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A 47-Point Guide for First-Time Webinar Success

by Agnieszka Wilinska  |  
March 7, 2012

In this article, you'll learn...

  • Tips for delivering an effective webinar presentation
  • What to do before, during, and after you presentation for optimal results

I wonder what a television studio was like in the beginning, when even the commercials were live. A microphone that went dead meant that viewers were suddenly watching a broadcast with no sound. Imagine the panic.

I imagine those mishaps weren't funny at the time. Or maybe they were. But with or without the funny goofs, live TV was compelling entertainment, and it quickly expanded, and ultimately, dominated the world of entertainment.

Until the Web came along.

Today's Web equivalent of early live TV is probably the webinar, an online seminar with a live audience that can also "change the channel" if things go wrong.

But they likely wouldn't change the channel. Here's why: Live webinars are compelling, just like live TV. Both are synchronous events in an asynchronous world of email, voicemail, and even social media.

Audiences understand that things can go wrong. In fact, that's part of the attraction to live presentations. They empathize with the presenter, imagining the pressure of live performance.

So a webinar goof doesn't have to be a disaster. Does that make it OK to run a sloppy webinar? No. Careful planning demonstrates respect for your audience members, respect for their time, and respect for the needs that brought them to you. You owe them careful planning.

Here are 47 tips for hosting a successful webinar that'll wow your audience.

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Agnieszka Wilinska is brand manager at ClickMeeting, a provider of Web-conferencing software and services.

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  • by Sally Erickson Wed Mar 7, 2012 via web

    Thank you Agnieszka, for your long list of tips. I'm hoping that Webineers out there will use just half of them to improve the Webinar output that we all have endured.
    We put up with the "live TV" aspect hoping to find the answers to problems we have, but sometimes the effort is fruitless. There is nothing I hate so much as suffering through a poorly done webinar to discover it was just an intro to another webinar.
    In looking through your tips again, as an attendee, I'm concerned with #15 - The professional-ness of the presentation, then #19-23 about PowerPoint slides and organizing materials ahead of time, and timing. Ad-libs are OK, but not the whole presentation, please.
    Paid or not, attendees have expectations. I'm hoping Agnieska's suggestions point a few Webineers in the right direction and that I'm in the audience when they do.

  • by Donald Wood Wed Mar 7, 2012 via web

    I have presented two webinars so far. My preparation first consisted of watching many webinars to see their presentation, pace and outline. If a presenter is consistently getting a large turnout and response, they are probably worth emulating. I also use my iPad to sign in as a participant and to be sure of what the audience is seeing.

  • by Grzegorz Wojcik Wed Mar 7, 2012 via web

    Thank you for very useful tips.

    When planning webinar for international audience it is good to remember about time zones of your potential or preferred attendees.

  • by Laura Haight Thu Mar 8, 2012 via web

    Great list. You can't underestimate planning and preparation. It can make the difference between a professional online event and a disaster. You can't know what could happen - suddenly losing audio, slides don't work, a presenter drops off - but the more experience you or your support team has the easier it will be to work around the problems and continue with the least disruption. Spend time on prepping. It pays off.

  • by Sharon Burton Thu Mar 8, 2012 via web

    These are all good tips. I'm so tired of sitting thru poorly run and managed webinars. I just released a book called 8 Steps to Amazing Webinars, available at to try to help people make the experience better.

  • by scout Sun Mar 11, 2012 via iphone

    Nice list. Tip for #27-28: managing your desktop. I have a separate user account on my computer just for presentations. No email, just the files and shortcuts needed. Specially designed desktop. Always ready. Try it. Cheers!

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