A clear structure is important for the smooth running of the webinar. There are a number of standard elements that need to be mentioned or done in the introduction, the middle or at the end of the webinar. Each of these stages is explained below.
Start the webinar on time and begin the webinar powerfully. Participants form their first impression in 30 seconds. The introduction is the time to remind participants what the webinar is about, the benefits of participating and briefly introduce the speaker(s). Also bear in mind that many people arrive late, so don’t start with something important.
In addition, always briefly mention how the webinar works; how questions can be asked and what can be done if a technical problem occurs later in the broadcast. Because there are almost always participants who are attending a webinar for the first time, a brief explanation of how the webinar player and the interactive functions work is recommended. Below are two examples:
<Speaker A>: “Hello, I am <name speaker> and I am <function> at <organisation X>. As <function> I do <core of function>. Many questions are about <name topic> and today it is about <part of topic>.”
The above text is a fairly general introduction and covers the main elements. Depending on the content of the webinar and the target audience, some other important attention grabbers may be mentioned, such as:
- Mention that additional content will be shared after the broadcast;
- That there is on-demand viewing afterwards and from when this is possible;
- Whether there will be an interval;
- How participants can access slides.
Also watch this webinar “Help, I need to organise a webinar”.
After the introduction, it is a good time to launch a first poll. In this way participants can practise immediately and get an idea of how interaction during a webinar works. In the case of a webinar with educational purposes a knowledge question is often chosen here, to gauge the current knowledge level of the participants. For marketing purposes a profile enrichment question can be chosen, as in the example below.
You can choose answer A <read answer before>, B <read answer before> or C <read answer before>.
The introduction to the webinar can be summarised in 7 steps:
- Start on time;
- Greet the audience;
- Grab attention by listing the benefits of attending the webinar;
- Introduce all speakers briefly (±1 sentence);
- Explain in what ways interaction is possible and expected;
- Any other points depending on the content and target audience;
- Start with a poll question.
The central part of the webinar contains the core of the story, well laid out in a PowerPoint. This is usually not written out in full in the script, unlike the introduction and conclusion, as this ‘reading out loud’ does not help the natural flow of the story. Experience shows that writing out the story point by point is better.
Polls can be used for all kinds of purposes, such as profile enrichment and testing. Whereas they serve mainly as a ‘warm-up’ at the start of the webinar, they can be used during the programme to support the topics discussed.
In addition, a break is necessary for webinars lasting more than 90 minutes. With such a long webinar, people often feel the need to stretch their legs. This also helps concentration.
Tip: Download the webinar script for preparing your webinar.
The same applies to the end as to the beginning; end on time and in a powerful way. It is a must to refer to the survey at the end of the webinar if there is one, as this will ensure a significantly higher response rate to the survey. In addition, thanking the participants and the speaker(s) is normally also part of the conclusion.
Next, referring to the follow-up is important. Let participants know what to expect. This could be answers to open questions or extra content.
Finally, a call2action is an effective way to end a webinar. For example, promote upcoming webinars and launch a call2action in the process to generate instant registrations. Call2actions can also be used to realise registrations for the newsletter or to request extra content.
The conclusion of the webinar can be summarised in the following points:
- End on time;
- Launch call2action;
- Announce the conclusion;
- Ask participants to fill out the survey;
- Refer to the follow-up;
- Thank participants and speaker(s).