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Hosting an online seminar (webinar)

Hosting an online seminar can be somewhat tricky especially for beginners. There are so many interesting things that a seminar hosting could bring. On the surface, this seems some hard work as you will put more off your efforts and time to impart more knowledge to your participants. On the other hand, this is a great idea to promote your business and even increase more profits and revenues.

Here are the 5 tips that will lead any beginner webinar success:

  1. Choose your style and format. A seminar you are planning to host may be done virtually or locally. You can choose to conduct a seminar in-person or online which is formally termed as a webinar. You also need to estimate the length of your seminar. Are you planning to host a seminar or webinar for a single day? You may also want to host a full-detailed seminar for multiple sessions. Just make sure to set the number of hours before announcing your event.
  2. Set up your target audience and invite your desired participants. Visualize your seminar with the group of professionals you want to be there. Do you plan to host your event for a small group of people or large groups of participants? Is the event exclusive for your valued clients or open for publicity's sake? Decide whether you will launch any advertisement campaign to cover a wider range of participants.
  3. Determine the topics or concepts to cover. You need to be specific in deciding what topics to deliver to your target audience. The seminar you will be hosting must expose your talents and expertise on the topics you are dealing with. You must also remember that you will not host a seminar just to expose your talents and gain more fame but to take your business to wider perspectives and gain more trust and reliable clients for endless success.
  4. Get proper support. Organizing an event calls for a more in-depth strategic planning for getting the best support for various areas of your event. Of course, you will need people for technical or virtual support, event organizers for hotel booking, setting up special rates, and activities to arrange for some in-person seminars on multiple sessions to make your event more exciting. Official documentation or actual transcription of the event needs to be done on a real-time and accurate basis. You need a multi-talented partner to get all these tasks done for you harmoniously without sacrificing quality. Hiring a virtual assistant is a very good idea here since it is a cost-effective move while getting all tasks done dynamically and systematically.
  5. Close any feedback loop and do it all over again in a better way. Hosting your seminar gives a delightful feeling of pride and prestige. This will make you feel more special on a spotlight and will even boosts your web presence. After delivering all your thoughts and topic for this event, ask your audience for any feedback. Ask them about the good and the bad side of everything handled in your event. By asking a fair feedback from your participants, you will surely know how to shine even more for next year's event that you will greatly enjoy.
(by Maryrose Malinao on http://www.helium.com)


http://www.webex.co.uk
http://www.workcast.co.uk
http://www.gotomeeting.co.uk
http://www.seminarstreams.com
http://www.yugma.com
http://www.dimdim.com (now bought by Salesforce.com)

Webinar Hosting
10 Tips On Hosting A Successful Webinar

The use of webinars by businesses to generate prospects is growing at a rate of 20% to 30% per year. Choosing a service provider for webinar hosting is an important decision, but determining your objectives and planning what your content will be is essential.


1. Choose your webinar hosting vendor wisely
Not all webinar hosting vendors are alike. Choose a vendor that works with a variety of operating systems, is reliable and scalable. Also, consider vendors experienced in the latest techniques in application sharing, polling, chat and recording features. Some vendors also provide targeted opt-in email lists that are bundled with the webinar hosting.

2. Consider using a meeting consultatnt
Some webinar hosting vendors such as Intercall, which offers Webex, Placeware and other offerings, provide meeting consultants as part of their service. These consultants will educate you on best practices, train you on how to conduct a successful webinar, and be present during the webinar to assist with any issues that may arise. Choose a meeting moderator to assist the speaker or speakers. Intercall offers moderators trained by CNN for a truely professional moderator.

3. Be careful when choosing the date and time of your webinar
Plan to host the webinar at least twice to accommodate different time zones. Avoid Mondays or Fridays as these are peak conferencing days and attendance is also often lower. Start at 15 minutes past the hour. Most meetings end on the hour and this gives your participants time to decompress before joining your meeting. Times such as 10 am and 2 pm are optimal, to ensure most are at their desks and available before or after lunch.

4. Develop really good quality content
Invite an industry expert, customer or partner to participate. This will stimulate more interest, drive participation and create synergy. A big brand name partner can add cache and even double or triple your attendance. Don’t cram too much type or information on your slides. Keep them simple and leave plenty of white space or background. You may also want to use sponsorships to defray your promotional costs or to expand your reach.

5. Webinar etiquette
Join your meeting early and verify that all links and presentations are working. Share a “welcome” slide that says your meeting will be starting shortly. Before your meeting begins, provide a quick review of housekeeping items, such as how to use the chat feature, or how the Q&A session will be handled. Have each speaker identify themselves when speaking, and add a photo and bio of the speakers. Remember to mute all lines until the Q&A session begins.  

6. Avoid PowerPoint only
The most captivating presentations tend to be multimedia. Include animation, flash, photos, web-demos or other visual aids to make your presentation more interesting. Engage your audience by including polling questions at key points in your presentation. This will help keep your audience’s attention.

7. Conduct surveys before and after
Ask qualifying questions during registration. This gives you keen insight into your audience. Use this information to tailor your presentation accordingly. As people exit the webinar ask them a short series of follow-up questions to further qualify them. Questions like these can provide timely information for your sales reps: What did you like most about this presentation? How likely are you to use this service? Would you like a sales rep to contact you?

8. Record your seminar
Post the webinar on your website for future viewing. Build a reference library of past webinars for your customers and prospects to peruse at their leisure. Recorded webinars and their Q&As can also be very helpful in training new employees or reviewing customer input prior to a new product launch, selling event, or internal business strategy session.

9. Follow up
Send a follow-up e-mail to participants thanking them for their attendance. Include additional relevant information; invite them to the next webinar. Send a “sorry we missed you” email to registrants who did not attend. Nurture these prospects to entice them to attend your next event. Pass all registrants and participants to Sales for follow-up. Include survey/qualifying information.

10. Review and refine
Review all feedback gathered from the webinar. Consider variations in the registration process, presentation, and Q&A process to determine what could make the webinar even more engaging.

(source: http://charlwood.com/webinar_hosting.htm)


7 Key Features To Look For In Webinar Software

Here are a list of the key features of the majority of web conferencing services which are available. This list will be useful when evaluating your needs relative to what webinar software vendors are currently offering.

1. Desktop sharing: While web conferencing, it might become extremely useful to let participants share their desktops. Maybe somebody wants to make a point about the presenter's exposition. Maybe another one wants to show a demo of his software. This web conferencing service allows the presenter to give temporary control over his or her desktop for interactive collaboration between meeting participants.

2. Application integration: Any good web conferencing software can seamlessly integrate with the most popular email and instant messaging applications out there. This throws off the learning curve involved in mastering an online meeting.

3. Servicing availability: The great thing about conferences held through the World Wide Web is that you can expect to hold a meeting whenever, wherever you want. Make sure your potential conference provider guarantees 24 hours a day and seven days a week availability.

4. Flat rate: Be wary not to fall into per-minute conferencing service schemes that suck your wallet clean. The most reasonable pricing solution in web conferencing software comes down to a low cost flat rate on a monthly or yearly basis. This way you not only save on web conferences, you can also budget your expenses more intelligibly.

5. Audio and video support: A picture is worth a thousand words. A video is worth a thousand pictures. Although we’re not still in the future that many science fiction novels portray us, audio and web conferencing is slowly getting better and better. These features may not be necessary for every individual or business, but for online presentations and webinars they become invaluable.

6. Easy to use: Ideally, you don’t want an application that requires a lot of understanding of technical stuff such as internet protocols and deep software configuration. A web conferencing solution should be as easy to use as any plug and play device for your PC.

7. Easy to install: Nowadays, international conferencing doesn’t need to be exhaustingly complex to install. By making use of the internet and the flexibility of today’s most famous operating systems, conference services should be as easy to use as your favorite instant messaging application

(source: http://charlwood.com/7_key_features_to_look_for_in_webinar_software.html)
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