Last week I did my very first live webinar. I had prepared the material I needed to teach people the material. I was doing this for at least 2-3 hours every night for a few weeks. However, I didn’t know how to do a webinar or what was involved. I didn’t know what software I needed and I didn’t want to spend a fortune as I’ve done in the past. I wanted to teach people at a low cost and easy to follow instructions. A few weeks before my big event, I got an email from someone I admire who was doing a partner webinar with someone I didn’t know on how to create a webinar even if you didn’t have a product or service to sell, so what do you think I did….I signed up. And the program was in US dollars, so it cost me quite a few extra dollars. I learned a few things, but the price I paid for the program was not really worth what I paid. There wasn’t a lot of actual instructions, but rather sales pitching about using this softare and that software. When it came time to do my webinar, I was only able to use a few of the software applications she suggested because…they were free. I already spent $600 US, I wasn’t going to spend anymore until I got a return on my investment. The software she was recommending had a monthly cost associated to it that I wasn’t prepared to purchase.
Lesson #1 – ask questions to see if there will be additional costs for software to create a webinar.
I bought the program with that intention to learn how to do webinars and the bonus was that if I didn’t have a product or services to sell I would still be able to make money, but what I didn’t know was that there would be more expenses that I would have to endure with buying other software and I wasn’t interested in spending any more money. I already spent almost $600 Canadian, so I was expecting to get some amazing results. Before I could ask any questions, there was a 24 hour window to buy it at that price and I had already passed the time, but my window was still open to the page, so I tried to see if I could get it at the same price as the others and I did. I thought I was going to be able to use it right away and make my money back, but that’s not the case. I still have to use other software and…learn those as well.
Lesson #2 – be sure to test EVERYTHING you plan to use before you go live. She recommended a free tool called Google Hangout to do the live webinar. I did a quick test and recorded to see what I sounded like and did a shared view of the software I was going to teach. I replayed it and it looked fine to me. When it came time to go live, everything was working. I introduce myself and acted a bit silly to break the ice and described what I was going to cover and then I asked them to introduce themselves through the chat bar and/or the microphone. No one was talking or writing, which made me think there was something wrong with the technical things, but it turns out it was on my end…he he. I pressed the mute button on my side of the screen, thinking that this was the button to unmute people so they could speak, but that wasn’t case. I didn’t test this button in my test run. So, if you were there or after you listen to the link below you’ll see that I’m talking away and all of a sudden the audio goes off. People were trying to press the volume on their computers thinking it’s on their end, but it was all me:) Check out the video from 1 minute to 1 minute and 20 seconds. There will be silence.
Lesson #3 – do a test to see if people get the invite to the event. The other issue was inviting people to the event. I was sending people the invite to the live feed using the invite section on the Google Hangout, but people said they couldn’t log in.
So, Tried just copying the video link and that didn’t work, but they were able to see the YouTube link. However, the problem with that is that they weren’t able to chat with me in the chat box or talk to me through the audio.
Here are a few other things to consider when you are doing a webinar
Lesson #4 – If you can, have 2 monitors, 1 for seeing what the participants see and one for what you are talking about or actions you are doing. This makes all the difference because you won’t be skipping back and forth and people won’t be confused.
Lesson #5 – make sure to test the share screens so that the slide show is full screen and not displaying the other slides.
Lesson #6 – Have all your documents and images ready to go so that you’re not wasting time trying to find them or having to type information in rather than just doing a copy/paste.
Lesson #7 – copy and paste information from a document to save time
Lesson #8 – Have all your instructions in front of you and follow them
Lesson #9 – have your talk about 5 things MAX it it’s for a 1 hour session. I had too much information to share in 40 minutes and it can seem like a lot of information to someone who knows nothing about your talk. While you are giving a TON of value, it’s better to have another talk then try to cram it all into one.
Lesson #10 – Practice it LIVE to see how long it takes you to click and point without people asking questions. Then once you know the time and then add 10-15 more minutes for questions and answers.
Lesson #11 – Have water on hand and be sure to tell people when you’re taking a sip. Thank god I did because I was soooo thirsty. When you’re talking, you get thirsty because you’re not stopping. So, tell people you’re taking a sip of water and try to cover the mike. I listened to one webinar where the person sounded like they were making frog noises.
Lesson #12 – Send email out a week before to ask them to open the link to see if they can register to it. This way you can see who’s signed up and hopefully won’t run into trouble. Send another notice 1 day before and then 1 hour before the event takes place to remind people and get them excited about it, or you can just send one email. Whatever you prefer is up to you.
There you have it, 12 situations that happened during my first webinar that could have been avoided. I am in the process of redoing the webinar on “How to create a free website in 30 minutes”, but it will be a recorded this time. If after you see it, you have questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to help.
Take care and be sure to learn from my lessons so that your first webinar is a success.