Tips for Hosting Awesome WebEx Webinars

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Just because people show up to our webinars, it doesn't mean they are listening, learning or even paying attention. In a recent Intercall study, 65% of people admitted to doing other work during a conference call. 27% of people admitted to falling asleep! Last week at Program Conference, participants in our "How to Host Awesome WebEx Webinars" workshop, came up with some great ideas for keeping people engaged (and awake!).

In the workshop, we showed most of the WebEx Training Center tools that are available for engaging participants and shared creative ways to use them: These include chat, annotate, whiteboard, quick poll, sharing, emoticons, polls, breakout rooms, Q & A and notes.

We demonstrated the annotation text tool in WebEx by inviting webinar participants to write down some common Don'ts and Do's when hosting webinars. Our lists were long but here are a few...

Don't:
  • Host a WebEx meeting on a wireless connection (use a wired connection!)
  • Forget to record the meeting
  • Read from a script - present your information
  • Ignore your online participants 
Do:
  • Learn the WebEx tools
  • Broadcast your video/webcam
  • Engage your participants often 
  • Use pictures vs. text in your PowerPoint
  • Plan your webinar
Some people were surprised to hear they should engage their participants every 4 minutes. According to Becky Pluth, author of Webinars with Wow Factor, the average length of time a learner stays engaged before getting distracted and begins a new task is 4 minutes. Active learning requires thinking and involves the learner and compels them to read, write, type, reflect, problem-solve. laugh, etc.

One thing that riled people up during the workshop was learning that a WebEx Training Center meeting host can tell when participants are no longer paying attention. A red ! appears next to participants who have wandered away from the meeting window. This is a great cue for presenters to re-engage participants or ask if they need a break. For every 60 minutes you should take a 10 minute break.

Workshop participants used a one-hour webinar planning worksheet to walk through the components of a typical webinar and brainstorm activities and ways to interact with webinar participants.

Pre-presentation (when people are joining the webinar): Give people something to look at, listen to, think about or do. It gets them engaged right away. Ideas include puzzles, chat (where are they from, what do they already know about the content, etc), show topic related trivia, introduce them to the tools they will be using in WebEx, greet them verbally. One person in our workshop said they play music and have people chat answers to questions during this time.

Introduction: This can be both an introduction to the WebEx tools you will be using and introduction to presenters and other participants. Ideas include showing a map and have them "point" to where they are from (annotation tools), ask a yes/no question using the quick poll, chat to share one fact about the content

Content: Every 4 minutes, check in with your participants. Have them reflect, review, discuss, write, read, etc. You do not need to plan an activity every 4 minutes, just check in! Mix up your content by using more photos and less text.

Breaks: You should provide a 10 minute break every 60 minutes. Let people know you will be providing a break or they will take one on their own.

Evaluation: You don't have to save this until the end - check in throughout your presentation. Idea: Share a Qualtrics survey from within the WebEx window. If you use the Share > Web Content and drop in the survey URL, participants can fill out the survey right then and there!! Build in time for them to take the survey in your webinar instead of sending it with them at the end.

Wrap Up: Review content and have people share their takeaways in the chat or a shared Google document. Tip: if you use a shared Google document you need to set sharing rights to "public". Then in WebEx use the Share > Web Content option. Create a Wordle using their takeaway text. Or just use a Whiteboard and have people annotate with the text tool their takeaways.

One last tip: people in this workshop liked the e.ggtimer.com that I used during activities. In WebEx, use the Share > Web Content and type e.ggtimer.com. It counts down the amount of time you are giving people for the activity. They have some presets you can use (e.g. e.ggtimer.com/90 (for 90 seconds), e.ggtimer.com/5minutes, or e.ggtimer.com/morning)

For fun, check out: http://whattimeisitthere.info/

Here is the PowerPoint pesentation from our workshop.

Question for you. What are some ways you could use WebEx tools to engage your participants just before your webinar starts and during a webinar? Please share your ideas in the comments!!!




2 comments:

  1. Thank you, Karen!! SO appreciate your help in getting us all ready to use WebEx!!!!
    Kari Robideau

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  2. Of course Kari! I am looking forward to your workshop on learning how to TEACH via WebEx.

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