With the new, more virtual-work friendly economy evolving due to COVID-19, webinars are becoming increasingly important. Whether you’re a presenter, co-host or attendee, it’s pretty important that you use basic etiquette during the webinar. Let’s go over some webinar etiquette for each role.
Webinar Etiquette for Presenters
If you want your attendees to get the most out of your webinar and even look forward to your next, these webinar etiquette tips will help you.
Practice using the software in advance so that you know that everything works well. Also, create a presentation using something like PowerPoint, or at the very least make a list of the points you want to cover. This ensures that you can stick to your timeline and not miss any of your points. Always test your hardware, speakers, and mics and so forth in advance too. Ensure that your room is quiet without outside distractions that will keep you from being able to do a good job.
Of course, things can still go wrong – and they do – being prepared will help you pivot more quickly when you need to. For example, I’ve been using Zoom to share slides during a Facebook Live seminar. After doing this for several weeks with no problem, I couldn’t connect to Facebook Live with Zoom for a couple of weeks. When that happened, because I knew my other options, I was able to pivot and still hold my seminar, just not according to my original plan.
Offer Tech Support
Explain in emails the technical aspects of attending the webinar, including computer requirements and where they can get help if needed. Remember that not everyone understands how to use webinar software, and this may be something new for them. Offer as much help as you can.
Make Eye Contact
This may seem impossible due to the nature of webinars, but it’s not. In many cases when you’re being filmed, they say not to look directly at the camera. But in this case, you want to look at your camera at least occasionally, if not most of the time. That will be how you make eye contact with your audience during a webinar. It can be very distracting to the audience if your eyes look closed due to reading your notes too much.
Remember Your Body Language
Even during a webinar, it’s important that you have good body language. You want to demonstrate your openness and honesty. Aside from making eye contact, that would include standing up or sitting up straight, using hand gestures carefully and not hunching over your desk.
Stick to Your Timetable
You want to start on time and end on time to show respect for your audience, as well as to honor your own time constraints. People really do appreciate it when a presenter sticks to the timetable.
Are you afraid of being on camera? Check out my article on overcoming camera shyness.
Webinar Etiquette for Co-Presenters
Are you Batman or Robin? When you are a co-presenter, you need to be mindful that this is not necessarily your webinar and act accordingly. Follow these tips and you won’t go wrong.
Ask Your Host
In advance of the event, ask your host how they envision your role. That will help you know what is expected of you.
Pay attention to what your presenter is saying and pipe in when a point needs to be made or confirmed. Take the time to look at the chat going on during the webinar in order to address issues. It may help to make a list of links and comments to help audience members. You can then just cut and paste these to respond to frequently asked questions or potential common questions.
Be careful not to take over. You’re in an assistant position and you don’t want to take over from the presenter. Consider turning off your microphone to avoid the typing sound taking over if you’re helping people in chat. Plus, if you have to turn on your mic to talk, you’ll be a lot less likely to be tempted to take over.
Webinar Etiquette for Attendees
You want to get the most out of the webinar, right? And, I hope that you want the same for your fellow attendees, as well. These webinar etiquette tips will help you do both.
Check Your Software
Double-check your software prior to the day of the webinar. You want to ensure that you have no issues so you can give your full attention to the webinar and not tech issues. If you have questions, contact the presenters prior to the event, giving them plenty of time to respond.
Mute Your Mic
Most of the time, the presenter will have control of the mic. But if not, go ahead and mute your mic so that you will not disturb anyone with your typing or any other noises in your surroundings.
Wait until the Q & A portion of the event to ask questions and pay attention to the event rather than chat about things in the chat window. Even if chat is available, it’s better to pay close attention to what is being presented.
As you can see, basic etiquette for webinars isn’t much different from any other social event. Wait your turn to talk, don’t try to take over, and most of all pay attention to what is going on. Follow these tips and everyone will have a better webinar experience.