Good preparation improves the quality of the webinar considerably. A script and going through a so-called “dry run” are components that support the speaker(s) and host in this. These two topics will be discussed in this knowledge point:
Presenting a webinar is complicated and very different from presenting to a physical audience, where (non-)verbal feedback is given. This is missing in the online environment and you have to speak into a camera. This is difficult for many speakers, but also has an advantage: getting stuck on a question that is difficult to answer is not possible, as these types of questions can also be answered after the live webinar.
Depending on the division of tasks, the speaker often has to undertake several activities at the same time, such as presenting, promoting interaction and monitoring and/or dealing with the questions. In addition, there is less room for errors, which are also more noticeable online. For example, dead air, a silence at the transition to the next PowerPoint slide is disruptive for both the participants and the presenter and should be avoided. Experts therefore advise to practice a lot in order to improve the quality of the webinar.
A dry run that resembles the live webinar as much as possible is an excellent exercise and useful to avoid possible problems during the live webinar. Both the speaker(s) and the host should be present for this. Practice with the slides, handling questions, interaction with other speaker(s) and/or the host and presenting in front of a camera. Research has shown that recording a dry run (several times) is useful, especially for new speakers, to practice, look back on and evaluate. In this way, weak points can be discovered and subsequently improved. A professional “webinar training” can also be more supportive in the preparation phase.
Whereas a script describes the general planning of all the activities surrounding the webinar, a script does this in detail for the course of the webinar from minute to minute. It contains the scope of what is going to be said, who is going to say it, the interaction moments such as the launching of polls and the handling of questions, any comments and, finally, how long each of these elements is going to take.
An example of a script is shown in the table below.
The script is a particularly good tool in the preparation and presentation of the webinar. It helps with content
planning and consciously thinking about interaction moments. Interaction moments such as the handling of questions in particular should be described in detail. If there are no questions (yet) from the participants, then interaction can still be started with the help of well prepared ‘fake questions’ including answers. Such a well-planned webinar is less prone to errors, more interactive and makes the presentation easier for the speaker.
The script should be studied well in advance. During the broadcast itself, it is useful for the speaker(s) to have the PowerPoint slides at hand. Give the webcast producer a copy of the script as an aid to know when to present what during the broadcast. This is especially useful for the interactive elements.