristen: The audience's opinion will vary depending on the experience of each person. We often indicate for our attendees our other training events or webinars in case they have questions, or if they need training.
Artem: Thank you! And the last question. What if the new employee in the company is just getting acquainted with the format of the webinars, and his or her leader says "well, tomorrow you need to hold this session". What should he do first?
Kristen: First of all, he needs to get acquainted with the technical side of the issue. Run the session in test mode, carefully review it, make sure that you understand how to share content, where to find questions for viewers and how to answer them. And then just practice, practice and practice.
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