10 Tips to Create a GREAT Webinar

We received a lot of interest in our recent OWHE webinar “Create a GREAT webinar.” If you missed it and still want to watch it, click here to watch the recording on YouTube. However, we understand that many of you are feeling oversaturated by the near constant screen time while working remotely and wanted to provide you with an abbreviated written version here on the blog. Below you will find OWHE’s top ten tips for creating a great webinar inspired by the expertise of Erica Curry and Alex Aljets in the recent webinar. We cover much more in the actual webinar but this can serve as a starting place.

  1. Visuals- When you are confined to the space provided on your audience’s screen, you have to take extra care to provide a visually engaging experience. Your audience may be getting distracted by pets, family, work, or a million other things during your presentation. This means that you need to emphasize pictures over text heavy slides. Include any questions on your slides and vary your slide format and styles. We recommend Slides Carnival and Canva for template inspiration and Unsplash, Pixabay, and Pexels for free high-quality stock photos.

  2. Accessibility- The goal of accessibility is for your audience to connect with and understand the content you are sharing. In order to do this we recommend using inclusive photos like those here and here. Consider the language you use to ensure that it is easily understandable and inclusive (be sure to explain any acronyms). Review your options for closed captioning, check your colors with this color blindness simulator, and review this accessibility guide.

  3. Facilitation- Set up expectations from the start. How do you expect your audience to engage with your content? How should they ask questions? Are you able to facilitate or do you have a colleague who can help monitor virtual waiting rooms and provide tech support so you can focus on your content? For OWHE, the Director of Education serves in this facilitator role. 

  4. Interactive response tools- Try using in-platform engagement tools with your audience! Zoom has an audience polling feature as well as a break-out room option if you like having small group discussions during your presentations. We also recommend checking out the polling services provided by: Poll Everywhere, Kahoot, and TopHat. Mentimeter and Slido both feature a variety of audience engagement tools. 

  5. Digital Whiteboarding- For collaboration, co-authorship, and audience participation you can use the following digital whiteboarding tools with your audience: Miro, Mural, Google Drive, Box Note, and Google Jamboard.

  6. Audio/Video- 

    1. Clear Audio: mute mic when not speaking, headphones help avoid audio issues, test audio & mic ahead of time, talk slower than usual, and remember to pause for longer than usual for questions and audience reflection!

    2. Strong Internet: use a wired connection via ethernet cord if possible, close high bandwidth apps (Slack, Google Drive, etc), and turn off your video if your connection isn’t strong.  

    3. Human Connection via Video: When possible, let your audience see you! This means considering your lighting and background. Use a set up with light sources in front of you. Choose a virtual background or make sure that your actual background is appropriate and not distracting. If without video, add a photo to your profile so your picture shows when you speak.  

  7. Access to Materials- Consider if you want participants to follow along with handouts, slides, and worksheets. Do you want to provide this ahead of time? What do you want to provide attendees afterward? A recorded version? Slides? How will you share? (email attachment, link, etc.)

  8. Collaboration- Panels and co-presenting formats can still be great webinars! Discuss technology needs and share tips with your colleagues in advance. Clarify in-webinar roles, plan extra time for transitions between speakers, and use one cohesive slide deck.

  9. Self-Care- Block appropriate prep time--more than you’d expect to make sure everything is set up and you aren’t flustered. Make sure to hydrate and have a beverage nearby. Hide self-view if seeing your own video feed is a distraction and practice your webinar using the platform. 

  10. Community- Ask for support from your community! Whether you are a seasoned webinar presenter or experimenting with this medium for the first time, the OWHE Education committee is happy to support you as you prep for and practice your webinar presentation!

Composed by Shannon Shivers (She/Her/Hers) based on recommendations by Alex Aljets (She/Her/Hers) and Erica Curry (She/Her/Hers).

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