The do’s & don’ts of being a webinar host

Webinars have become a powerful way for individuals and organizations to build a solid audience base, nurture relationships, and build authority around a brand. That said, they can be a lot of work.

It is so much more than knocking up a PowerPoint presentation and ad-libbing for 45 minutes. A successful webinar host needs to deliver an engaging topic seamlessly, and interact with the audience at the same time.

Being a webinar host is also about stimulating audiences’ curiosity, inspiring them, and maintaining their interest up to the last minute. Put like that, it doesn’t sound too easy, does it?

So what do you actually need to bring to the table to become a successful webinar host? What mistakes do you need to avoid? What can you do to set yourself up for success? This post will give you the answer to those questions.

The do’s: What you need to do

A well-prepared host will not only increase audience retention, but will also seem more relaxed and highly professional while they deliver a flawless, entertaining, and stimulating webinar. Here are some best practices:

Pick an interesting topic

One of the main reasons why audiences join your webinar is because they’re interested in the topics that you cover. So, consistently picking topics that are relevant and resonate with your audience is crucial.

A more specific topic is always better than a general presentation on a broad subject. Not only will it give the audience more unique values, but it also can help you stay focused and keep your webinar on track, especially during the Q&A.

Also, be sure to provide professional speakers or guests who can give attendees valuable, in-depth information. You and your team can find such speakers on free platforms such as SpeakerHub.

Choose an ideal webinar platform

Picking the webinar platform you’re going to use might sound simple, but with so many options available out there, it can be tricky to choose the best one for you.

Some platforms have too many annoying ads, an overwhelming user interface, a lack of features, and other drawbacks.

An ideal webinar platform needs to work on multiple devices, including desktop and mobile apps. It also should have a friendly user interface that’s easy to use for both presenter and attendees, while still providing the functionality required by you and your speakers.

Pay attention to all the equipment

Webinar technical difficulties are not fun. So make sure that you have all required equipment, including an HD webcam, good lighting, good quality microphones, computer backup, and a reliable internet connection and back-up.

Test your webinar setup before the event starts, just in case you or your guests have any issues with it.

Using high-quality and well-prepared equipment will boost the quality of your webinar, demonstrating to the audience that you’re a professional, and ensuring that they have a great experience.

Practice. Practice. Practice!

“Practice makes perfect.” You might hear that overused adage way too often. But, it’s true.

Rehearse your presentation well in advance. This will ensure you’re prepared, confident, and are ready to answer any questions that might arise during the webinar.

Through practice you’ll understand what needs to be improved, which parts you’re struggling to explain, be able to adjust your pace of delivery, and more. It gives you time to perfect all the issues so that everything goes without a hitch on the day.

The don’ts: The mistakes to be avoided

Apart from following the best practices above, you also need to make sure you avoid the common mistakes made by webinar hosts. Being aware of what these are will help you avoid making them yourself.

Lack of promotion

You’ve known what topic you’ll break down, prepared all the equipment, and had more than enough practice. You feel so ready for the event. What’s left is to let as many people as possible know about it.

Create a landing page on your website so your visitors can sign up seamlessly. Send an email newsletter to your subscribers, tell your social media followers, and more.

To make the announcement more convincing, you could create a short event video to give people an inside look at what they can expect from the webinar.

Choosing a sub-optimal date and time

If you have promoted your webinar in advance, but there are only a few people attending when it goes live, what did you do wrong? It could well be that you chose the wrong day and time.

If the time is not right, then many people will miss out on your webinar.

If you don’t choose a day that works for everyone, then many will skip it.

Also, don’t forget to check for any other conflicting draws for your audience at your chosen date and time. This may be a competitor’s event that targets a similar audience or something completely unrelated such as a major sporting event.

Making the webinar too salesy

Never host a webinar just to promote your products or services. No one wants to spend their precious time hearing you bragging about your brand. In other words, the main purpose of your webinar is to provide value to the audience. And if you can make your tips actionable, even better.

But this doesn’t mean that promoting your brand in the webinar is prohibited. You just need to do it the right way, subtly, without making it the focus. Start by highlighting the audience’s pain points, listen to them, and discuss how they can possibly solve any problems they have. In the course of your presentation it should become clear to them that your brand is one of the solutions they should consider.

Using boring presentation slides

Your presentation slides should be simple, but that doesn’t mean they should be boring. Boring slides use too much text, not enough variation, and can make your audience yawn from just looking at them.

To make them more appealing and eye-pleasing, you need to add visuals. You can use images or charts so as to cut back on the text and help audiences retain your points easily.

Remember that your audience members can’t both read and listen to you at the same time, so don’t give them too much to read if you want them to listen.

Bottom line

Hosting a successful webinar needs a lot of preparation and hard work. Just like anything in life, the more prepared you are, the more successful you will be.

The key here is to understand what you should and should not do. Bearing in mind the points we’ve outlined above, you should be well on your way to becoming a successful webinar host.

Keep this checklist handy and good luck with hosting an amazing webinar!

About the author:

Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order). Twitter: @breadnbeyond | Email: andre@breadnbeyond.com | LinkedIn: Andre Oentoro

This was originally posted on SpeakerHub Skillcamp.