You boot up your computer, log on, sit back, relax and attend a live webinar. To those who have long sailed the webinar stream, attending a web-based seminar is all too simple and it feels like second nature. Attending a webinar as part of the audience could not be any simpler than showing up to the scheduled event – the real work lands on the presenter and moderator, does it on? Wrong.
A webinar is nothing like a one-way street where all an audience does is merely sit down and listen. Despite it being conducted in the virtual environment of the worldwide web, the crux of the webinar’s matter, so to speak, is interactive communication.
Interactivity is what drives a rich mix of educators, trainers, human resource managers, PR people, marketers, advocates and netizens in the wonderful world of webinars. Its ability to amplify, through web-based technology, the reach of communication and interactive messaging is the webinar’s shining glory, and here lies its appeal to both presenters and audiences alike.
So, whether you are new to attending webinars or an old-timer who is raring to achieve more with your time and effort, think of webinars as a platform for discussing your ideas and engaging with webinar resource persons and field experts.
Webinars may just be one of the most promising communication and knowledge sharing platforms ever introduced by the Digital Age, so you better be prepared to embrace and maximize the time you spend attending each and every one of your webinars by knowing what to expect and how to prepare for one.
Many would agree that for the most part, our Digital Age is all about instantaneous communication and knowledge sharing, and most webinars are designed to facilitate exactly that objective. So, if you are to establish just one expectation when you attend a webinar, by all means expect that you will learn something new or gain more understanding of the topic.
You might have gotten wind of a particular webinar event from an invitation sent to one of the mailing lists or RSS feeds you subscribe to, or perhaps from a post you saw on your most visited social media platform, but regardless of where you learned about it, the webinar caught your attention because it promised information on a topic that you are interested in.
This is because most of those who host webinars are using this communication platform to share knowledge, provide new information or assist audiences in dealing with personal or professional issues and difficulties.
Where producing white papers, mass-mailing company brochures, publishing website posts and blog entries and organizing face-to-face seminars are still considered costly and a lot more tedious, webinars are said to be more effective means of informing and engaging audiences without the hefty price tag.
While as an audience you may give more weight to a webinar’s content before even deciding if you want to attend one, a really engaging and interactive webinar format may also prove to be a major expectation.
For example, if we only want information then we can just read a book or surf websites at our own leisurely pace, so why bother signing up for a webinar? The difference between gaining information by yourself and by attending a webinar is the interactivity.
In a webinar, you are an audience and not just a reader or listener (as in the case of podcasts). You can expect to have your space and time to ask questions and sound off ideas to the presenter during a webinar.
You can also expect to meet and possibly interact with other webinar attendees whom you might share similar queries or thoughts.
When you have already set your expectations in the webinar you will be attending, all roads should then lead to preparations for the actual event.
- In terms of content, much of the preparation will be born understandably by the webinar host, presenter and moderator, but it would pay well to do even a small modicum of preparation yourself. This would include getting generally familiar with the topic, thinking of specific knowledge areas you would want to learn or questions you would like to raise to the presenter come the actual event.
- Doing a bit of research and familiarization with the presenter or organization hosting the event will also get you on the track of making the most of the webinar in terms of expected input and knowledge values.
- Never let technology be in the way of the benefits you will reap from the webinar you will be attending. If the webinar requires a pre-enlistment of attendees, make sure that you register the soonest time possible to ensure that you get a slot. Make time for installing necessary software or application to the device you intend to use during the actual webinar and get familiar with the software features.
- Run a pretest of the audio and video capabilities of your device and test your internet connection speed to ensure a smooth webinar experience.
- Do technical adjustments when necessary well ahead of the event schedule so you do not have to deal with last minute problems that could take your mind away from actually getting the most of the webinar.
When you are done with identifying your expectations and doing necessary preparations for the webinar, all that remains to be done is to hope that the result you have envisioned and prepared for materializes.
There are still many factors that could affect the results of the webinar, but no hope should be lost when you train your sights to the power of webinars to enable meaningful engagement and effective communication and knowledge sharing.
So in the end, sit back, relax and get ready to attend a webinar!