How to ruin your webinar – with bad timing

birdnestImage © Simon Adams, used with permission

A good webinar is built piece by piece, with each piece fitting together like a bird’s nest. When that happens, it looks elegant, runs smoothly to time and everyone benefits. All because you prepared it properly.

By the day of your webinar, you will have have already trimmed your presentation and rehearsed it. You’ve put a lot of work into getting it right – for goodness sake, don’t ruin it at the last minute by not allowing time to present it right.

There are three places to ruin your webinar – before you start, in the middle and at the end. The bit in the middle you’ve already dealt with by prepping right. You’ve a slick presentation with plenty of interaction.


How can you ensure you shine at the start and finish on a high?

The start: Having presented and hosted hundreds of webinars, I can say that the closest to disaster I’ve ever come is by not allowing enough time at the start. Far better to have time on your hands before the start than to be scrambling to fix an unforeseen technical issue with the clock ticking down. So turn up early.

The end: If you follow my guidelines of asking open questions and presenting with a host,  you’ll generate plenty of questions during the presentation. Provide enough Q&A time to deal with them well, providing real value to the participants.

What does all this mean in practice? It means a running order that looks something like this:

45 mins before start
Host logs in, checks the webinar space is ready, uploads any materials
Starts chat session with welcome text
Ensures housekeeping slides (including title) are correct and uploaded

30 mins before start
Speaker logs in, does sound check
Host and speaker confirm who does what, when
Speaker checks all action – showing video, moving slides, changing presenter, etc.
Host solves any technical issues
Host checks speaker’s mobile phone number for emergencies
Host and speakers on mute

5 mins before start
Host begins to talk to participants
Warm up activity can start (if used)
Speaker warms up

Host covers housekeeping, introduces speaker and topic

Start + 3 mins
Host begins recording
Speaker begins presentation

Start + 40 mins
Speaker finishes presentation
Host begins Q&A

Start + 55 mins
Host thanks speaker, audience
Host stops recording
Host runs through outro slides

Start + 60 mins
Host thanks speaker and audience again
Host ends meeting

Start + 65 mins
Host calls speaker to thank him or her and debrief

Webinars are a powerful delivery mechanism. They are not difficult to run well – just ensure you have enough time, especially at the beginning. Give yourself that time, and you will shine.

Good luck with your next event!

This post is based on an extract from my ebook Webinar Master. Click to buy the book

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