On the day of the event it is important forthe facilitator and instructor to log-in at least 45 minutes prior to the actual session start time. This serves several purposes. It gives the instructor a chance to walk through their content right before the live event, do some last minute changes to the presentation and to calm any jitters they may be experiencing. For the facilitator, it gives them a chance to solve any last minute technical problems that may have occurred.
Once you start the actual session there are a few key things you can do to really make things run smooth. First, be sure to display housekeeping information for the participants at the beginning of the event. Let them know about things like seating charts, asking online questions, chatting, any interactive activities you have planned and session learning objectives. Second, make sure you have one computer logged in as a participant during the event where the presenters are going to be. This allows the presenters to see what the participants are seeing during the live event. Finally, have a hard copy of the presentation you will be delivering on hand. Sometimes these are even emailed out to the registered attendees approximately one hour before the Webinar start time. This makes for a nice contingency should your technology fail. Worst case, you can still walk everyone through your presentation over the phone
The follow-up at the end of the event can be the most important part of the whole process. Ending the event with the closing slide of the presentation leaves attendees hanging and may make you as the event host miss out on gathering some potentially powerful market data. Many times people will record their live event and make that available to Webinar registrants that were not able to attend the live event. This should be in the form of a “Sorry We Missed You” e-mail.
A “thank-you” message should be prepared and distributed to all attendees. If you recorded the event, it is a great idea to make the recording available to attendees of the event as well. This gives them a chance to see the event again should they decide to. You should also follow up with any participants in the event that you promised to and answer any questions that were posted in the event that you could not answer online with the entire group. It is a good idea to send the answers to questions out to the entire attendee list, not just the one person that posed the question.
One of the most important parts of the post-mortem process is to put your own best practices in place by discussing the results of the Webinar with the team that put the event together. By going through each stage of the event process you can start to define not only the general best practices but the things that are specific to your organization.
Connie Moorhead is the President of The CMOOR Group and founder of SecurityCEU.com based in Louisville, Ky.