Webinar (synonym: online seminar, web conference) is an online meeting or presentation held via the Internet in real time. To put it simply, it is an online event, which connects individuals with viewers across the world.
The main feature of live webinars is interactivity, or the ability to discuss, send and receive information in real time. During an event, you can start polls, invite other participants to act as a presenter, communicate via online chat, share desktop and use a variety of digital materials.
Here are the main features of the webinars:
- Multidirectional conference.
- Ability to download and watch presentations and videos.
- Text chat.
- Digital board.
- Polls and surveys.
- Desktop sharing as a presenter.
- Recording broadcasts to watch later.
Advantages of Webinars
Online seminars are convenient for both presenters and attendees. This is why the format is becoming more and more popular every year.
Webinars make holding conferences and meetings possible at any time and place. Anyone can participate in a webinar without leaving work or just while staying at home, on a business trip or vacation. No more headache concerning venue rental, coffee breaks and transfers – holding a conference is as easy as several mouse clicks!
How Can Webinars Be Used?
Webinars can be successfully used in all spheres ranging from education to business and corporate training.
As an educator, you can reach a wider audience of students, as they will not have to spend time and money on travel. Participants can just tune into your webinar from home, while on a train or even during a lunch break at work. You can also avoid costs related to venue rental, food and other expenses, which will allow you to charge less for the event and, thus, have more attendees.
Businesses primarily use webinars for training and updating their employees. In today’s fast-paced world, only those who keep up with the industry’s latest trends can succeed. What is more, many companies have employees scattered all over the globe, so it would simply be too expensive to bring them all under one roof.
Marketing is an area, where webinars can bring the most benefit. First of all, an online meeting showcasing your product is likely to draw more attention, as video content generates on average two times more engagement.
Secondly, such webinars help you build a long-term personal relationship with your customers. When you explain how the product works, answer questions and follow up with survey afterward, you show that you care.
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What Is Necessary for a Webinar?
For attendees, internet access and an audio headset (headphones, microphone) are vital.
For webinar presenters, it is important to have a stable internet connection, a webcam, a headset and a webinar hosting system.
To hold a webinar, you no longer need to install additional software and special equipment. It is enough to have a computer with internet connection, audio board, acoustic speakers and microphone.
Practically all modern computers have the required components out of the box. On top of that, you do not have to possess any special technical knowledge. If you can use search engines or watch video on YouTube, you can hold a webinar.
How Does a Webinar Work?
Let’s say you already know the topic of your webinar and the amount of time it will take you to present it. What do you do next?
First, you need to schedule the event. It’s easy: just create an account on a webinar platform of your choosing and use the dashboard to set the event’s date, time and duration.
Then comes the most important phase – planning. This is where you can customize the settings to make a webinar go along with your goals and audience’s expectations.
You can also upload additional materials to make the information easier for your audience’s perception. Always double check your webcam, microphone, headset as well as the internet connection before you jump into the event.
So you sent the invitation link to your attendees, checked that everything was ready and started the event. This is your chance to make a lasting impression on your audience and achieve all your goals.
Communication at live webinars goes like the following: you just talk to the audience while sitting in front of a computer or a tablet. But this is not the whole story.
You need to use interactive tools such as desktop sharing to show digital graphs, tables, keynotes and pictures. This will help visualize the information and make it easier for understanding.
Participants watch, listen, and communicate with one another and with you via the chat or the forum. Make sure you answer all questions and reply to all comments. When necessary, any attendee can be given floor. However, it is not possible for you as an instructor to see any of the attendees during a webinar.
If you get hecklers or trolls at your live event, do not panic. Just block them yourself and ask the moderator to do it for you. Focus on providing quality content for your audience.
At the end of the webinar, attendees can exchange questions and answers with one another. Usually, event recording is sent to all participants just in case someone was late or missed the online meeting. It is also a good idea to send a quick survey to the attendees so that you know how to improve in the future.
Now that you know what a webinar is, you are ready to create your first event.
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