How to hold the perfect webinar

    At Wrike, we take webinars seriously. For us, this is also an educational, marketing tool that allows you to contact a large number of clients at once.

    Every month, employees of the company hold more than 60 sessions targeted at virtually any Wrike user, regardless of their level of product ownership, whether they are beginners (in this case, webinars are devoted to the review of basic functions) or advanced users. We want to make the webinars informative, exciting and useful, so we continue to work on improving their quality, talking on this topic with experts. Today I want to share with you a conversation with Kristen Klein . She holds the position of customer marketing manager at Zoom.which is considered one of the leading platforms for video communications in the professional market. I hope this material will help you in preparing webinars and video presentations.


    Artem: Good afternoon, Kristen! Thank you for agreeing to meet me. I thought it would be great to take advantage of your experience and talk about webinars.

    Kristen: I agree!

    Artem: Then I will go straight to the questions. What, in your opinion, is the best way to engage people in a dialogue? I had a lot of situations when we told the participants our webinar plan, they replied: “Well, we hear you”. And that was how our communication throughout the webinar was limited. Next - a monologue.

    Kristen:There are several different ways to engage an audience in a discussion. We like to periodically launch an informal chat, before asking the participants to answer the question from where they joined us. This is the simplest question that everyone can answer, and after that it becomes easier for people to join in the discussion.
    Conducting webinars in Zoom, we often use surveys. They allow you to quickly engage those present in the conversation and make contact with them. We also ask participants to write existing questions in the “Questions and Answers” ​​section immediately after the webinar starts. In this case, we do not have to wait until the end of the session, besides it helps to avoid uncomfortable pauses that may arise during the transition to a part of the answers to the questions. If the speaker is satisfied with this approach, then we answer some questions that have arisen already during the webinar.

    Artem: Can you give some examples of polls that might work?

    Kristen:For example, when we conduct webinars on product launches, we ask something like, “How familiar are you with Zoom Rooms?”. Answers of participants may be the opposite of those who are not familiar with our conference call solution, to those who already use this product and want to learn about its new features and capabilities. And most recently, we held a webinar on how to feel confident during a video presentation, and asked the audience "How confident you feel at the video call." Questions for surveys vary depending on the content of the webinar, but their task is to engage the audience in the presentation process.

    Artem:Those. you want to say that you first conduct a survey, and then build further communication with the audience based on the results, right?

    Kristen: Exactly. We show the results of the audience survey. This is useful during the presentation process. We have a general plan of the webinar, and we usually follow it, but based on the results we can adjust it somewhat. We can elaborate on a separate question in more detail, depending on the responses of the audience.

    Artem:I must confess that I tried to use polls several times, but they did not work. I do not know why, I need to carefully analyze the reasons. So, and if we talk about the process of preparing for a webinar, that in addition to planning it may be useful to sound confident during it? What would you suggest?

    Kristen:If you are new to this business, or try yourself for the first time in video format (just started to make presentations via video link), then I would advise first of all to try to record yourself and carefully review the result. Make sure you look at the camera, look professional and do not distract anything around you. And then the case of practice and knowledge of the material. In the process of preparation, we conduct test recordings before going online to assess the progress of the presentation and its content.

    Artem: What do you think, how long should the webinar ideally last?

    Kristen: Our experience shows that the webinar itself should last about 30 minutes, plus 15 minutes for questions and answers. It turns out, all together about 45 minutes.

    Artem:And which is better - one lead or several? In Wrike, we use both. If the topic of the webinar is simple, then, as for me, one host is enough. But if this is a one-time large webinar, then I would make a choice in favor of several presenters. At least just to add a second voice. What do you think about this account?

    Kristen: We are for both options. We recently hosted a webinar on “How to make podcasts using Zoom.” We had two presenters who in the process of the webinar were interrupted by questions from the audience, which created the impression of a dialogue. I do not think that the number of speakers is strongly influenced if the content is interesting, and the speaker keeps confidently throughout the entire video.

    Artem:If the topic is very important, we usually leave all the questions at the end of the webinar. As you said: we devote 10-15 minutes to this part. We are not interrupted by questions during the webinar. Since they found that if you open a chat in the middle of a webinar, the participants' questions may be too specific, which in the end may well disrupt the entire session and lead the discussion away from the stated topic. What advise you to do in these situations?

    Kristen:Since questions are asked in the "Questions and Answers" section, as a moderator you can decide for yourself which questions you want to answer. If there is a narrower or specific question, then it is better to answer it at the end of the webinar. If you get questions from the participants asking them to clarify or clarify something that you are talking about now, then it is important to answer them as you go. If you leave them at the very end, then most likely you will lose your audience.

    Artem: How do you like the idea of ​​answering such questions after the webinar by email?

    Kristen:Yes, this is a working version. If someone could not get a proper answer during the webinar, we try to mark it in our room and then make sure that someone will contact the authors of the question and help them to understand. In the end, we want our clients to have only positive experience with us.

    Artem: And if after the webinar you get a negative reaction? I do not mean technical notes like “the sound was terrible,” but I’m talking about comments regarding the content or the presenter. After the webinar, would you also contact these people to find out what they didn’t like?

    Kristen: Yes, of course. If we are unable to resolve issues during the webinar, then we will contact this person after him.

    Artem:I had many situations where we received completely opposite reviews for the same webinar. So, for example, I unload the report and see that one person wrote “the webinar was held at a good level, the moderator adhered to the optimum pace” and “well opened the topic”, at the same time someone noted “the content was intended for advanced users, I was overwhelmed with terminology. ” Can you give some advice?

    Kristen: The opinion of the audience will vary depending on the experience of each person. We often point out for our attendees our other training events or webinars in case they have any questions, or if they need training.

    Artem:Thank! And the last question. What if the new employee in the company is still only getting acquainted with the format of the webinars, and his or her manager says “well, tomorrow you need to hold this session”. What should he do first?

    Kristen: First of all, he needs to become familiar with the technical side of the issue. Start the session in test mode, carefully review it, make sure you understand how to share content, where to find questions from the audience and how to answer them. And then just practice, practice and practice.

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