The success of a webinar is determined long before you hit the start webinar button.
In fact, preparing well for the webinar is key for it being a success.
So what can and should you do while prepping for your webinar?
Here’s some suggestions for your set up based on personal experience and the webinars I’ve been a guest on.
Choose a Quiet and Non Distracting Location
Sounds that you might be used to and don’t think about twice, might be enough to distract or bother your audience, so you will need a quiet location as much as possible.
If there’s sounds you can’t control like traffic in NYC, just let the audience know at the beginning that you are in NYC and there may be some audible background of the traffic and people will know to ignore it and focus on you. Or if it’s something short and occasional, just pause while it happens and continue without making it an issue.
Plan for interferences as much as possible. If you are expecting a delivery or someone is arriving at a certain time, try to reach the person before or leave some note in their path or on the door to where you are, so they will know to be quiet.
** Insight: if you have a dog, keep treats and balls near you so you can distract your dog enough for him or her stop barking if someone comes to the door for example.
Have a Proper Connection
You need a reliable and as fast as possible connection. Make sure your location works well with your Internet connection. Sometimes what would be a great location, has bad wi-fi connection (public wifi especially) and will turn to be a bad choice when you start dropping from the webinar or your voice is not clear enough to broadcast to attendees.
Always restart internet connections, hardwire into your connection, and do a system check on Demio before launching your webinar.
** Insight: if you find that after starting a webinar you connection is not going to work as you needed, assume that and go on with only audio and a Presentation Slide deck instead of a webcam or screen share that uses large amounts of bandwidth and can cause distortion during the webinar and will be a distraction or annoyance to the audience.
Invest in a Microphone
Make sure your audience can hear you loud and clear. These days you can have access to professional level equipment even on a small budget.
There are different types of microphones to choose from, depending on the use you want to give them.
A Lavalier type microphone has the advantage of being small and you can clip it into yourself so it picks up your voice easily and can be use as a wireless mic or wired (great to use if using an external webcam in a set).
Here’s a suggestion: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rode-Smartlav-Lavalier-Microphone-Smartphone/dp/B00EO4A7L0/
A Shotgun Microphone is held at the end of a boom pole and needs to be pointed in the direction of the speaker. This one is good if you have a setup that is permanently or semi-permanently, so you won’t have to move it and handle the installation each time you want to do a webinar.
Last but not least, you have the freestanding type microphone, which is the one more widely used and easier to use as it adapts to almost any setup.
This is my favorite and I love the Blue Yeti which is a Plug ‘n play model and perfect for podcasts, and webinars: https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Yeti-USB-Microphone-Blackout/dp/B01LY6Z2M6
If you are on a tiny budget, check out the Blue SnowBall which is a small version of the Blue Yeti: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000EOPQ7E
Use Headphones for Interviews to Reduce Feedback
This is an easy one, but one that can really help reduce echo and audio feedback. I know, at first it can feel odd to hear your voice in your head, but if you are chatting with guests it can make ALL the difference.
Headphones + a good microphone can really make a standard experience great by broadcasting clear and consistent audio. Make sure you set-up your input and output settings correctly so sound is passing correctly to the correct devices.
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Obviously if you want to do a great presentation on camera, you will want equipment that is set up for optimal quality. Investing in a quality webcam be helpful for certain angles, but typically your computer web cam might be good enough for a webinar since these days their quality has improved a ton. Sometimes with more recent Operating System updates, the webcam can fail to connect and a simple computer restart can turn it back on.
Check sites like https://www.onlinemictest.com/webcam-test/ to confirm that your browser is connected with your webcam properly (Demio’s system check can also confirm this!).
** Insight: choose carefully your clothes (and your guest’s) and prefer solid colors instead of patterns that might be distracting and stay away from anything black/white like stripes or small squares which may create optical issues on camera.
Restart your Computer
Always restart your system before starting a webinar so your system runs better. Watch out for any pending updates that might quick in when you refresh (as it happens so often with Windows and may leave you a long time waiting for it to finish). Leaving your computer on for long extended periods of time can easily utilize large amounts of computer memory and usage, which can crash or affect webinars.
Turn off Any items that pull Streaming Data
To get the best connection possible, make sure you always turn off items that keep pulling streaming data even when you aren’t actually using it, like any message software, dropbox upload/downloads, netflix, video game streaming, file uploading into online sources, extra windows on your browser, Skype, etc…
Login to the webinar at least 30 minutes beforehand
Use this time to test the quality of the sound and image, and make sure your engagement tools are ready to go. Do a last review of your script or outline.
Water, Water and Water
One way to lose your voice is by becoming dehydrated. So make sure you have water nearby and at room temperature.
Prep Your Guest
Ideally you want your guest to do all the prepping you did yourself, but not everyone will do. So make sure to connect with the person before the time of the webinar and test their equipment, location, and ensure they know what to do if something goes wrong or fails during the webinar.
Also it might be the first time your guest uses your webinar platform and even though it may be super easy to use – Demio is ? – you still want to point out a few things like where’s the chat room so he can reply to questions, or how to message you privately for example, or refresh from his side….
** Insight: have another way to reach the other person if they drop from the webinar, like their phone number and them having it on without sound so they can read your messages.
Last but not least: smile and have fun with your webinar!