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Best Practices: Hosting a Webinar

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to provide suggestions and tips for hosting a webinar. This article is divided into three sections: before, during, and after.

Steps

Before the Webinar:

Format. One Speaker, Interview Style, Moderated Panel Discussion, Interactive

Content. Determine content and presentation format. Each presentation should include the following: a lobby slide, a slide introducing each presenter, including job title, affiliation, and a photograph if available, a quick overview of the webinar agenda and the topics to be covered.

Moderator. Nearly all webinars should have a moderator. The moderators duties include (but are not limited to): sending participant invites and fielding questions from participants prior to webinar, disabling microphones and videos upon participant entry, start/end recording, offer 2-3 “seed questions” to get the Q&A started (if applicable), and ending the webinar (disabling participant interaction).

24-Hour Email. 24 hours in advance, send a “Best Practices Email”. The email should inform the participants of the following: Arrive 10-15 minutes early, test sound and/or use headphones (if desired), close other applications to increase connectivity, and to please leave microphone and camera off (if applicable).

Dry Run. An introduction to the participants, an introduction to the webinar tool and its features, an equipment check, and a review of your agenda and visuals. Think of things like direct sunlight exposure and exterior events impacting the quality of your webinar

Reserve Equipment and Space. Make sure you have: Headsets, Power Cords, Network Cables (Note: we recommend connecting directly to the network and not using a wireless connection). Regardless of the equipment you use, you will need a quiet space in which to conduct your webinar. In addition to using a headset, you should reserve a conference room or place where there won't be background noise or interruptions. Keep in mind that construction noises and sirens can be a distraction when presenting.

During the Webinar:

Water. Keep water off to the side to be accessed easily and discreetly.

Interactivity. If asking the audience questions or polling the audience for response, be sure to explain where to find the “chat function”, as well as how and when to use it.

Lobby Slide. If using a powerpoint or keynote slide deck, the first slide should be a “lobby slide” which tells the participant that they are in the correct webinar, and that it will begin momentarily (e.g., “Welcome to the Life Science Webinar, Hosted by Dr. Sally Green. We will begin shortly.”)

Noise Control. Put sign on the door which presenter will be speaking in. Sign should read: “Webinar Recording in Progress. Please Do Not Disturb”. Desk phone and cell phone should be set to silent. Presenter should have no other applications or windows open while giving the presentation (This helps with connection speed, and negates unwanted “dings” and other application noises).

After the Webinar:

Debrief. What went well and what could use improvement? Determine these areas for next time.

View Participants. View participants statistics on BlueJeans (email address/name, time entered, duration of stay). Send Thank You note to audience members for participating in the webinar.

Post-Webinar Survey. See Webinar Survey Questions

Tips

NYU Steinhardt recommends using a platform called BlueJeans, for webinar-hosting and conferencing needs. Please see these articles for more information about BlueJeans: Troubleshooting: Best Practices and Troubleshooting Recommendations for Faculty using BlueJeans & Tools: How to Make a Call in BlueJeans

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