Are you a public speaker or trainer? Right now, you might speak or train in front of a live audience. While that scenario isn’t going away, other options have been available for a while and are changing rapidly. You should know about the latest trends.
In this post, I’ll explain webinars, why you might want to use them, and how they’re changing.
What is a webinar?
Most professionals have attended at least 1 webinar — maybe many! But I find that speakers and trainers are a little scared of the technology when it comes to giving a webinar themselves.
A webinar is a way to speak to people via your Internet connection. Your audience watches on their computer. They can be anywhere in the world. Sometimes, teams gather together to watch a webinar in a conference room, but most people are sitting at their own computer.
Usually, people listen on their computer, too (this is sometimes called VOIP), but some webinar services let them make a phone call to listen. Usually, the phone call is not free, although some services let you pay to provide a toll-free number.
How do webinar services work?
They don’t all work the same way. In fact, there are different models:
Desktop sharing: GoToWebinar and WebEx use this model
Upload: InstantTeleseminar uses this model
Video streaming: Google+ Hangouts On Air uses this model
In almost all cases, when you start a webinar, you have a panel that provides features for questions/chat, changing settings, marking up the screen, audio controls, muting/unmuting, polls, and more.
What are the latest trends?
The latest trend is to include live video of the presenter. This scenario makes a webinar quite similar from the audience’s point of view to a live presentation. Google Hangouts On Air is a free option that is based on video streaming but also lets you share your desktop.
Why are so many people giving webinars?
People give webinars for many reasons:
- To give a presentation when people can’t or don’t want to travel
- To provide training
- To sell a product or service
Also, you can record your webinars, making them available to people who missed them or as an online course.
Are webinars hard to do?
No! Practice a few times before your first live webinar. The first time you give a webinar for a real audience, you’ll feel uncomfortable because you can’t see them. Use the interactivity features, such as the Question/Chat box (or let people talk) to help you — and them — feel connected.
I’ve given dozens of webinars and it’s easy now! It can be that way for you, too.
What is your experience with webinars? Do you want to start giving webinars? Leave a comment!
Will be hosting my second webinar in January (actually the 1st, I was a presenter and someone else hosted and admined) – what do you suggest for practicing before I present live? And, what’s it like to administarte one AND provide the training?
Matt, The first time at least — and maybe all the time — it’s good to have someone with you in case there are technical problems and maybe to watch for questions in the panel. It helps you focus on presenting. You should also do a full practice — if you’re using GoToWebinar, they have a Practice mode that you can use. Or you can set up an impromptu webinar and deliver it to no one or any volunteer you can find. You can record that and then listen to yourself — I promise that you’ll discover improvements you can… Read more »
Amazing article!! I have been trying to pursue a career in public speaking and wanted to get few tips and that’s why looking for a public speaking trainer. Thanks for writing this article.