If you've never done a webinar before, chances are, you want your first experience into this territory to be perfect.
But the truth is there is no such thing as a perfect webinar.
Tech glitches and issues happen. You may stumble over your words or lose your slides. But the most important element for hosting a successful webinar is all in your mindset; taking action with confidence.
What do I mean by that?
When you can tackle a webinar head-on with confidence, that will speak volumes to your audience even if there are technical issues or little mistakes. So how do you find your confidence when it comes to webinars?
That's what this post is all about. Not only will I take you through the process of setting up your webinar, I'm going to help you find your confidence. That confidence will shine through, despite what kind of technical issues or glitches you may have.
Here's what I'll cover in this post:
- How to be sure of yourself, even if things go wrong in your webinar.
- How to find value-packed webinar topics for you and your audience.
- Two of the best free webinar platforms for beginners.
- How to set up your slides (if you even need them.)
- Plus more tips and tricks along the way to help you approach your first webinar with confidence.
So if you're ready to host your first webinar as stress-free and easily as possible, this post is for you.
When Webinar Mistakes Happen: What You Can Do About Them
Nobody wants their first webinar to be a flop.
Tech issues, crazy glitches, and the embarrassment of not knowing how to fix these things are common issues when you are totally new to webinars. This section will cover common webinar blunders plus some tips for working out all the kinks to help your first webinar run smoothly.
Running out of things to say/tripping over your words.
All it takes it one verbal mess up. Suddenly, your tongue turns into rubber, and you start to panic!
How do you keep this from happening to you mid-webinar?
- Write a basic outline or script.
If you speak best with a structured plan, then you may want to put together a script or rough outline of what you’re going to say ahead of time. It doesn’t have to be complicated or down to the exact words (you don’t want to sound flat and robotic,) but you can use a rough outline or script as a safety net if you get lost.
- Let your speech flow organically if that’s your style.
If you operate better on the fly, then don’t pressure yourself to write a script. This may seem in conflict with the previous tip, but only you know how you speak the best. If you need structure, great! But if writing a script feels like a limitation, feel free to wing it.
- Warm up your voice ahead of time.
Vocal exercises aren’t just for singers. Professional speakers often use vocal exercises to get their voices warmed up before a presentation. You may feel silly doing them, but it will help train and warm up your speaking voice. There are several resources on specific techniques. Google “vocal exercises for speakers” and you can pick which ones work for you.
Tech glitches, and what to do about them.
When you’re relying on technology, there will be times it acts up.
It may seem like the death of your webinar when this happens, but people are actually very understanding of this kind of thing. So if a hiccup happens mid-webinar, don’t sweat it. Here are some tips to make technical issues less likely to happen.
- Make sure you have a reliable internet connection.
Know the limits of your current provider and plan your webinar accordingly. Zoom has a very detailed page on what kind of internet speed, and computer you need to handle a webinar. You can look over the specs here for you and your attendees. When in doubt, connect your computer to your internet directly with an ethernet cable if possible. You’ll get the most reliable connection that way.
- Don’t freak out.
Keep calm and collected even when things are on the fritz. If all else fails, you can always stop the webinar and reschedule with a bonus freebie thrown in.
- Bring on some tech help if you can.
If you have a team member or friend who’s willing to offer help behind the scenes, then it will be a huge weight off your shoulders. Even if it’s just someone behind the scenes to communicate in the comments with your attendees by reminding them to refresh or switch to a different browser if issues pop up.
- Have a backup plan.
If you have another computer at your expense, keep it close by. That way if you’re computer is going crazy you can simply pick up where you left off with a backup laptop.
- Practice, practice, practice.
I’ll elaborate more on this in a second, but most of the time you can get a feel for your platform and work out the bugs by doing a test run or two with a happy volunteer to act as an attendee.
No matter what, confidence and value will always outshine any hiccups.
I'm not going to make false promises that your very first webinar is going to run perfectly without any flaws whatsoever. But I can help prepare you to set your webinar up for success and deal with the issues that pop up. If things don't go according to plan, be confident in your message, and don’t let setbacks scare you.
Even if your webinar is a hot mess, there's good news! You haven't completely wrecked any chances of a successful webinar in the future. It may feel like a disaster but keep moving forward. Mess-ups and glitches are learning experiences that will give you crucial information for the next time around.
Some of the most meaningful webinars that I’ve ever attended weren’t about the flawless presentation or absence of technical issues. The best webinars are the ones where the speakers were genuine and down-to-earth, despite technical glitches.
Just a few days ago, I watched a Facebook live video training. The host of this training was having some technical issues, but instead of glossing over it or getting frustrated she was upfront.
Her content made such an impact on me that I didn't care about the glitches.
At the beginning of the video she said:
“I want to apologize upfront if I'm cutting in and out on you. My Internet is having issues today, but I'm not going to let that keep me from speaking with you today. So we're going to move forward and hope for the best.”
She said this with a smile on her face and a little laugh in her voice.
You could tell just by listening to her she wasn't frustrated with the technical issues and that made everyone watching more relaxed and open to hearing what she had to say. The content and value she delivered after that made such a huge impact, I honestly can’t remember if there were any tech issues. I only remember that the content was so helpful.
Technical issues just happen sometimes. As long as you are delivering valuable content in a genuine way, most audiences don't care about the technical glitches. They're only going to make a big deal out of it if you do.
So how do you build that type of confidence?
Build your confidence with Facebook live and a test webinar (or two.)
I touched on this earlier, but this part is so important, it deserves it’s own section. Most of your insecurities involving hosting your own webinar can be ironed out with a little practice.
Use Facebook live to practice your live speaking skills.
It’s okay to be nervous, but if you're worried about your anxiety making your webinar bomb take baby steps with Facebook live. Shooting live videos will help you prepare to speak to your webinar attendees and build your confidence. The goal is to feel so comfortable and at ease, you can be yourself and get your information across clearly. (Here’s an article to help you master Facebook Live.)
Host a practice webinar.
Once you get comfortable being on live video, it’s time to take your webinar for a test drive!
If you can, recruit a friend or family member to be your practice attendee. Set up your webinar like it’s the real thing and have your volunteer go through the process from initial opt-in to actually viewing the webinar to make sure everything goes smoothly for your audience.
A lot of times, all it takes is one or two test runs to feel comfortable and confident in your abilities. Confidence is key to building relationships and trust, even when your tech is going haywire.
How to Choose a Valuable Webinar Topic
The second most important element to a killer webinar is delivering valuable content to your attendees. Think of your webinar as a live training. Your audience needs helpful knowledge, insight, or actual steps to take that will add value to their lives.
This is even more important than having expensive equipment, speaking like a pro, or having zero technical glitches.
I remember watching a very high-end webinar once.
This guy sat in a fancy apartment sharing slides of all the expensive cars and trips he can afford with his business. For the first 30 minutes of this 45-minute webinar, he bragged about all the money that he's made. The last 15 was all about how all the attendees needed to buy his course to learn how. (But he never really said exactly what he does in his business.)
The webinar was professionally done. He had multiple expensive cameras the slides were perfect, and the sound quality was excellent. But he didn’t give away any useful information in the webinar.
There has been a shift in the industry. You don't have to have hundreds of thousands of people on your list to build a successful business. You don’t have to be pushy, or use deceptive marketing tactics to make a living.
You don't have to create a movie quality webinar, wow people with all of your accomplishments, and use several fancy camera angles.
Now more than ever, authenticity and connection are the way to build a successful business. So when you’re deciding on your webinar topic, think of what your audience will get the most out of.
Choosing a webinar topic that complements your course.
If you want to launch your own course, that's the best place to start when it comes to webinar topics. Think of your webinar as an appetizer for your course, but don't be stingy with your information.
It's better to give way too much than to give away too little.
Webinar length usually run between 45 minutes to 1 hour, so you want to pick a topic that is the right fit for your timeline.
Let's say, for example, you want to run a 45-minute webinar with a 15-min question and answer session afterward. Your niche is self-publishing fiction novels.
Picking a huge topic like how to plot, write, and publish your own books from start to finish may be hard to squeeze in that time frame.
But what if you go with the basics of plotting your first novel?
That is doable and will get your audience excited to hear more from you. In the end, you can sell an expanded course on plotting or maybe even a course on self-publishing from start to finish.
Your webinar should flow seamlessly into the introduction of your course. You can even use this if you haven't built a course yet, but are playing around with an idea.
Introduce your course idea as a webinar to validate your course topic. If there is a good response from the webinar, most likely there will be a good response when you go to sell your course. Plus you’ll get valuable feedback to help you build it.
But what about if you don't have a course yet? Can you still use a webinar to grow your business?
Webinars aren't just for launching a product, they are also great for list building and establishing authority in your niche. But how do you find a topic if you don’t have a course idea yet?
Finding good webinar topics when you don’t have a course yet.
One of the best ways to find a good webinar topic is to look at the content that you've already created. Find your most popular blog posts, video content, podcasts, or even infographics to see which topics resonate the most with your audience.
Go with what already is working for you and expand that topic into a webinar. Who knows… your audience may like the webinar so much that they ask you to make a course on it.
I am a huge fan of not making anything any harder than it needs to be, especially when it comes to business. Why reinvent the wheel when you already have content on your website that you can leverage into a webinar?
When in doubt, ask your audience.
For some reason, a lot of entrepreneurs think asking their audience for feedback and help is a sign of weakness.
You're supposed to be the expert. You are supposed to be an authority in your niche. If you’re asking your audience questions, then you must know what you're talking about right?
But the thing is, especially when you have a smaller audience, they love feeling included. Asking your audience for feedback is a crucial part of your business. Even at Kajabi, we value the feedback of our audience. Your feedback is valuable to us because it helps us serve you better.
Who knows what's best for your audience than, well... your audience?
So if you want to host your own webinar, but aren’t sure what topic to choose, reach out to your audience. A lot of our Kajabi Heroes (like Scott Perry for example) do this. So if you're really stumped, ask your audience what they want to see from you. It can be a simple email, social media post, or even a poll in your Facebook group.
The Best Webinar Platforms for Beginners
There are some great webinar providers out there, but I’m going to cover the top two free options out there for beginners. Both are free, but you can always upgrade to a premium service later.
Two of the best providers are Zoom and YouTube Live.
Setting up a Zoom account to host your own webinar is very easy and user-friendly. Your attendees can even call into the webinar on their phones if you want to give them that option.
But Zoom does have some limitations to consider. If you have a bigger audience or want to run your webinar longer than 40 minutes, then you definitely want to consider upgrading to one of the paid plans or go with Youtube Live.
Using YouTube Live for Webinars
YouTube requires just a little bit more leg work to get a webinar set up, but it is definitely worth looking into if you have an audience that's bigger than a hundred people.
YouTube servers can handle as many people as you can throw at it. There is no limit to how many participants you can have or how long you can run your webinar. The best part, all of it is completely free.
Set your YouTube live webinar in your creator studio. Go to Live Streaming > Events.
Set up your event as unlisted when you’re setting up your live event.
This way, people can only access this video through a special link they get when they opt-in to your webinar. Make the date and time very clear in your opt-in and emails. Sending 2-3 reminder/countdown emails the week of your webinar is also a good idea too.
You can embed the Youtube video into any Kajabi page.
Using Kajabi Landing Pages To Host Your Webinar
Once you've chosen your ideal webinar platform, it's time to embed them into a landing page (or even a digital product)!
By using Kajabi landing pages, you can implement call-to-action into your landing pages to drive conversions during your webinar...
So if you're trying to drive sales, leads, whatever, this is the best practice we recommend!
Planning Your Webinar Format
Depending on your relationship with PowerPoint or Keynote (my personal favorite) you may be wondering whether or not you should use slides in your webinar. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It all depends on how you communicate with people the best.
Some people prefer hosting webinars where they talk directly to their attendees. Some people prefer to have a structured set of slides with voiceover and then get in front of the camera for a Q&A at the end.
A good way to determine what the best fit for you is to see how you connect the best with your audience. For example, if you do podcasts and your audience responds well to those maybe voice over with PowerPoint will be the best fit for you.
If your audience responds best to your Facebook Live, videos that's a good indicator that you need to get in front of the camera where people can see you.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to webinars. The only real way to figure out what works best for you is to take the plunge and host your first webinar (or several.) Keep learning, modifying, and tweaking your strategy as you go.
Tips for using slides in your webinar.
If you decide slides are a good fit for you, or just want to play around with them, here are a few tips to help you get through the process smoothly.
- Don't be afraid of using too many slides.
Anywhere from 100 to 200 slides for a 45-minute long webinar is a good starting point. This averages out to about 4 to 5 slides per minute.
- Keep your slides short.
If 100 or more slide seems overwhelming to you, this will make things a lot easier. Your slides should be really simple and easy to read. Big blocks of text on a slide don’t read well. Break down your slide content into tiny bite-sized chunks. The more white space on your slides the better. It will be for your audience to digest the information as you speak.
- Make your slide design simple.
If you have a color scheme that is instantly recognizable to your brand, then go ahead and incorporate those colors into your slides. But you don't want a ton of crazy images or clipart in your slides to distract from your content. When in doubt, opt for clean and simple.
A quick note on sound quality.
If you can, I highly recommend that you get an external mic. (My favorite is the Blue Snowball iCE. You can get one for around $50 on Amazon, and the sound quality is excellent! Plus they look really nice too.)
If an external mic is out of your budget, another good option is Apple headphones with a built-in mic. The microphone is noise canceling so your voice will come out clearer than if you just use your computer's microphone.
If you don’t have any headphones lying around, then don’t worry about it too much. You can always upgrade your equipment later.
The Best Way to Have a Successful Webinar
You can research every step, look up every statistic out there on webinars, and even read books on the subject. But there is a point where you are researching your webinar into the ground instead of actually doing it.
I get it. I really do.
You want to go into your webinar with confidence, so you want to know your stuff before you take the plunge.
But nothing will build your confidence like taking action.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to host a perfect webinar. If you want to host your own webinar, then go for it! If things don’t go how you plan, take notes of what worked and what didn’t and adjust your approach next time.
The best way to have a successful webinar is to take action.
Be okay with your first webinar not going perfectly. Give yourself permission to feel it out and learn how to make your webinars fit you and your audience the best. Even if you “bomb” the whole thing (chances are you won’t…) you are still making progress.
Procrastination out of fear will guarantee failure…
I hope this post has inspired you to take action and dive into your first webinar!
If you are looking into webinars to launch a course, I’d love to invite you to explore how Kajabi can help! Kajabi is geared toward course creators and entrepreneurs who want the full package and complete freedom without the tech headaches of other platforms.
Our Kajabi Heroes have used Kajabi in every niche and business model you can imagine.
If you want to learn more about how Kajabi can help you grow (or even start) your own business click here to look over our help resources. I want to encourage you to reach out to our awesome support team if you want to learn more about how Kajabi can serve your business.
From webinars to course creation and beyond, Kajabi may be the perfect fit to help you build a business from your passion!
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