How to host your own webinars How to host your own webinars
With the right tools and a little know-how, reaching a wide audience with a DIY webinar is even easier than you think! How to host your own webinars

Online webinars are a great way for companies to communicate whatever they need to get out there, whether that’s to their own staff, their suppliers, or their customers.

Companies use them to reach out to their customers to show off new offers, to conduct training, and to get their message to new audiences entirely. They are supremely useful, in other words, and all they really require is an audience, a smartphone or laptop, and an internet connection.

But to the uninitiated, webinars can seem to be complex events with many moving parts that require tons of IT knowledge to pull off, especially to smaller companies that don’t have a lot of internal IT expertise.

We’re here to tell you that this is not, in fact, true. In reality, webinars are incredibly easy to set up, and even easier to make interactive, fun, and compelling.

They’re so easy that literally every organisation can be using them today to expand their customer base, train their staff, conduct user onboarding sessions, or communicate any topic they like.

Best of all? It won’t cost a fortune to do.

Don’t believe us? Read on! This article will tell you how to go about it.

Step 1: Choose your videoconferencing software

Microsoft Teams Live Events is a popular choice for webinars among companies that already use Teams, and it can even reach people outside of your organisation.

If you haven’t yet made the jump to Microsoft’s popular collaboration suite (and you totally should!), there are other options whose functionalities could work for you. Some are free, some aren’t.

If you need a bit of help getting started with a Teams Live Event, click here for Microsoft’s tutorial. It’s easy to follow and doesn’t require that you have a PhD in computer science.

Since all a webinar really needs is a way for participants to connect with you and basic tools like screen-sharing, you might find that the free services on offer are straightforward enough to get the job done quickly and easily.

Step 2: Create a compelling presentation

This part relies entirely on your company’s creative genius. By now most people in business know that a presentation can make or break whatever you’re trying to achieve, so pour your heart into making yours as vibrant, educational, and compelling as possible.

Keep in mind that embedded videos are attention-grabbers, and walls of text read by unenthusiastic presenters are sure to have your audience reaching for the Close button.

The presentation will form the core of whatever you’re trying to communicate, so make it a good one.

Step 3: Make the session interactive

A sure-fire way to guarantee your webinar resonates with your audience is to make it interactive, and interactive in a manner that doesn’t embarrass audience members.

Mentimeter (Menti.com) is a brilliant browser-based service that can run in parallel with your presentation. It allows your audience to give their input on the topics being discussed, live: using Menti you can ask the audience multiple-choice questions and have those answers collated and presented in real time.

Webinar hosts can riff off of this information and display live results, and really make the audience feel like they are involved in what’s going on.

All the audience needs to do is sign into Mentimeter using the number you’ll give them; this connects them with the questions your team has pre-prepared for the webinar, and which will change as the webinar presentation does.

It really is magic; if you haven’t participated in a webinar that uses Mentimeter, you’re truly missing out.

The service’s free option is rather limited at only 2 questions allowed per session, but access to unlimited questions and functionality costs less than R200 a month at the time of writing.

That’s not a lot at all for some truly brilliant functionality.

Step 4: Choose an engaging host

This might be the toughest part of this whole process: conducting your webinar with your most knowledgeable and charismatic employee.

Webinars conducted by people who clearly don’t want to be there, or who don’t know the subject matter intimately, are sure to drive away participants, so be sure your nominated MC is up for the task.

Step 5: Bring in guest speakers

Variety is the spice of life, and so a great way to keep audience members informed and entertained is to bring in guest speakers that change things up a bit.

The beauty of videoconferencing software is that guest speakers can be just another participant.

When they speak, they will automatically appear on-screen for all other participants, so all you need to do to succeed here is to make sure your chosen speakers are present and willing to speak. Easy!

EZPZ webinars

And that’s all you need to know about doing webinars yourself. It really is a simple matter of choosing and setting up your software, creating compelling content, picking the right people, and having at it.

If you’re worried about it, try a dry run before going live with your employees or other trusted individuals. We’re sure it won’t take long at all before you’re ready for prime time.

We wish you all the best in your future webinar endeavours!

[Image: Microsoft]

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