It is day 89 or 67 (nobody really knows anymore) of self-isolation and we are logging into work, entering another meeting, navigating the screenshare-mute-video buttons, listening, presenting, reporting, logging in again, this time to log out, and the virtual realm is starting to take it’s toll. People are experiencing a massive energy drain after another videocall that is even more draining than a regular face to face meeting.
Imagine if you go to a bar, and in the same bar you talk with your professors, meet your parents or date someone, isn’t it weird? That’s what we’re doing now –Gianpiero Petriglieri
Webinars are a growing phenomena in the time of the pandemic. The access to information is increasing and we are more inclined to try or learn new things via these webinars because it is just one click away (and most of the time: free of charge). Squeezing in the webinars between work calls and videochats however is becoming more of a challenge, and people are slowly losing the interest (and stamina) to attend these sessions
What do you do when you are tasked to organize a webinar? How do you set it up, and create the excitement while being completely aware of the growing webinar fatigue?
- Make sure you pick and brief your host well. Do a test call, and advise on lighting, positioning and outfit.
- Arrange for a moderator who can keep the time and balance the composition between listening and participating
- Encourage the alternating appearance of the face and the screen share. Looking at a person talk for a half an hour straight from one angle is dead tiring
- If the screen share leads towards slides, it would be best to make the slides as clean as possible with only a couple of pointers that guide the speaker. You wouldn’t want a slide that is filled with text and charts and icons that the audience has to plough through (which they won’t, really)
- Promote the webinar according the protocol, and make the e-flyer easy to read and easy to share. Do not clutter the e-flyer with synopses of the speakers and executive summaries of the topic.
- Provide clear transitions between introduction, main program, Q&A and closing. Some organizers use props, others use different background colors or patterns.
- Be active on the chat section during the main program. Write short summaries of what the speaker just discussed, or repeat interesting quotes that were made by the speaker
- Be emphatic and keep the program to the allotted timeslot. Let the audience know how much you appreciate their attention in a time where giving it virtually is becoming hard to do
- Send out a thank you email immediately after the webinar with a recording and a group photos (if any) to the participants.
One thing you need to make sure of is the topic of the webinar. You do not want to dive into a topic that has been pre-chewed by previous webinars. Browse and register for webinars about a variety of topics and learn how others organize theirs.