So what does it take to be a good host for a web conference? Apart from the latest software and good looks, you mean? Just kidding, more than your looks, people will be interested in what you say and how you say it. It's obvious that if you use an old computer and a half-broken microphone, your session is not going to go well.
Risks with Web Conferencing
There are a few mistakes and risks involved in hosting a webinar that can be quite costly to anyone who is sharing their screen. Here are some things that you need to be careful about.
- Stay away from Skype if you're going to host a web conference. It is meant for private calls and video chatting, not a good idea for being a web conference host through it. It provides with quality tools, but they are only a fraction of what you need for a good session.
- Be aware and pay attention to the conference proceedings, whether you're the host or not. You don't want open high profile, undisclosed documents in the middle of the meeting when everyone can see what's happening on your computer screen. Always be wary of the fact that your screen is being shared.
- Know the exact amount of sharing that is going to be done in a web meeting. It is a safe practice to keep your classified data on a different computer from the one you're using.
Good Things to Follow for Web Conferencing
To host or participate in a successful web conference, follow the list of good web etiquette given below.
Gathering an Audience
It pays to keep it simple in this area. If someone hears about your webinar and wants to attend, you don't need to be too intrusive into their personal details. Just get the main information through the registration form and ask the rest of the questions later; questions like, "Where did you hear about this seminar" or "How long have you been in this field". You can get this information later if you want to. Because a longer form means a lowered interest from the applicant.
If it's a web seminar, do not host it for too many people at one go. You should rather hold multiple sessions of the same seminar. This gives the listeners enough time for giving a satisfactory feedback and for asking questions. The lesser the people in a conference, the more attention they eventually pay.
A very important habit you need to develop is setting a time limit to each part in a conference and sticking to it. Learn to eliminate anything that may delay the start or end of the conference, and be prompt. This is a very crucial point as you'd be wasting the time of everyone present at the conference, which is a big thing especially since you're already pressed for enough time to hold a web conference.
Keep all your material at stand-by so that you can show it or talk about it whenever you want to. If you're not used to hosting a web session, you can practice it before you go live and record it. You need to be smooth in operating all the tools during the session.
Keep your speech in the meeting or seminar, a speech that can be remembered. It should have a sizable impact on the listeners for them to remember whatever you said or showed. That makes it easier for them to attend the next session.
I'm referring to the better web conference hosting software that you can get your hands on. Some of them are paid, some are free -
- Microsoft Office Online
- Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro
- Cisco WebEx
Try to avoid being a speaker who keeps beating around the bush. It's perfectly fine to explain the context of a session or a point of discussion, but please don't turn it into a movie narration and drag it on for too long. Be straight and to the point. Know the places where some extra explanation might be necessary and add some points there and be done with it.
If you intend to host one seminar multiple times, it is a good practice to record some of the older sessions for reference during newer ones. You may even recycle some of the good points that you said in the older session. But whatever you do, do not reuse the entire session. That is cheap and lazy and gives too little scope for people to understand much about the topic, because you're just dishing out older talks over and over again.
Exploring Relevant Experiences
It is a good habit to keep a record of experiences regarding what you're going to talk about, whether they are your own or from someone else. Human experiences always have a way of explaining something better than a simple vocal discourse over a matter, you might want to exploit that a little.
Slow and Steady
Once you've understood the need to be efficient and fast, you will also get to know the need to be easy and steady. The more you hasten, the more your audience misses out on, which means you will get poor feedback and a storm in the allotted Q&A session.
You'll notice that some of these points are pertaining to being a better speaker rather than a good webinar host, to which I say that they are both the same. In fact, I think hosting a web conference is even more difficult since it involves a lot of work on a screen to fidget over. You will, in due time, get a hold of what you're doing, just keep a lookout on the things mentioned above and you'll do good.