How to Host a Webinar for the First Time

Don't know how to host a webinar yet? First of all,  let's talk about what a webinar is.

Web based seminars, popularly known as webinars, provide a unique, dynamic, and interactive means of conveying information to an audience of as few as 3 or as many as 30 participants, that could be located in different geographical locations, at the same time.

Free online webinars can be used to hold workshops, project presentations, and large-scale lectures on a low-cost budget.

Companies and small businesses can significantly save on time, money and resources previously spent on travel, hiring venues, and catering when organizing a meeting or workshop simply by holding free online webinars.

However, there are several factors you need to know on hosting a webinar successfully. The following topics will be quite helpful when you start thinking of how to host a webinar that will not only be interesting and engaging but generate good leads too.

How to Host a Webinar Like a Pro

Presenting your Material

The success of any webinar largely depends on proper planning and preparation.

Most importantly, plan your message and practice presenting your material.

A key component of conferencing services is the ability to share your computer screen so that you can present images, diagrams, or bullet points as the visual component of the meeting. 

Alternatively, you may want to view the attendees and have them see you for a true video conference.

Whatever format you use for delivering your message, it is critical that you do a full scale rehearsal before the live event.  You don't want to look unprepared by fumbling with your computer, forgetting to record the session, or not knowing how to operate the controls during your webinar.

Schedule a practice session as soon as possible.  If necessary, schedule a group of friends or family as guinea pigs for your test session.  Then repeat as much as needed to get to a polished presentation.

Scheduling Your Webinar

Choose a date that is convenient to your expected audience well in advance. It is highly recommended that you refer to an event or holidays calendar before you pick the date and time of your webinar.

Consider the diversity of your audience as well.  Some cultures may have holidays while others are hard at work, so check closely.

Remember you may be inviting a good number of people who have their own busy schedules which is why you should give them ample time to adjust their schedules and make time for your webinar.

You should also consider differences in time zones when scheduling the webinar. Avoid scheduling the event when most of the expected attendees are out of office or at the end of the day when everyone has left the office to unwind and relax with friends.  If you know you'll be dealing with multiple time zones, use extra care to find a time that works for everyone.

How to Host a Webinar: Promote It

Another important consideration in planning a commercial or sales type webinar is the topic or headline you choose for the event. Use a catchy phrase or title that is not only relevant to the theme of the webinar but with a good search potential too. Such a headline will be compelling to people interested in your content and easy to promote through search engines.

There are many free online webinars being held across the Internet every day. You need to make yours stand out in the crowd by publicizing it far and wide.  Social media, subscriber lists, and paid ads are a few approaches to getting the word out.

If you are charging for the event, make sure you have promoted the event in relevant places a few weeks before the designated day. You can effectively promote the webinar by emphasizing the value or benefits the audience will get from the event. 

Highlight special offerings such as access to a recording after the live webinar. This can be important for 2 reasons.  First, it may save you having to give refunds if your customer can't attend at the last minute.  Second, people like to be able to have a replay to capture any points they may have missed the first time.

Find the Right Webinar Service

AnyMeeting control screen

AnyMeeting Web Conferencing Service

There are many webinar software tools and services in the market designed to meet your online seminar needs. A good tool such as the AnyMeeting service  comes with a variety of features for all types of web conferencing events.

AnyMeeting offers a free version that is supported by ads, but there are even more features available in their paid subscriptions.  Once you know what you need for your webinar you can determine whether to use the free version or not.  But be sure to test drive it before your live event to make sure the ads won't be too distracting to your audience.

AnyMeeting comes with a survey tool that can be used to enhance interaction with the webinar audience. Conducting your webinar using an effective tool such as AnyMeeting will help you to evaluate your audience's receptiveness to your content.

Surveys can be used to add interesting facts to your presentation, as well as to provide feedback on your webinar.

The free offering from AnyMeeting may not have all the features you need, but the next service level might be a good fit. Weigh the costs and benefits carefully.

When you're learning how to host a webinar for the first time, the free version of AnyMeeting can be a big help, even if you don't end up using it for the live event.  Most services operate similarly and just doing it with your presentation material will help you feel more confident.

However, the tool you choose will largely depend on the type of webinar you are holding.

Take time to research different tools with special attention to features that are relevant to your webinar.

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