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How to Host Your First Zoom Video Webinar
November 18, 2014 by Zoom

Hosting a webinar can elicit feelings similar to those you get before giving any big presentation. You might get that funny feeling in the pit of your stomach. That’s actually a symptom of webinarius nervosa, a common temporary condition (that we made up but totally stand behind) that gives sufferers a feeling of anxiety before turning on the cameras. The symptoms are very similar to meeting paralysis, although the freezing at the jaw is slightly less amplified. The severity of these conditions varies from person to person, but we all have it to some degree.

While launching your webinar on Zoom’s stable Video Webinar platform will make it easier on you due to its simplicity and fail-proof architecture, you might still feel some stage fright. But there comes a time when everyone has to do something for the first time, so if you begin to feel symptoms of webinarius nervosa, read this guide to making a great webinar – including everything from quelling anxiety to engaging participants. Even if this isn’t your first rodeo, it’s always a good idea to go through this material before you switch the camera on.

stage frightRemember that stage fright is normal.

A 2001 Gallup poll has revealed that around 40 percent of American adults feel stage fright. So before you get started in your journey, just know that your jittery feelings are absolutely normal. In fact, a little bit of anxiety is actually beneficial, to some extent. You can leverage this anxiety and channel it into something more positive by changing what you tell yourself. Just reinforce the words “I will try my best to deliver an awesome webinar” in your mind. Focus on you attendees. Give yourself an attitude that gets your productive juices flowing.

Do you fear that the people watching your presentation are going to be bored? Tell yourself: “They are interested in my webinar. After all, that is why they took the trouble to sign up and actually attend!” Also, temper your expectations. You don’t have to give the Best Webinar Ever. You just have to share what you know with people who, as we said, have already shown interest in your subject.

See a pattern here? What we’re trying to tell you is: don’t derail yourself. You can be your own best friend or worst enemy, depending on your outlook.

Outline your goals.

One of the best ways to get rid of stage fright and create a compelling narrative is to give your webinar a clear and transparent purpose. There’s nothing worse than speaking publicly without being prepared. If you’re the kind of person who carefully outlines every single little detail of every webinar you’re about to do, then you’re probably wondering why we’re saying something so obvious. Well, you won’t believe the amount of people who just go into a conversation without writing even so much as a single word.

Just write your outline and you’ll see how different you’ll feel once you’re done!

screen sharing a graphProvide visuals.

Zoom Video Webinars are different from the rest because they are video webinars, meaning that attendees can actually see the panelists. But it is also helpful to provide your viewers some visuals other than your face. Here are two options:

1. Screen share. You can screen share a traditional PowerPoint presentation, a video, your website, graphs, infographics…the possibilities are endless. You can even annotate these visuals to draw attention to the important points.

2. Demo. We saw the effectiveness of live demos during our most recent webinar: Take Your Conference Room to the Cloud. Instead of just discussing options for cameras, speakerphones, and collaboration tools, Paul Richards of Conference Room Systems moved around the room, holding up different devices for our audience, and discussing their merits, sometimes while live demoing the features. It made the entire experience more interesting for the viewers.

Share the burden.

Zoom allows for up to 25 two-way video panelists in our video webinars. This means you don’t have to get up there all by yourself. Demoing your product? Invite one of your customers as a co-panelist to discuss their experiences using your product. Discussing a specific topic? Invite one or two experts to weight in. Not only will these co-panelists share the burden, they will provide more points-of-view, allowing for a richer experience for your viewers.

Q&AAnticipate your Q&A session.

If you plan to have a Q&A, try to anticipate the questions that attendants will ask you. Think of every possible angle they can take and try to think of good ways to parry the most difficult questions. If you’re talking about a new product, expect questions on usability, features, cost, availability, and similar products from competitors. When you know you have all the answers, you can finally feel like a million bucks before you dive into your webinar.

Zoom offers the option to answer questions via text or live on camera. Text message is handy for questions like “What’s your website?” and “Where can I find a recording of this webinar?” You can even answer a question via private text if the attendee has an issue or question that is not generally applicable to your audience. The live answer option is best for questions that will actually contribute to your conversation, such as topics you wanted to discuss anyway or that all or most attendees will find useful.

There is no perfect webinar.

Don’t think in terms of hosting the perfect webinar. Focus instead on delivering the best webinar that you can. Your audience isn’t expecting you to be Shakespeare. What they want is for you to demonstrate expertise and authority. Go with whatever makes you comfortable and don’t worry about what others think of you.

To make sure that your webinar experience goes by as smoothly as possible, you should use Zoom Video Webinar, which lets you and up to 24 others speak to an audience of up to 3,000 viewers!