Mike MacDonagh's Blog

Somewhere in the overlap between software development, process improvement and psychology

Top tips for giving a good webinar

I’ve done a lot of webinars over the years. These tips are mostly specific to using Skype (for teleconferencing) and WebEx (for webcasting)

0. BE PREPARED

As with all presentations/demos you should know your slideware and demo inside out. And have practiced it on the machine that you’re going to use for the webinar!

1. If you can use two screens, do!

  • One for running the webinar WebEx window, chat window, attendees window and Q&A window (all easily undocked)
  • One for running your PowerPoint/demo
  • If you use multiple monitors and you’re not using UltraMon you really have no excuse. Go and get it now! Don’t let their rubbish website put you off it’s a critical tool for windows multiple monitor users.

2. Disable all bandwidth or screen interrupting widgets

  • Outlook, twhirl, yammer, IM, etc. etc.

3. I find that significant animation played well but it’s probably a good idea not to over-do it!

4. Run a PowerPoint optimizer on your presentation before webcasting (pptminimizer recommended)

  • It reduced my graphics heavy presentation from 19.8Mb to 6.3Mb

5. I use skypeout to call the teleconference on my USB speakerphone, that frees me up to use a keyboard/mouse properly

  • When entering the pin number through skype it will pick up your keyboard number pad as a phone keypad if you select the skype window first
  • When entering pins/passcodes using a keyboard do it slowly otherwise the teleconference software won’t understand it. If it rejects the pin try typing it again more slowly.
  • Buy yourself an awesome skype friendly USB speakerphone

6. If you try to login to WebEx before the event has started you need to refresh the page periodically to enable the Join button when the event does start

7. Once the host hands you the presentation rights you should select the Share menu and choose to share an application

  • In my experience doing WebEx demos over the years I’ve found WebEx desktop sharing to be a bit flaky whereas sharing multiple applications is easy and saves you any embarrassment of a popup window showing you message about your bank balance or last night’s shenanigans while webcasting
  • Have the front slide of your presentation up before attendees join so they know they’re in the right place!

8. If you’re going to demo in a browser or show your desktop remove all shortcuts, personal bookmark toolbars and disable content addons that you don’t want the whole world to see.

9. The Attendees window shows you how many people are logged in, when they’ve left at the end beware of them joining back in again if you’re having a private conversation afterwards.

10. If you mention something covered by a later webinar in the series then plug it (view the full set of the IJI webinars here)

  • In fact you should probably have a slide with them on a the end

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2 responses to “Top tips for giving a good webinar

  1. Ryan Brown April 17, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Great tips Mike. What has your experience been with using the integrated audio from Webex? I know they offer a Voip option as well as a telephone call back feature. We used the telephone call back feature and the only hiccup was people at an office extension.

    GoToWebinar has recently upgraded to their 2.0 version which also includes integrated audio – which we’ve found to work very well. The integrated recording of both audio and video offered by Webex and GoToWebinar are essential as well!

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