Preparation is often key in many ventures, and this is especially true when it comes to webinars. If things don’t go smoothly, attendees could scramble for the exits… or worse, the webinar may not happen at all.
The answer is a webinar dry run.
With the NFL preseason in full swing, a game walk-through is an apt and timely analogy.
Usually on the day before the game, NFL teams will have a full game walk-through where they literally walk through the entire game plan. It assures coaches and players that everybody is on the same page, and that they’re all ready for the game. If they are any slip-ups or questions throughout, they can be easily addressed… before results count.
It’s a great way to avoid costly mistakes during the actual game, and sets the groundwork for a better in-game performance.
Just what your webinar needs…
Everyone should understand the technology being used, content should be finalized, co-presenters should know who covers what and when to hand off to each other, etc.
Here’s what you need to cover to ensure a successful (and mistake-averting) webinar dry run…
1. Have all participants and speakers present
Introduce all speakers and behind-the-scenes participants to each other.
Each participant should also know who to reach out to should they need help, and how, should the unexpected happen. For example, if Leslie were to suddenly lose connection, she might know to immediately text Ron to explain. That way, Ron could cover and say, “Leslie just lost reception, she’ll jump on in just a second.”
These things happen. When you’re prepared, you don’t panic, it’s easy to cover, and they end up not being a big deal.
This is a crucial step – in fact, going back to the NFL comparison, many teams won’t allow players to play in the game if they miss the walk-through. So, try to get the whole webinar team if possible.
2. Use the same equipment you’ll use during the actual webinar
Practice your webinar with the same laptop, software, speakers, microphone, etc. that you’ll use during the webinar. Have your team members do the same.
Make sure everyone knows the conference line, moderator pin, and moderator commands, beforehand.
MeetingBurner has a handy “Test” feature that enables you to easily do a walk-through with same settings you’ve set for the real event. Just click it, and begin.
Once you’re all logged in, use some of the interactive features of your webinar software, like the chat box, Q&A, and screen sharing module, and familiarize yourself with each of them. Be sure to flip through the slides and check to see if all those visuals look good within the webinar.
You should also considering having another person go through the dry run as an attendee, so they confirm whether or not there are any problems with the audio, video, or other interactive features.
Of course, it’s impossible to prevent hiccups – technical or otherwise – 100% of the time. But going through this step will not only help you avoid pitfalls, but it will keep you calm and confident should anything arise during the live event.
3. Review the agenda
Are slides in the right order? Do presenters know their roles, and when exactly they are supposed to start speaking?
Be sure to have a webinar agenda before the dry run, and then follow along with that agenda. The agenda should cover things like the order of presenters, what they’re presenting, what features and slides they’ll be using, approximately how long they’ll be speaking for, and how to transition.
Essentially, it covers the main points of the webinar and highlights any place where a potential problem or mistake could happen.
You should always conduct a webinar dry run within a few days of the actual webinar to ensure everything is fresh. Done right, everyone will know their role, potential technical issues will be handled in advance, and the live event will go off without a hitch!
Do you have any tips for you practice your webinar? Let us know in the comments below…