Aren’t webinars and online meetings the same thing? Well, yes and no. Webinars are increasingly popular, and some businesses have been left wondering: what’s the difference?

Well, online meetings and webinars both allow you to interact with audiences spread out all over the world. But, they have different purposes and audiences. In this article, we’re going to help you figure out when to use a webinar, and when to use an online meeting, and how you can make the most of whichever medium you choose.


Webinar or Online Meeting — What’s the Difference?

An online meeting is a collaboration among a relatively small group of people. It is an open forum for people to share their ideas on the meeting agenda.

A webinar, on the other hand, is a presentation to a larger group. While there are opportunities for audience participation in a webinar, the features need to be used strategically.


When Should I Use an Online Meeting?

Online meetings are great for group discussions with people who are not in the same location – managers of different offices spread around the country (or the world) or sales teams who are on the road. It’s a great way to meet with your team while saving money on travel expenses.

ClickMeeting online meeting features allow you to:

  1. Meet with up to 25 people. This means that you can plan a meeting with your branch managers or your northeast sales team. You decide who needs to be there. You can update your team, provide time for collaboration, and make room for people to ask and answer questions.
  2. Use audio-visual features. Use the presentation feature to share internal updates with your team, collaborate to improve on a design using the meeting board, or allow others in your organization to provide updates by allowing them to be presenters with you, no matter where they are.
  3. Record the meeting. Recording the meeting allows you to meet with one group of stakeholders and then share it with others in your organization so that everyone is on the same page. This feature also allows people to go back to the meeting as needed to help them remember important points.


When Should I Use a Webinar?

Webinars allow for a presentation of up to 500 people — or more. Now you can reach a large audience wherever they are. This is a great way to intro a new product to your existing customers, share your expertise on a topic, or conduct organization-wide training.

In a webinar, you are not looking for everyone to share or mark up what your presentation. However, there are several features that you would want to use in a webinar to allow your audience to interact.

Great ClickMeeting features to use for a webinar:

  1. Polls & Surveys. In an online meeting, you would want the input of everyone in attendance. In a webinar, however, you would want your feedback to be more targeted. Polls and Surveys allow your audience to weigh-in on your presentation. This allows you to get feedback and information from your audience without giving up control of the message.
  2. Moderated Q&A. Unlike in an online meeting, in a webinar, you would not want people interrupting your presentation to ask questions. Use Moderated Q&A strategically to allow your audience to ask questions and clarify information. You provide answers in real time, and your audience leaves your webinar without any confusion or misunderstanding, on your terms.
  3. Social Media Sharing. This feature allows you to advertise your webinar to as many people as possible. Unlike an online meeting, where the participants are specifically invited, a webinar is meant to reach a large audience of people you may not have interacted with before.


So… Which Should You Plan?

If you are planning an event for a small number of people with whom you would like to collaborate, then you want to do an online meeting. It allows everyone to share their ideas and participate.

If, however, you are looking to share information with a large group of people and perhaps answer a few questions in a controlled way, then you definitely want to check out webinars.

Either way, you want to set your intent, plan for your audience, and strategically use the ClickMeeting features to help you execute your event flawlessly!

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Posted by Jakub Zielinski

Jakub is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist at ClickMeeting.

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