A Rally Point Webinars White Paper

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The 7 Keys to Running a Glitch-Free Webinar

© 2009 Rally Point Webinars, LLC Rally Point Webinars | 139A Charles Street | Suite 297 | Boston, MA 02114 | 617-517-0720 | www.rallypointwebinars.com

Now. The webinar speaker must be comfortable using the webinar technology. LLC 1Page . If not. when your company’s web-based seminar goes live.m. or will disappoint attendees. the webinar won’t happen. © 2009 Rally Point Webinars. All of this and more must be taken care of. Every attendee needs to access the presentation with their computer and clearly hear it over their telephone or computer speakers. You must quickly troubleshoot whatever problems (invariably) arise.The 7 Keys to Running a Glitch-Free Webinar Introduction Imagine it is 2 p. and your company’s live webinar has just begun. You are responsible for it running flawlessly. This white paper outlines the webinar facilitator’s role and explains the seven keys to running a glitch-free webinar. will end early. you won’t have to worry about how it will end.

you must understand the underlying purpose of each tactic and the job itself. I expect your technology to work. preparation. but they are just the tactics. The Webinar Speaker: The speaker delivers the presentation—the very reason attendees arrive. simply put. LLC 2Page . and management meetings. I’ve fit your one-hour presentation between client projects. and the presentation to deliver the content promised in the event copy. nervousness. I also want you to tell me when I’ll receive the event recording and how I can access a PDF of the presentation slides. To properly facilitate a webinar. The presenter must concentrate on:        Delivering the substance of the presentation Telling stories and anecdotes to illustrate various points Sustaining the energy of the event (because things can get very dull. you to answer my questions promptly. is to serve the webinar speaker(s) and the attendees. It falls to the webinar facilitator to make sure the speaker focuses on those duties and nothing else. I’ve logged onto your webinar. very quickly) Managing the timing of the presentation Recovering from any mistakes or slip-ups (that go noticed or unnoticed) Handling any anxiety. looming report deadlines.The 7 Keys to Running a Glitch-Free Webinar The Role of a Webinar Facilitator “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. You want them to have a first-rate experience. To effectively accomplish that.m. you must understand what the event looks like from their perspective. and attention to do it well.” –Sun Tzu Managing the technical elements of the online event is important. © 2009 Rally Point Webinars. What takeaways do they expect? What does the rest of their day look like? How does your webinar appear on their computer screen? Consider an attendee’s perspective: It’s 1:59 p. The role of the webinar facilitator. or self-consciousness Maintaining focus for the entire event That’s a lot to handle and it takes considerable talent. The Webinar Attendees: Webinar attendees are your company’s prospects and clients.

stop doing it or alter it so that it does. 6. is to do whatever is necessary in order for the webinar speaker to focus entirely on presenting and to set and meet attendees’ expectations. 7. If it doesn’t. © 2009 Rally Point Webinars. The seven keys to serving this principle and running a glitch-free webinar are: 1. LLC 3Page . Mastering the Webinar Technology Preparing the Webinar Room Preparing the Speaker Moderating the Event Caring for Attendees Being the Troubleshooter Adopting the Facilitator Mindset The rest of this whitepaper elaborates on these seven keys. therefore. 4.The 7 Keys to Running a Glitch-Free Webinar The core principle of a webinar facilitator. 3. Every action must connect to this principle. 2. 5.

Research and select a headset that meets your quality standards and then master the audio settings. Internet Audio (VOIP): The webinar presenter(s) and facilitator need a digital headset to broadcast the audio over the Internet. (Two manufactures of these are JK Audio and DynaMetric. 3. Telephone Audio: You will need a teleconference number. For example. Here is what you need to know for all three options: 1.The 7 Keys to Running a Glitch-Free Webinar Key #1: Mastering the Webinar Technology The webinar facilitator is the go-to person for any questions about the event and is solely responsible for its technical success. To do this. over the Internet. it connects the telephone to your computer’s microphone jack. Then learn how to use it. one either assigned by your webinar provider or by a third party. 2. they will probably need to shut down all non-essential applications and adjust their firewall and security settings. for example: the mic settings. Attendees must handle their bundle of settings too to receive the best quality sound. These categories are:  Audio: The webinar audio can broadcast over the telephone. But there are some general categories to focus on.) © 2009 Rally Point Webinars. Research which option is most cost-effective and offers the necessary features. Both: This works when the conference call is used and broadcast over the Internet. LLC 4Page . you must master every aspect of running a webinar. or via both. you will probably need to purchase a “telephone handset audio tap”. your computer’s audio settings. We can’t tell you the precise details of what you need to master because every webinar provider’s technology is different. To be that person. and the webinar provider’s audio settings. The webinar facilitator must give them step-by-step instructions for doing this.

As the facilitator.The 7 Keys to Running a Glitch-Free Webinar  Visual: Webinar technologies variously offer private and public chat features. advise each speaker about which features might serve them best. Make arrangements to back them up. and more. desktop sharing. Principle: You can only be of service if you have mastered every detail of running an event. The recordings are large files.  Recording: Recordings give companies a lasting copy of their one-time events. webinar recording files can get lost or become corrupted. whiteboard overlays.) Not every feature serves each webinar. screen setup flexibility. In the practice sessions. Make sure your webinar technology can create a high-quality audio/visual recording. This allows you to flawlessly facilitate a webinar and to simply explain relevant details to attendees and presenters. It is an important detail to know because costs can add up quickly. Spend time playing around with each feature to master them. Some providers also offer editing features. video feeds. Finally. The best way to learn the technical details and have everything operating in concert is to run several practice events. © 2009 Rally Point Webinars. link sharing. Does your webinar provider host the file or must you find space for it on your company’s server? Some providers will host the files free for six or twelve months and then start charging. Others will host the files and charge you for each time someone views them. (Don’t worry about messing things up during your practice sessions. you will experience the game-day pressure and learn what checklists to create and what shortcomings to address. LLC 5Page . login screen branding. polling. full-screen toggling. This comes in handy when you want to remove unnecessary technical instructions or excerpt part of the event.

it is worth posting such items as: a) b) c) d) The call-in number for telephone audio A number to call for technical support The time the webinar begins and ends (and the Q&A. Therefore. Attendee Care: Attendees ask a variety of questions and can have a number of technical problems throughout the webinar. but that is not sufficient. Upload the slide deck to the webinar provider’s server (which most require) and leaf through each slide to make sure they render correctly and properly display any effects.” Prepare the room with the attendees’ perspective in mind because the presentation should cater to them. It helps when attendees and presenters can read the questions in addition to hearing them being asked.The 7 Keys to Running a Glitch-Free Webinar Key #2: Preparing the Webinar Room Attendees spend the duration of the webinar looking at their computer screen. Most events have a Q&A portion. And. Content: A PowerPoint presentation is the centerpiece of most webinars. There are three elements to focus on: 1. This lets you correct any errors before it is too late. It helps to verbally cover common questions and problems at the beginning of the webinar. too) Whether or not and when attendees will receive a PDF of the presentation slides e) Whether or not and when attendees will receive a recording of the event f) Instructions for writing in with questions © 2009 Rally Point Webinars. It is a vital element because it humanizes the speaker who the attendee cannot see. What they see is called the “webinar room. Make arrangements to display each one. many attendees ignore whatever details the facilitator covers. It is a best practice to upload and test the slide deck 24 hours before the webinar begins. like a flight attendant’s safety instructions. A number of attendees will arrive late and miss the beginning. LLC 6Page . Include a high-quality image of the presenter on the screen. 2.

A best practice with such webinars is to clearly separate marketing and editorial content (lest it become an infomercial). Taking extra care to display the technical notes makes attendees comfortable with the webinar technology and confident they can troubleshoot any problems. b) Let the final presentation slide feature a marketing call-to-action. Separating marketing content from editorial content leaves attendees confident in the speaker’s objectivity and inclined to follow the call-to-action. The final slide usually sits on the screen throughout the Q&A making it an ideal place to promote something. To do this. Principle: Cleary showing editorial content lets attendees focus on what is most important for them. you can: a) Create a space separate from the editorial content that showcases whatever the webinar is marketing. Marketing: Most webinars have both an editorial and marketing element to them. be it a book. LLC 7Page .The 7 Keys to Running a Glitch-Free Webinar 3. or whatever. © 2009 Rally Point Webinars. research report.

will see a busy computer screen. a private presenter chat box. and confusing.The 7 Keys to Running a Glitch-Free Webinar Key #3: Preparing the Speaker The webinar presenter may never have dealt with your specific webinar technology and probably has only a passing familiarity with how to prepare for delivering an online event. Only if the speaker asks for an explanation of a feature should you bother them with the knowledge. whiteboard options. and more. © 2009 Rally Point Webinars. audience activity trackers. use a wired Internet connection. come webinar time. polls. they have total confidence in what to do. distracting. they will need to call from a land line. As the expert webinar facilitator. let the presenter know how to prepare the brick-andmortar room where he or she will deliver from. press the “Do Not Disturb” on their phone (and make sure their office dog cannot be heard barking). Finally and critically. recording buttons. and not the presenter. explain how you. The presenter will manage some technical elements such as clicking through each slide and using a whiteboard overlay. For example. Compile a list of these things and send it to the presenter to check off before delivering. There will be a streaming audience chat box. LLC 8Page . This can be variously overwhelming. will handle each element. Prior to the Webinar Date: The speaker. the presentation slides. Help the speaker by reviewing the technology beforehand and going over the final details on game day. Help them master the technical elements they manage so that. on delivery day.

when the presenter takes control of the slides. Other details worth reviewing include: what the presenter must do when the webinar goes live. Have the presenter log in to the webinar and call in (with VOIP or the telephone) one half hour before the go-live time for a sound and general technology check. how the presenter should prompt you to pull up the interactive polls. But most times something goes wrong and that half hour provides you with the time cushion you need to troubleshoot things (or to visit the restroom). you give them the confidence to do it well and without worry. LLC 9Page . The webinar facilitator can also call the presenter(s) after the presentation to say congratulations. and any other areas of collaboration. As for the rest. you let them ignore it and allow them to focus on their presentation. and review what went well and what might happen differently next time. you probably will not have time to resolve problems or the privacy to resolve them away from the audience. Principle: As the facilitator. debrief.The 7 Keys to Running a Glitch-Free Webinar The Day of the Webinar: During the live event. Does it take a half hour to do all of that? No. © 2009 Rally Point Webinars. For the things the presenter must know. you serve the presenter by pointing out what he or she does and does not need to know.

If the speaker promotes the material (beyond using it as a citation).    Q&A Moderator: The facilitator. LLC 10 P a g e . prioritizes them. The moderator can plug the material and preserve the speaker's status as an objective and reliable resource. Often there is a book or research report to promote. It is best that the speaker doesn’t read the questions as they come in. and signs off. The Conclusion: Similarly. Also.” © 2009 Rally Point Webinars. The moderator replies to the attendees (see next section for more on this). asks for some final words. attendees may view the speaker as a marketer or salesperson and distrust the presentation itself. Save the presenter from seeing that "he’s a bore” or “she’s wasting my time. Some webinars offer a book or prize giveaway. it works well when the moderator thanks the speaker for delivering the presentation. and. especially once the Q&A session begins. asks the speaker the questions and posts them for everyone to see. The moderator job entails:  The Introduction: It works well when the moderator welcomes attendees to the event. some people write in with unkind comments.The 7 Keys to Running a Glitch-Free Webinar Key #4: Moderating the Event There are a number of speaking parts during a webinar beyond the presentation and the facilitator can double as a moderator to handle them. plays a very important role during the webinar Q&A session. The Marketer: Again. Questions from the attendees arrive via chat throughout the webinar. spell and grammar checks the questions. afterwards. and covers housekeeping items like how to use the chat feature. introduces the speaker. collects the questions. The questions for the Q&A arrive mixed with technical questions and the speaker loses focus when parsing what’s relevant from what’s not. it is a best practice to separate editorial from marketing content in the webinar. The moderator is the best person to announce winners and handle the details of the giveaway. doubling as a moderator.

and ending the webinar on time. LLC 11 P a g e . not decipher it. Punctuality is a virtue with webinars. Presenters can lose track of time.” “flip to the next slide. The facilitator serves the audience by ensuring the event runs on schedule.” or “keep the energy going!” It is a best practice to keep the comments short and sweet. and by acting as a third-party marketer. too. Time Management: The moderator is responsible for beginning the webinar on time. Familiarize yourself with the presentation and interject to keep the presenter on pace and on time. © 2009 Rally Point Webinars. beginning the Q&A on time. You want the speaker to follow the advice. speak into the Q&A portion of a webinar believing there aren’t enough attendee questions to answer. by handling the Q&A.The 7 Keys to Running a Glitch-Free Webinar  Speaker Feedback: The speaker can benefit from constructive feedback during the webinar.  Principle: The webinar facilitator serves the presenter by handling the verbal elements beyond the presentation. How do you tell the presenter this on the air? Create a backchannel way of communication with a separate presenter-only chat window within the webinar room itself or with some instant messaging application. or give bonus time material thinking it’s a generous thing to do. The moderator can tell the speaker to “speak louder.

While that is not necessarily true. second. you’ll always reply with compassion and patience. or feel anonymous or unimportant. Attendee care is often the best place to make a lasting impression. thank them for writing in. feel frantic or frazzled. If the question doesn’t make sense or isn’t appropriate for the presentation. the webinar facilitator. Have step-by-step answers at hand and backup phone support to offer if need be. When attendees write in with questions or comments. and knowledgeably. Why? If you believe attendees have that mindset. Questions usually fall into two categories: 1. must address each attendee’s concerns quickly. Your role as webinar facilitator is to do just that and this is when you do it most directly.The 7 Keys to Running a Glitch-Free Webinar Responsibility #5: Caring for Attendees Attendees won’t care about the presentation if they have difficulty watching it or feel like the speaker is ignoring them. whether the slides are progressing properly. courteously. confirm you received it. If a question makes sense. This means you. Principle: Here is your chance to make a great impression with the attendees by providing excellent one-on-one service. suggest they rephrase it or offer to have the speaker reply within 24-48 hours. When you help someone in distress they remember it. 2. and if people will receive access to the recording. You can really impress the questioner by replying with their name and telling them their question will be asked first. and encourage them to ask more. Technical and Housekeeping Questions: These tend to be about the audio. they often expect poor care. © 2009 Rally Point Webinars. It especially pays off when the person is the president of a company your firm would love to work with. Q&A and Content Questions: These are directed to the speaker. LLC 12 P a g e . or fifth. you’ll provide the best service if you believe so.

Here are four common problems to prepare for: 1. a) If only the presenter cuts out. This situation can quickly become overwhelming unless you act quickly and decisively. post a note on the webinar screen with instructions for what the audience needs to do. They may need to exit the webinar room and login again or hang up and dial into the conference call again. That gives the speaker time to call in again or call in with a backup phone line. confirm everyone can hear the audio. You are in charge of making things work out. LLC 13 P a g e . The easiest way to do this is to have several co-workers be attendees. then get the presenter’s audio back up. EST. They can run over to tell you if the audio is working again. per the instructions above. Before the presentation resumes.The 7 Keys to Running a Glitch-Free Webinar Key #6: Being the Troubleshooter Webinars can go wrong in any number of ways. first post an explanation. You may lose the presenter. lose the audience. or GMT?” If the presenter doesn’t show up on time. Audio Difficulties: The telephone or Internet audio may cut out midway through the webinar. verbally inform the audience what has happened and tell them the presentation will begin again shortly. and finally make sure the audience’s audio is back up. be sure to have his or her emergency contact information on hand so you can call their cell phone or hotel room or have their assistant track them down. or lose everyone at once. 2. c) If everyone cuts out at once. © 2009 Rally Point Webinars. Missing Presenter: Webinar speakers sometimes confuse the start time’s time zone—“Was it EDT. b) If just the audience cuts out.

Your message should include an apology. information about the rescheduled event. If not. the webinar technology. and your computer. After that. Just deal with it. like free access to the next webinar or a complimentary e-book or report. The presenter can then use the hard copy to present from and instruct the facilitator when to move from slide to slide. 4. what they can expect from you. Be prepared. and how to reach you. to name some. Sometimes these variables collude to get the better of you and you have no choice but to cancel the event. and some kind of compensation for their lost time. Doomsday: Webinars depend on many variables: the Internet provider. Presentation Slide Control: The speaker may lose the ability to progress from slide to slide during the webinar. LLC 14 P a g e . if you do. If you can’t fix common problems or address attendees’ concerns. © 2009 Rally Point Webinars. the telephone provider.The 7 Keys to Running a Glitch-Free Webinar 3. You never want to have these problems but. the presenter should have numbered the slides and have a hard copy nearby. be excited: Any failing gives you the opportunity to impress the audience with your client service. everyone suffers. Don’t make yourself wrong for this happening. you’ll want to email or call every attendee. First communicate with the live audience what has happened. Sometimes the presenter can log out and log back in to regain access. Principle: You serve the presenter and the attendees by troubleshooting whatever problems come up.

LLC 15 P a g e . Putting It All Together. Getting the Job Done Webinar facilitator is a vital but often overlooked job because. This concept is known as the “Wallenda Effect. daring career until his fatal walk—for the first time. © 2009 Rally Point Webinars.The 7 Keys to Running a Glitch-Free Webinar Key #7: Adopting the Facilitator Mindset The webinar facilitator has to manage many components.” The famed tightrope walker Karl Wallenda had a long. when it is done well. Follow these seven keys and you will run a flawless webinar on game day. nobody notices it was done at all. he focused on how he could fall instead of on what it took to get to the other side. The best way to effectively do the job is to focus only on what needs to be done and not on what can go wrong. Principle: You can only be of service if your focus is on what has to happen. one that is a cinch for the presenter to deliver and a pleasure for the audience to attend.

rallypointwebinars. CA 94133 (415) 685-4545 © 2009 Rally Point Webinars.com service@rallypointwebinars. It succeeds with precision marketing and sound business development. LLC We are a marketing and online event management firm We help professional services firms grow their revenue by finding new clients and reaching new prospects through online events. LLC 16 P a g e . MA 02114 (617) 517-0720 www. We do this by:     Developing content that positions our clients as thought leaders Executing marketing campaigns that connect with prospects and drive them to the events Running flawless webinars that deliver value to attendees Creating sales conversations and new clients It starts with solid content. Rally Point Webinars 139A Charles Street Suite 297 Boston.The 7 Keys to Running a Glitch-Free Webinar About Rally Point Webinars.com 1288 Columbus Ave Suite 555 San Francisco. Rally Point is built on years of experience of implementing successful campaigns and events that leave attendees with value and professional service firms with new clients.

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