Creating and Conducting Engaging Webinars
Want to give a great webinar? Using the technology is just part of giving a good presentation. Use this checklist and the tips below to help you better engage your audience - Why? So they pay attention, learn (and are so engrossed they forget to check their email…!).
Looking for tips on Zoom - See Zoom @ UC ANR
Looking for Webinars on how to give engaging Webinars? Try these:
Engaging Webinars A Short Online Course
How to host Engaging Webinars - The Basics (Video) (eXtension 1hr 27 min)
Engaging Webinars - What works for you? (Video) (Liliana Vega, Russell Hill - 57 min)
How to host Engaging Webinars - Advanced (Video) (Extension 1 hour 32 minutes)
Tips for pre-recording (Fact Sheet) (YanaValachovic)
These tips as a
Explore each element
- Getting Ready
- Present as a Team
- System & Setting Elements
- On the Day - Just Before Starting
- During the Presentation
- Post Webinar
- Editing the Video (in Adobe Premiere)
Who is your audience? Youth, adults? Do you need information about them or their needs? How will you identify this information? Implement adult learning strategies or youth learning strategies as needed. What are their needs? For a deeper dive: Knowles 5 Assumptions of Adult Learners; 4 Tips for Teaching Online (Youth)
Purpose and Structure
Have clear learning objectives – what should people know or be able to do at the end? How will you know if you were successful? Is your content meant for a training? Interview? A discussion – “fireside chat”? Panel of experts? Informed Q&A? Decide whether your content is more suitable for a long comprehensive webinar or a “mini” workshop that shares main points. If longer, breakup the class into digestible sections, with Q&A or questions after each. Plan for how your presentation transitions best from one topic to the next.
Length? Length depends on purpose and learning objectives!
UC IPM’s experience is that for a one-hour webinar the presentation should be just about 40 to 45 minutes (i.e., about 30–35 slides), allowing time for around 10 knowledge-check questions (multiple-choice, true/false questions), and some time for questions from the audience.
Visuals are better than text-dense slides – especially for webinars.
Keep it interesting by moving things along visually. Use these tips to keep your presentation simple, with limited text and animation, high quality graphics…etc.
Here's 8 tips for your slides (UC IPM)
Here's a note on ADA compliance in slides along with an easy-to-use tool from Microsoft in ppt to check accessibility: Accessibility Checker. If that doesn't get you there, then do this if you don't see the Accessibility Checker
Build in question slides, polls. Poll options include Zoom polls ; Polls everywhere ; mentimeter
Build in awareness of chat (as well as Q&A when using zoom webinar).
Plan to pause and ask for input and respond to it.
Questions. Make it clear that it is question time. You might have a slide “Do you have questions” or have questions for input. Do this often.
Here's tips for polls & online tests Fact sheet (UC IPM)
Marketing & Webinar Access
What are your marketing plans? How will you engage your audience before they participate? Do you want to notify local media and/or key partners?
Consider registration (if you want to track participation) and a brief survey with registration (to learn about needs).
Once your attendees have registered, plan on sending at least 3 reminders before the event with the link and information about Zoom or the app you are using. Include both zoom and phone numbers (the latter in case they have wi-fi issues). Will you send them any brief with details before the event?
Are the opening & closing slides branded correctly? Check the Strat Com Communications Toolkit. You can include both the UC ANR with other relevant logos (e.g., UC IPM, UC MG, UC 4-H, etc.). (Download PPT slides)
Stewarding the UC ANR Brand - Video (5:30)
Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice presenting until you feel comfortable- record yourself for a portion to watch how you present. If you are referring to notes, make sure you are not bobbing your head up and down or ruffling paper. Time your practice sessions to make sure it fits into your designated presentation length.
Use these additional tips if you are pre-recording
Plan to evaluate learning (e.g., Zoom poll or Qualtrics in chat) during or at the end. Plan on following up with attendees via email with an evaluation link.
Here's tips for polls & online tests Fact sheet (UC IPM)
Here's Two Examples:
Registering a Webinar with DPR for CEUs (Fact sheet from UC IPM)
Co-present –A mix of 2 or more presenters makes it more interesting. More presenters means more practice. Focus on the order of speakers and flow from one speaker to the next.
Have co-host(s) to enhance engagement and help with:
- Chat Box management - Ask someone who is tech savvy and a content expert to manage and answer questions or direct questions to the presenter.
- Q&A (for zoom webinars) – Q&A is good for content related questions while chat is good for other comments/questions including tech questions.
- Poll Management
- Muting & Waiting Room management (if used)
- Breakout Rooms (only available in Zoom meetings - not Zoom webinars)
- Another panelist that can tell you if they observe an issues with your audio, PPT loading..etc.
- Spotter - someone who sees what the audience sees and can inform the presenter if there are issues
- Send presentation to another person who can ad hoc share it if the presenter gets stuck
Have more than one co-host with a copy of the presentation. If the presenters system crashes the alternate co-host can continue facilitating and sharing the presentation.
If you plan to record and post, remember to get the consent from "outside" speakers. See the UC ANR model release form
Test, Test, Test
Test all aspects of your presentation (i.e. video, polls, audio, breakout rooms. Perform a live test of the webinar or meeting with all speakers present using the hardware and software they will be using during the live event. Also, ideally, they will be in the location, using the same internet connection they will be using for the live event. Do this test 3-5 days prior to the live event.
Get the Right Background
Identify a well lit spot with a professional background. Busy backgrounds make it harder to watch you if you’re in full screen mode, and harder to see overall. What setting do you have?
Have Good Audio
Good Sound is key. A quality microphone is best. Otherwise, use a headset with built-in microphone (similar to your cell phone headset).
Does your computer have all the updates? Have you switched-off potentially distracting programs & apps (outlook, messenger, skype, etc.)
Meeting or Webinar?
I have Zoom Meeting, but want Zoom Webinar? Then contact
Zoom options - see more at "Manage Participants" on how to manage:
- Waiting room – set up prior to starting the meeting. Participants remain in a “waiting room” until the host brings them in.
2. Password– Beginning May 30, 2020 Zoom will require passwords for all meetings as the default.
- Locked meetings– If someone joins late, the host must monitor the waiting room and invite them into the meeting. So that is the “lockout” feature.
- Uninvited participants - Hosts can "remove" individuals at any time for any reason. Hosts can also mute everyone and not allow them to use their microphones.
Pre-check and Practice
Log in early (e.g., 30 minutes) to practice with your Presentation Team. Test the sound system before you start. Check videos, polls and other tools you plan to use.
Avoid Distractions in the Setting
Set up to avoid distractions like dogs and phones ringing; turn off internal computer notifications like that of email messages
Now is the time to use your team. Let the presenters present and engage and have your co-host(s) help by managing:
- Chat Box – Have them manage and answer questions or direct questions to the presenter(s).
- Q&A (for zoom webinars)
- Muting & Waiting Room (if used)
- Breakout Rooms
In the Beginning
Remember to hit record! (if you want it recorded)
In the beginning, make sure people can see you - your eyes and smile. This helps build trust. Share your name and credentials with your audience.
Get the audience engaged from the start - e.g., ask them an open ended question that they can type into the chat or do a poll (See IPM example) or have them annotate a map or figure (if in Zoom meeting). This will set the tone from the very beginning that they will be engaged.
From the beginning also share with your audience technical things such as:
- The chat box – add your comments/topic questions. Share who is managing the chat box and how they might be able to help you.
- Q&A box – If you are using a Q&A box explain for what it will be used. e.g., add your topic questions there and our tech help will respond to you.
- Sometimes polls lag, so give them some time to pop up.
Let them know if the webinar will be recorded and how they can find it.
Always assume there will be new users to your Zoom platform. Spotters can then inform the presenters if something is amiss.
Mix it Up!
What they see. You don’t have to be on camera all times. When you want someone to focus on your slides, turn off off your camera.
It’s okay to stand up (if possible), and/or use your normal hand gestures.
What they hear. Vary your voice as appropriate (pace, volume, inflection). The reason radio stations will have multiple people on a show, is because it makes it more interesting. So, when there is only one person – modulate!
Use pauses but … Don’t talk all the time – but recognize silence might seem longer in a webinar. Indicate if you are going to be silent for a while.
Use the opportunities you have built in to your presentation to comment, respond, ask for input, do polls, etc. Read comments from the chat (and Q&A if available) - use people’s names when recognizing input or questions.
Unless it is a small well known group, collect their questions using Q&A or Chat. This way questions stay visible until you respond to them. Questions in Chat can get missed if there is a lot discussion going on.
It's best to not have participants ask questions as their audio settings often aren’t right and some participants might seek to dominate.
Be clear on the time frame (beginning and end) and stick to it.
Take breaks - if you do go beyond an hour, then offer a break. Let people get up and move!
Have a Plan B
Others on your team should have a copy of your presentation in case you have technical issues. They can share their screen and provide the slide deck.
Post-webinar actions fact sheet
Look through the chat record to see if there are areas you need to address in a possible FAQ – post event.
Consider the social aspect of your participants. Engage with your participants after the event—leverage twitter or private discussion boards. This means participants can stay connected to each other and to your material. This step might require registration for the event.
Editing your Webinar video
Loading to Youtube and other platforms?
If you plan to post your webinar on YouTube or other platform, remember that:
- No Continued Education Units can be awarded based on watching the recorded webinar.
- Zoom recording doesn’t include polls because they are presented as pop-up windows. If you want to include them, you will need to capture them as screen shots and then edit them into the recorded video.
- Auto closed captions created by YouTube are generally not sufficient for meeting the Americans with Disabilities Act/Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and you will need to edit them. That is time consuming! (See Zoom Accessibility FAQ)
- Other legal considerations
tips on Zoom - See Zoom @ UC ANR
Webinar tip sheet (UC ANR)
18 tips on how to conduct and engaging webinar (Olivia Mitchell)