5 Mistakes People Make When Hosting a Web Conference

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Debbie told the audience she was not used to public speaking while introducing the web conference. At first it was hard to hear her and then once I was able to, she began to stumble over her words. Her presentation was peppered with “ums” and “ahs.”

5 Mistakes People Make When Hosting a Web Conference

Attending a boring web conference (or webinar) can be an excruciating experience. Debbie was the host of one of the first webinars I attended a few years ago. I would like to say that things got better for Debbie in that webinar, but I can’t because I logged out soon after her introduction. I was so uncomfortable watching her fall apart that I had to stop watching.

Thankfully I never attended another web conference that failed with such great magnitude. But I am always hyper-aware of the webinar process and the mistakes people make, because I hope to avoid making them in my own future webinars. Over time I have come up with a list of the top mistakes commonly made in web conferences and how to avoid them.

1. They don’t have a clear purpose

There should be a good reason for presenting a webinar- something important that the audience is getting by attending. Though it wasn’t the case in Debbie’s webinar, a lack of purpose has been a serious problem in some other webinars I have attended. No one wants to feel they are wasting their time. It’s important to connect your audience and the material.

2. They didn’t do the prep work

This is a common problem among web conference hosts. With people being so busy and under so much stress in our culture, it’s easy to procrastinate. While people may put off preparation because of a hectic schedule, without preparation you are doomed to fail. And ironically it really doesn’t take that long.

When you are getting things ready you should always include the following on your to-do list:

- Finding a high quality and affordable web conferencing service.

- Uploading your webinar ahead of time to allow plenty of time for practice.

- Performing a trial run to pick up any glitches.

3. They didn’t work out the audio/video kinks

Are you going to video your web conference? Have you made sure that your web conferencing company offers this service? What about audio? Have you performed a test call to make sure everything sounds professional? If you don’t do these things ahead of time then your audience is going to notice.

4. They go ‘off topic’

It’s very easy to get distracted, especially when you first begin to host webinars. But you can’t go off topic or you will lose track of time. Then you won’t be able to share all the information you told your audience would be included. I attended a webinar last year that was scheduled to be one hour and therefore set aside one hour to attend. Unfortunately, the host couldn’t stay focused and ended up speaking for almost two and a half hours!

It was very frustrating because I had already paid to listen and I didn’t want to miss anything important, but I didn’t have enough time to sit there that long. On top of that, she told the audience during her introduction that she would be sharing 6 tips and she only made it through 4 and she never noticed. Do yourself a favor - keep a bulleted list with main point in front of you so that this doesn’t happen.

5. They speak too fast

You probably remember giving speeches in school as a child and rushing through the whole thing in practically one breath just to be able to get off the stage. Even as adults it is normal to speak quickly when we are nervous. That’s why practice is important. If you feel prepared you will be much less anxious. And write a note on top of your bulleted list that says something like “Slow down.” Just seeing it there will keep you stay conscious of your speed so that you can control it.

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By being aware of the top mistakes people make when hosting web conferences, you can be sure not to make them when it’s your turn to host. Knowing what to watch out for is even more than half the battle!

*by andreascy*