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4 Deadly Sins of Hosting a Webinar

Well perhaps they aren't deadly sins per se, but these are definitely 4 things you should avoid when hosting a webinar on a platform like Zoom. Zoom is an easy to use Webinar platform that minimizes attendee frustration without having to download an extension to log on.

First, congratulations to you. You are likely reading this because you want to host your first webinar or want to improve how you deliver a webinar. Hosting a webinar is perfect for individuals who find it uncomfortable presenting in front of an actual audience. For example in a conference setting. This can be an avenue for you to share really great content to build your confidence and brand.

Let's hit the broadcast button and go live with what to avoid.

1) Not wearing a headset

It is an absolute must that you invest in a good headset. Why? Because you don't want to sound like you are speaking through a tunnel or worse through a tin can!

Using the built-in microphone and speakers on your computer is a definite NO!

The Jabra 40 Stereo Wired Headset is the best darn headset that is affordable and very effective. You can purchase it on Amazon for about $120 bucks. It also has a noise canceling technology. This means if you are a work from a home individual like me with a snoring dog, those snores don't end up being heard from the audience. Also great for when the kids are home. It cancels out their ruckus. We have also found theYeti microphone to be helpful, but it is so sensitive to noise during one webinar it picked the sound of my wind chimes outside.

2) Not having a stable internet connection

You need a stable internet connection folks! That's just the basic fundamentals of hosting a webinar. Without one, your webinar will bounce and may kick your attendees off. Now that's annoying for the attendees who will likely not bother logging back on.

Always have a secondary internet connection available. You may not have two internet connections as I do. So think about using a data plan from your mobile device (HotSpot) if you are experiencing a temporary internet outage. It's important to ensure your mobile device is paired with your computer before needing the connection. Note that this will draw a significant amount of data. So double-check your cell plan before trying such. Our friend Chad Davis, of LiveCA (who are hiring remote Canadian accounting professionals), wrote an article recently for individuals who require mobile internet called How to Get Unlimited Mobile Internet in Canada. This article is written for those who need to use more than 50GB/month.

Check the last time your router was replaced as they do decline in effectiveness as they age. It may also be preferable to hardwire an internet connection from your router to the computer you are broadcasting from. My favorite routers are made by Netgear and we like the Nighthawk x65 Smart WiFi edition. The software enables you to control devices that are allowed on your network from a mobile device. For example, if I decide tech time is finished for my kids I can easily disable their internet connection all from my phone.

Most importantly, turn off any unnecessary web browsers. Ensure that there are no updates running in the background. Set yourself up for success and keep the internet connection as open as possible.

3) Not providing enough time for scheduling

Give yourself time to plan and advertise your webinar. Think of your intended audience. Provide at least 2 weeks of social branding (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) before the webinar. If you are co-hosting with someone else be sure the have a dry-run on the webinar to ensure your personalities and messaging are coming across to the intended audience. It's a best practice to have one discovery meeting to develop the webinar, communicate on Google Slides to fine-tune the presentation, and then do a complete dry-run of the webinar. Preparation is key!

Picking the day of the week and time is also important. If you are hosting a webinar for working professionals then perhaps Thursdays at 1:00 pm are good. Always think about varying time zones. If you are in the Americas, you'll want people on the west coast to have access to your webinar. So a 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time start is 11:00 am Pacific Standard Time. Vice versa for folks on the east coast that will have varying time zones. Avoid Monday mornings as they are always manic and forget about Frick off Fridays. It's time for the weekend!

We recommendUnbounce to create a landing page for individuals to register for your webinar. It is a relatively simple platform to use that integrates with manyapplications likeMailchimp orConstant Contact to help build your mailing list.

4) Not having a backup plan during bad weather

This one is often overlooked. If you are the host, you are responsible to ensure the connection remains strong. You may think it's acceptable to cancel a webinar due to bad weather, but folks in sunny Florida just won't accept that! Don't crush your audience’s expectations by your lack of planning and potentially damage your brand. Check your local weather network to see if you have an impending storm on the horizon. Would it be severe enough to knock out power? If you are in Canada like me, the answer is likely yes. Especially during winter. A power outage will knock out your internet and desktop computer.

So what to do? Don't fret. Here is my secret sauce for still delivering amazing webinars even with no power in the house! Believe me, this is a tried and true method that has saved me on several occasions.

Always have a laptop fully charged with access to your slide presentation. Connect it to your hotspot on your mobile device. See deadly sin #2 above to recap. I recommend using Google Slides to easily access your presentation from different devices with a PDF back up on your desktop just in case. From experience, Powerpoint can be tricky to get downloaded quickly. Then present and enjoy! Don't forget to celebrate with a nice cold beverage; because it feels like you just pulled off a heist! And don't forget to turn off your hotspot after the webinar.

We also have a small Honda noise reduction gas generator to create our own power if we've been without for quite a while, but that's our extreme backup plan. Can you tell I live in the country? Always use a fuel generator outside of your building in a ventilated area. You can run an extension cord inside through a window opening to power up small devices.

Alternatively, for a shorter period of battery life with surge protection, you may like the APC 1500VA UPS.

Perhaps you've committed one of the above deadly sins. I forgive you. Better yet, if you have learned from your mistakes I'd love to engage with you and perhaps even co-host a webinar together.

Contact me here to pitch your webinar idea. We chat about anything from technology to managing life. What inspires you?

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