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Dawn Baird

Partner at Sensei
Dawn Baird is a writer, coach and trainer based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is inspired by the enabling and liberating principles of Dweck's Growth Mindset, Langer's brand of Mindfulness and anyone who has the cahones to call a spade a spade. She drinks Tempted Dry or Earl Grey, depending on the mood. πŸ˜‰
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GoToWebinar is software that is designed to enable you to deliver webinars – online seminars – without having to think too hard about the technical side of things.

For those engaged in public speaking, webinars offer some clear advantages over arranging half and full-day workshops:

  1. Online setup – in one place
  2. Automated communication, file-sharing, reminders and follow-up emails
  3. Zero travel (Organisers, Presenters and Attendees can “attend” from multiple physical locations)
  4. The Record facility enables absentees to catch up later

I’ve been using GoToWebinar now for about six months, to help a client deliver learning sessions online for their client. Here are my findings. (Title Case in the text of this blog post indicates the name of a GoToWebinar element, e.g. Presenter, Broad.)

GoToWebinar Setup Could Not Be Easier

To Schedule a Webinar, you login and complete the following information for each one:

  • Title
  • Date and Time
  • Timezone and Language
  • Description
  • Webinar Information
  • Organiser and Presenters (each is emailed their own unique link and Webinar Information, that enables them to join the webinar at the appointed time in the correct mode)

GoToWebinar Control Panel is Intuitive

Organisers have full control over every aspect of the webinar. Presenters have slightly less of these controls. Attendees simply have Sound, and a Question/Chat window.

  • Start
  • Start Broadcast
  • Record
  • Share screen
  • Control sound and webcams for Presenters
  • Chat Privately with anyone or compose messages and Send to All
  • Answer Attendee questions
  • Close webinar

GoToWebinar Enables Interaction

So many webinar tools allow only one-way communication: from the Presenter to the Attendees. GoToWebinar enables Presenters to encourage Attendees’ interaction by:

  • Asking questions and requesting responses via Chat
  • Displaying Polls and Results
  • Encouraging Attendees to type Questions, which Presenters can then answer as they go along

My anecdotal experience is that in webinars of around 100 Attendees or a little less, approximately 10% of Attendees interact by asking questions. Over 80% respond to Polls. Less than 5% use the Chat function – perhaps Polls and Questions are more easily defined.

GoToWebinar Facilitates Follow-up & Reporting

  • You can email all Attendees, Presenters and Organiser a follow-up email
  • You can send a link to the Recording to anyone, not just Attendees
  • You can email detailed management reports (Attendee Reports) to relevant staff, including percentage engagement per attendee for example
  • You can also use the management reports to review Questions and Answers, Chat content

Organiser Checklist

If you’ve been given the task of setting up, running, marketing or presenting a webinar – using GoToWebinar or a similar tool – then this is your checklist:

Control Panel

  • You may need to use CMD+Tab on your keyboard to switch the focus of the mouse pointer between PowerPoint and your GoToWebinar Control Panel, so that you can click on it, and the same when you need to go back to PowerPoint to advance slides
  • This is useful for Organisers when you need to: Display Polls, use Chat, answer Questions, switch Presenters or switch on or off Sound or Webcams

Start the Webinar (but not the Broadcast)

  • This opens the webinar title page (an automated voice announces that broadcasting will start soon)
  • Caution: if you share your screen at this point, and have really early Attendees registering and joining the webinar, they will see it (though they will not be able to hear you talking with other Organisers or Presenters) – this is a known issue

Get Your Presentation Ready

  • Have your PowerPoint presentation (for example) sitting open and in Display mode

Start Broadcast

  • This starts the webinar properly for Attendees to see and hear the Presenters and the presentation (an automated voice announces this to Attendees, Presenters and Organisers)
  • Click Record if you need a recording of the webinar (this will be available via a shareable link, shortly after the webinar is finished)

Have Presenters Welcome Attendees

  • It’s good practice to wait a minute or so, to enable latecomers to join (the majority will have joined by 2 minutes into the webinar)

Post Introductory Info into Chat Window

  • Add Welcome, Instructions or Presenter Bios, where relevant

Advance Slides

  • Begin to advance slides as Presenters move through the presentation
  • It’s best to have this worked out in advance with your Presenters the verbal cues for moving to the next slide, making for a smoother Attendee experience (listening to “next slide” gets boring real quick)
  • Presenters may move back and forward, depending on different sections of the presentation (again, arranging in advance how this is done keeps things seamless for Attendees)

Ask for Engagement

  • Display Polls
  • Send messages in Chat
  • Ask for Questions and answer them

Thank Attendees

  • Thank everyone for attending or presenting, as appropriate
  • Signpost to where Attendees can find additional (website) or follow-up information (emailed), and how they can access the recording (if there is one)

End Webinar

  • The webinar windows and Control Panel closes for all Attendees, Presenters and Organisers

Conduct Follow-up & Reporting

  • Send out all relevant emails as listed above

Need Help to Run a Series of Team or Client Webinars?

We can help you design your presentations, coach your Presenters or manage the tech side of things, leaving you relaxed and free to focus on the learning.

If you have any questions about webinars or GoToWebinar, or you’d like to talk to us about running some webinars for you, get in touch.