Before the webinar some simple preparation will go a long way towards a good quality event:
Prepare all the applications that you will be using during your webinar, and close down all unneeded windows and applications. Log out of browser pages too.
Get your headphones ready and test your microphone works. Make your room as quiet as possible and tidy up your background. In Teams there is an option on the main toolbar to blur the background if you decide to use your webcam.
Do a rehearsal with colleagues or friends. Practice using the ‘Share desktop’ or ‘Share application’ window. Check you understand what others will see.
Allow five minutes at the start of your event before the formal start to sort out any technical issues with viewers
Provide a ‘Welcome’ slide to appear on the screen for those who have joined before the webinar starts (Consider making it fun, like ‘help yourself to a virtual welcome drink’ ). This is also a great way to briefly set out how your webinar will run and what the viewers should expect. Consider including:
Welcome to the [insert name] webinar. You are in the right place. The session will be starting shortly – please wait while others join.
Please do not use your camera. This will help audio quality to be clear for everyone. Also, it can be distracting for other attendees to see you, your cat, your office etc. when they want to concentrate.
[if you choose to use the Chat window] We will be using the Chat window for questions and comments. You can access this by clicking on the toolbar icon that looks like a speech bubble. Please ‘like’ questions – this will help he chairperson to address the most popular questions first.
Don’t feel you have to use the Chat too. It can be highly engaging, but it can also be distracting. The transcript of the Chat will automatically be available afterwards in the Teams Chat app.
It is sensible to mute all microphones at the start – to do this click the ‘show all participants’ button in the toolbar and the list of participants will appear on the right. At the top of this list, you should see a button that says ‘Mute all mics’.
Ask colleagues to monitor posts in the Chat: in particular, ask one person to summarise questions (with audio) at relevant intervals (when invited by the chairperson), and encourage other experts in the audience to chip in with Chat answers when relevant. Your helpers will probably find it useful to have commonly used information (including popular links, contact details etc.) readily available in a Word document for quick copying and pasting.
The presenter may find it helpful to have another laptop or tablet, where they are signed in as a guest (use a guest email account) to see what the viewers are seeing.
At the start, advise viewers what the purpose of your webinar is e.g. ‘The purpose of this session is to cover A, B and C’. You could also provide an icebreaker question at the start … just a short multiple choice question. “Great to see your responses appearing in Chat”.
Always signpost verbally what is happening – e.g. “Now we’ll hand over to X and she’ll share her screen”, or “I’ve finished with PowerPoint slides and now you should simply be seeing the Teams interface – we’ll let you know when you should be seeing a shared screen again”.