Wondrous Webinars 101

This afternoon I am giving a brief intro to running webinars for my colleagues at The Jewish Education Project. Here is the link to my presentation (the meaty bits are in the notes).

In advance of the session, I asked several groups on Facebook (NTC Jews, Jewish Technologists, and Darim Educators) the following question: what advice would you give to someone running a webinar for the first time? And I got some pretty fabulous answers, ranging from the practical to the technical to the theatrical…and here they are for your learning pleasure!

  • Choose technology at the level it is needed, don’t fall for bells and whistles that could cause trouble. -Steven K.
  • Begin the webinar with a quick overview of the platform. Be transparent about tech issues and ask folks to be patient. -Etta K.
  • Put a post above your screen that says "smile." -Rebecca S.
  • Stand, don’t sit. -Karen M.
  • Design the webinar as an experience for the participants. Use chat. Give folks 3 minutes to do a task, then have them report back in the webinar (learned that trick from David Bryfman). - Peter E.
  • Emphasize the nature of the experiment. Disarm folks who expect perfection by saying, “This is my first time with this medium, bear with me!” -Sara P.
  • Keep 2 cups of water nearby. -Farra T.
  • Have someone else available to deal with tech issues. -Kevin M.
  • Have a back-up if the call-in line fails. Give your cell phone number to the presenter. Turn off crawl notifications and other apps like Skype. -Debra A.
  • Carve out time for discussion and ask specific questions with concrete answers. Know how to use the mute features to get rid of background noise. -Lisa C.

And finally, here’s a great document of lessons learned in running webinars shared by Kevin Martone, Technology Program Manager of JCamp 180. (Thanks, Kevin!)

What advice do you have for folks just jumping in to the webinar game?