There are many educational videos that you can find on the internet but those are not webinars.
For an online event to be a webinar, the event should have the following 7 elements:
1. It must be a live event
Just like an in-person course or event, a webinar is delivered live, at a predetermined date and time.
Many webinar companies produce a video recording of their events and make them available on-demand following the event.
Usually the day after the webinar event, webinar hosts will notify all event registrants with a link to view the webinar on their phones or computers. This allows participants to watch the webinar at their leisure and review what was delivered, in case they missed some important information.
2. Your webinar must have online attendees
This is another element that webinars have in common with live events. There is no such thing as a live event without any attendees!
Since recorded webinars can be viewed on demand after the event takes place, you don't need as many "live" attendees, but it is always a good idea to have some.
GoToMeeting found that 66 per cent of webinars have fewer than 50 live attendees. In order to increase webinar attendance, host organizations should carefully consider what time and day they host their events.
It's important to remember that without attendees, webinar companies cannot guarantee attendee participation.
3. Webinar Attendee interaction and participation
Quality webinars should allow attendees to participate. Interaction can be in multiple ways, the level of participation and interaction depends largely on the type of webinar software being used.
Whether you are the organizer, speaker or attendee, every successful webinar allows time for Questions and Answers.
Many webinars allow live chats.
Webinar software platforms all different forms of chat. Sometimes, live chat is how questions are submitted. The chat can also be private, so only the webinar host can see the questions. At other times, the chat feature can be opened up, where all attendees can see comments in the chat box and respond to each other but sometimes this is a distraction from the main webinar content being delivered.
Another useful interactive webinar element is the use of polls and surveys. The host has a predetermined list of questions, and can poll attendees, who are given a couple minutes to respond with their answer. The results can then be shared immediately on the webinar viewing screen. To share the results quickly, webinar survey questions are usually multiple choice.
Interactive webinar elements are the reason why it's always better to attend a live online webinar. While it can watched on-demand at a later date, participating in a live online training course means students can ask the instructor questions in real time and they can participate in polls and interact with other attendees.
4. Streamed Video
In order to produce the most informative webinar, it is best to have an instructor or webinar leader who is a subject matter expert. And if the instructor can be seen on the screen, it will be a more personal experience for those attending the webinar event. Just having audio and slides is less personal and less engaging.
You might ask: «How does this work? Can I be seen?» With most webinar platform tools, he answer is «no». While students can see the presenter, the presenter cannot see the attendees.
There are other live online teaching platforms like GoToMeeting and Zoom, where the presenter can see the attendees in the meeting, but their video is optional.
5. Presentation Slides
While it is possible to host a webinar without slides, it is a much better, more informative and engaging experience to have some kind of visual support to assist the presentation, whether it be slides, photos or videos.
Educational and corporate events without slides would be boring. Even with the best, most charismatic speakers it's difficult to pull off an engaging presentation with no visual aids. This is why every webinar should have slides.
Slides help to focus participants on the presentation. Webinar slides can be created using presentation software such as PowerPoint, Prezi, or Google Slides, and can be branded to the company making the presentation.
Along with the visual elements of a webinar, it makes sense that participants also want to hear what is being said. For this reason, webinar hosts and presenters are required to use a headset with a microphone.
7. Webinar Software
In order to combine and execute all of these elements, you need webinar software. This software is the glue that holds everything together, enabling you to have an interactive event with attendees from anywhere.
For companies wanting to create webinars but lacking big budgets, they can maximize this event opportunity through the use of webinar platform software.
Depending on the webinar platform you choose, most platform features include:
- Screen sharing
- Polls and surveys
- Live chats
- Q&A tools
- Streaming capabilities
- Pre-recorded voice and sound options
- Sending invitations from the webinar software
- Multiple presenters
- Calendar notifications
- Registration reminders