Now you have everything set up, and it is time to give your first webinar presentation. But is there anything else can you do last minute to make sure everything is in order before you go live? In this video, author Richard Harrington shares his checklist of what to do before you start your webinar broadcast.
- So it's time to give your webinar. Hopefully you've watched this entire course, but what I'd like to do now is recap some of the top issues you'll face, as well as give you a couple of extra pieces of advice that'll help your webinar run smoothly. Here's my checklist of what to do before you start the webinar. This should be done starting about two hours before the event. Before you go live, make sure you consider these things. I always suggest that you double-check the content and make sure that it's organized.
Do you have all the assets that you're planning on showing? Is your presentation backed up, any sample files that you're going to open? Send out a last-minute reminder via email and social media. Additionally, if you have access to services like Hootsuite, consider scheduling a few social media posts for right before and during the event to remind people or give them the link for last-minute attendees. Check your Internet connection. I've said this several times, but the one variable that I can't control is the Internet connection.
And what will happen is things that were working just fine can go terribly wrong. So even though you checked it the day before, make sure you check it just before going live and that you check it early enough in case there is an issue so that you can switch to your backup plan. And make sure that that backup plan is in place. Can you get home for your home office? Do you have a cellular connection that's working? Remove any distractions. This can include making sure that your privacy screen is up, but also making sure that the phone is turned off.
Put your phone on mute or silence or even in airplane mode. Turn off your desk phone. Make sure that your email application isn't in the background pulling down messages that are going to be making a pinging sound as they download to your computer. Double-check your cables. Make sure that everything from your microphone, to your camera, to your Internet connection is firmly seated. Right here I've actually applied a small piece of black tape cementing the cables in place. And they have no tension on them, but they're not going to easily pull out.
This will cut down on any issues or a cable falling through during the presentation. Clean the lens of your camera, whether it's with the lens pen that I showed you earlier or a simple eyeglass cloth. Make sure that there's not a giant fingerprint right across your face. Run through the slides and demo assets. Not only are they organized, but refamiliarize yourself with the content and ensure that everything opens correctly. And set up that monitoring station with a second computer or a tablet. This way you can see what the audience is seeing.
And worse case scenario, you might even switch to that as a secondary presenting station if something goes wrong. Create a single document with all of the links that you need in it. Make sure you've got the logins and the passwords saved. Go ahead and create a text document with the URL for the presenter, the control room, any of those settings, where attendees can login. Make sure that any links that you need are all in one document or sticky note on your computer for quick and easy access.
And email that to you in case you have to switch devices or send it to someone else. Make sure that a second station is set up, logged in, and ready to go. This is a secondary presenter station in case something were to go wrong in your computer. When giving a webinar, I'll typically have one laptop in front of me, but I'll have one right off to the side that I can easily reach. It's already logged in and set up as a second presenter. That way if anything goes wrong with the computer, from a crash to some sort of hiccup, I can smoothly switch from one computer to the next and be back online within 30 seconds.
Now, I realize that not everyone has the benefit of having multiple computers accessible to them, but if the webinar is important, see if you can borrow one from a friend, a family member, or a coworker so you have a backup plan. Additionally, take care of the creature comforts. Make sure you have a glass of water nearby so you can solve any lip smacks or dry mouth. Eat a small meal before you present. You don't want your stomach growling, and you don't want low blood sugar in the middle of a long presentation.
But don't eat so much that you become sluggish or need to leave to use the restroom. Before you present, take any of those bio breaks or bio steps that are necessary. Remember, in the middle of the webinar, you often can't take breaks. Now, some presenters will schedule bio breaks in a longer webinar, both for their audience's benefit and their own. But make sure you either have something like a prerecorded video loaded that you can switch to or have it called out in the agenda and identify it ahead of time that you might take a few short breaks so people can stretch the legs, get a breath of fresh air, or use the restroom.
But as the presenter, make sure you get this out of the way. Don't skip this step and say, "It's not a problem," because in the middle of the webinar it might be a problem. Also, when possible, make sure you've budgeted enough time for just 15 minutes of relaxing or meditation before you present. Deep breathing, non-stressful time, a little bit of fresh air or a chance to close your eyes, not to fall asleep and miss your own webinar, but so that you go into the webinar relaxed and not stressed.
This means that you need to log in at least 15 minutes early, if not 30 minutes early to check things so you can have that pad time at the end for a little bit of relaxing so you're a calm and focused presenter. And what's often skipped is start a backup recording. There's a wealth of screen capture software out there. If you're on a Mac, you can even use QuickTime Player built-in to record your screen. Many webinar platforms will give you access to screen recording software, and they'll make their own recording but doing your own backup is quite useful.
There are tools like iShowU, ScreenFlow, Snagit, Camtasia. There are many options available, and you'll find training in the online library on many of them. Doing a backup recording so you have a second copy is really good. That way if there's any problem with your webinar provider really flaking out or something going wrong, you still have a recorded copy that you can share with others. All right, those are the steps before going live. We're going to take a look at two platforms quickly to give you some ideas on how to put these steps into action.
- Choosing the right webinar platform and host
- Organizing your content
- Planning for audience participation
- Inviting attendees to the webinar
- Setting up your presentation computer
- Selecting a microphone for a webinar
- Using a pro camera via Thunderbolt or USB 3
- Adding a VR camera
- Optimizing slides for a webinar
- Holding a rehearsal event