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The Webinar Etiquette Tips for Presenters and Attendees

Maximize the impact of your webinars with these valuable etiquette tips for presenters and attendees. Learn how to create a professional and engaging webinars, ensuring smooth communication and active participation.
Hubilo
,
July 17, 2023

The current situation has provided us with an alternative for holding meetings in the form of online meetings. Previously, if unforeseen circumstances arose, people would put meetings on hold or cancel them. However, technological advancements now allow us to conduct meetings online. These online meetings, also known as webinars, are organized on various online platforms.

Webinars provide brands with a valuable opportunity to directly connect with their audience, while consumers benefit from gaining knowledge on specific topics. When executed correctly, webinars can be a win-win situation. However, not all webinars run smoothly. There are instances where the content must match the promised webinar topic, presenters must arrive on time, or attendees engage in distracting chatroom conversations. These situations can diminish the overall webinar experience for both presenters and attendees.

Participating in live webinars can become frustrating when one has to adhere to rules and regulations, whether as a presenter or an attendee. Unfortunately, engaging in a webinar does not exempt individuals from these rules and regulations. Presenters and attendees need to play their part to ensure more productive webinars. Presenters can deliver engaging and relevant content by adhering to specific guidelines, while attendees can actively participate and contribute constructively. Creating a positive webinar experience requires collaboration and mutual respect, ultimately leading to more successful and beneficial interactions.

It is essential to follow webinar etiquette, similar to the rules of conduct for in-person meetings or presentations but with some adjustments for the online format. To ensure a successful webinar experience, here are the crucial guidelines for presenters and attendees. These rules will help you maximize the benefits of your webinars.

Webinar etiquette tips for presenters

​​Presenting through webinar platforms can be intimidating, but with the right approach, presenters can still captivate their audiences and deliver engaging and professional presentations.

To help presenters conduct successful webinars, here are some valuable tips to consider. These suggestions will aid in delivering effective presentations and maintaining audience engagement.

1. Familiarize yourself with the webinar software in advance.

Technical difficulties can be disruptive and challenging to recover from during a presentation. It can be frustrating for everyone involved if the presenter pauses the webinar to install a screen-sharing application, update slides, or adjust their microphone due to feedback. To avoid such disruptions, allocate time before the webinar to test all the necessary online meeting technologies. Learn the key features and functionalities, including sharing your screen, playing audio/video clips, spotlighting attendees, and adjusting their audio/video settings. Consider having a moderator to assist you in managing the chatroom and facilitating the presentation flow. Once you feel comfortable navigating the webinar platform, conduct a trial run of the entire presentation to determine the appropriate time allocation for each section and ensure you stay on schedule.

webinar software

2. Always wear a headset.

Wearing a headset ensures superior sound quality for your viewers, enabling them to hear you clearly without disruptions. By doing so, you can avoid unnecessary audio-related inquiries during the webinar, fostering self-confidence and enhancing the overall quality of your presentation.

3. Establish eye contact

Maintaining eye contact establishes a connection with your viewers, and it is essential to ensure you look directly into your webcam during the webinar. Doing so demonstrates your undivided attention to both the content and the audience. Additionally, this approach allows viewers to feel as though you are directly engaging with them, mirroring the experience of a face-to-face conference.

4. Try to be engaging, even when you're not talking.

Maintain engagement even when you're not speaking by utilizing your body language. Employ facial expressions, nodding your head, and other gestures to demonstrate active listening and genuine interest. 67% of webinar attendees say that the most important thing is for presenters to be passionate and engaging. By doing so, you will convey your enthusiasm and create a positive impression of someone genuinely pleased to participate in the webinar.

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5. Adjust your pace for the webinar presentation.

Remember that watching an online webinar presentation differs from engaging in a conversation, mainly when slides are used and physical cues are absent. If you sputter, consciously slow down your pace during the webinar. If you are demonstrating something, allow pauses between steps to accommodate any possible lag time and allow participants to catch up with your instructions. It will facilitate better understanding and engagement for all attendees.

6. Avoid reading your slides during the webinar presentation.

When creating slides for your webinar, keep them simple and concise, utilizing bullet points and relevant graphics to complement your lecture. Slides overloaded with text can be distracting, diverting the viewer's attention away from your spoken content. Simply reading the slides aloud diminishes the effectiveness of your presentation, rendering it no more impactful than sharing a written report.

webinar presentation slides

7. Utilize visuals to enhance your points during the webinar.

Incorporating graphics and visual aids can effectively engage your audience and facilitate better retention of information. Using images such as pie charts or other visual representations instead of relying solely on text provides your audience with visual cues that enhance their understanding and help them retain the information you present.

8. Repeat audience questions during the webinar presentation.

In cases where there is a live audience component in the webinar, it is essential always to repeat audience questions during the question-and-answer sessions. Refrain from assuming that the online audience can hear the questions. Consumers reported that they would most like (22%) to see a host or presenter that takes questions from the audience. By repeating the questions, you ensure that both the in-person and online participants are aware of the queries. Answer the questions clearly and address both audiences, providing comprehensive responses after restating the question.

9. Incorporate multiple hosts or guests in your webinar presentations.

It can be beneficial for businesses to involve multiple hosts or guest speakers rather than having just one host during the webinar. This approach allows for promotion to a larger audience by collecting more email addresses and enables sharing of awareness about the webinars on various social channels. Incorporating multiple hosts or guests adds diversity and fresh perspectives to the presentation, making it more engaging and dynamic.

10. Familiarize yourself with your webinar audience.

When delivering a presentation, it is helpful to have a basic understanding of your webinar audience. Gather information such as their job roles, expectations from the webinar, and the specific topics they are interested in learning about. This knowledge about your audience can assist in tailoring your presentation to make it more relevant, interesting, and engaging for the attendees.

Familiarize yourself with your webinar audience

11. Establish the webinar's expectations and guidelines upfront. 

Each webinar format may differ, from educational sessions where the presenter primarily addresses audience questions to more interactive settings. It's essential to communicate your expectations to the audience early on. Send a reminder email to attendees a few days before the webinar, including a dedicated section on guidelines. Address the following questions in your communication:

  • Should attendees keep their cameras and microphones on or off?
  • Is active participation encouraged? If so, how can attendees engage?
  • Are there any preparatory work or materials that attendees need to know?

Additionally, you can reiterate these instructions at the beginning of the webinar when participants are joining the session. It serves as a helpful reminder and ensures that everyone knows the guidelines from the start.

12. Present what is expected and align with audience expectations.

Imagine ordering a medium-well steak at a restaurant but receiving a piece of chicken instead. Even if the chicken is delicious, it doesn't matter because it doesn't match what you ordered. Meeting audience expectations is crucial for building trust. In the context of webinars, it can be highly frustrating for attendees to anticipate a presentation on a specific topic and receive something entirely different. This sudden shift can confuse, leading to high drop-off rates and low engagement. Furthermore, each webinar type serves a distinct purpose and caters to a specific audience.

13. Enhance webinar accessibility. 

While webinars provide valuable information, they may lack accessibility features for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing (HoH), or visually impaired. Review your webinar hosting platform and utilize the built-in live captioning and transcription features. Sharing presentation slides with attendees in advance can also aid non-native speakers in familiarizing themselves with the content. If feasible within your budget, consider hiring an interpreter to sign your presentation for deaf and HoH audiences. Alternatively, explore video relay service providers that connect your audience with interpreters during the session. Use high-contrast colors in your slides to enhance visibility for visually impaired attendees.

14. Record the webinar session.

Recognize that not all registrants can attend the live session due to scheduling conflicts. By recording the webinar, you can provide value to those who missed it. 56% of hosts broadcast live video, making it available for on-demand viewing. Consider limiting access to the recording for a designated period and add password protection for added security. It allows interested individuals to review the content at their convenience, further engaging with your brand.

record the webinar session

Webinar etiquette tips for attendees

15. Join the webinar on time.

Webinars typically adhere to strict agendas, leaving little room for catching up if you join late. To fully benefit from the webinar, make sure you are on time. Most webinars allow attendees a one- to three-minute grace period to log in. Please join a few minutes early in case of any login difficulties, providing ample time to seek assistance from the webinar organizer if needed. Setting reminders before the webinar ensures that you are prepared when the event begins.

16. Turn off your webcam during the webinar presentation.

Turn off your webcam or cover the lens with a post-it note, especially when you're in listening mode. This precaution prevents unintentional sharing of your video feed if the presenter switches from a PowerPoint presentation to a webinar software that defaults to displaying participants' webcams.

17. Exercise patience and wait for your turn during webinars.

In a physical meeting, it's easier to gauge when someone has a question or when it's appropriate to interject. However, in a webinar, especially when not everyone is visible on a webcam, it's essential to rely on cues like hand-raising icons or questions posted in chat. Waiting for your turn to speak or ask questions helps maintain a smooth and organized flow of communication during the webinar.

18. Take notes.

Many individuals participate in webinars to expand their knowledge on various subjects. Listening to an expert share insights and information can be highly informative, making note-taking a valuable practice. By taking notes during a webinar, you enhance your focus on the presented material and provide yourself with a resource for later reflection. Webinars sometimes give distractions,  but detailed notes enable more effective content review. Moreover, note-taking facilitates active engagement with the material. As you listen to the host and jot down key points, you actively process the information, leading to a better understanding and retention of the material.

19. Ask questions during the Q&A portion.

Ask your questions during the Q&A session rather than interrupt the host or presenter while they are speaking. 92% of attendees expect a live Q&A session at the end of the webinar. Asking questions during their presentation can distract them and cause them to lose their thought. To ensure a smooth flow, jot down your question and patiently wait for your turn during the designated Q&A time. However, consider utilizing the chat feature if your question is urgent. This way, you can ask questions without interrupting the proceedings, especially if you are not attending the entire meeting but have a crucial inquiry to address.

Ask webinar questions during the Q&A portion

20. Keep your questions concise during webinars.

Webinars are typically focused and time-sensitive, so asking questions concisely is essential. Avoid lengthy introductions or self-promotion before getting to the point. Prioritize questions that benefit the entire group rather than sharing long personal opinions or comments. Before sharing, ask yourself if your words will genuinely contribute to the discussion.

21. Avoid using the chat room for personal conversations during webinars.

Just as you wouldn't engage in distracting side conversations in the back of a conference room while someone is presenting, refrain from using the chat room in a webinar as a platform for socializing or engaging in unrelated discussions. While you can share some relevant comments or resources, it is crucial to maintain the focus and purpose of the presentation actively. Refrain from derailing the conversation by participating in conversations more suited for separate, non-presentation-related discussions.

22. Turn off your camera during breaks.

Although it may seem minor, turning off your camera during breaks or when you must attend to other matters, such as answering a phone call, can prevent potentially awkward or distracting situations. Many webinar attendees have found themselves uncomfortable, such as being caught eating or inappropriately dressed on camera. Minimize these occurrences by turning off your camera during breaks to maintain professionalism and respect for other participants.

23. Respect the presenter and avoid interruptions. 

Interruptions can disrupt the flow of the presenter and hinder their ability to deliver the content effectively. Only unmute yourself and provide input if the presenter has specifically invited audience participation. As a professional courtesy, refrain from interrupting the presenter unless explicitly encouraged. Instead, wait for designated opportunities such as dedicated Q&A slides or when the presenter asks for input.

24. Avoid self-promotion. 

Engaging in self-promotion during someone else's webinar is considered impolite. While mentioning your brand if relevant to the presentation may be appropriate, refrain from redirecting other attendees to your website or social links. The focus should remain on the content being presented rather than self-promotion.

25. Give feedback after the webinar.

When the webinar concludes, provide feedback if the host requests it. Take the opportunity to answer the host's questions and actively engage with the meeting. Additionally, it would be highly beneficial if the host inquired about your thoughts on the webinar. Express whether you enjoyed it, any areas for improvement, or suggestions for the next webinar. Such information holds significant value for the speakers, enabling them to enhance their future presentations.

Give feedback after the webinar.

General webinar etiquettes

You can enhance the productivity and enjoyment of webinars by following specific tips. Attending an online presentation or meeting can be annoying if the presenter is unprepared or needs more skills to navigate a formal online environment. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain good webinar etiquette, just as it is essential to maintain good online decorum. It fosters effective communication, respect, and efficiency. Whether you are a presenter or an attendee, it is vital to adhere to these often-forgotten rules of webinar etiquette:

26. Avoid noise.

Noise can disrupt a webinar, causing echoes and distractions for the presenter and attendees. When attending a webinar, it is crucial to avoid noise as it can create unpleasant sound waves that cause echoes in the background. These echoes can be distracting for both the presenter and the attendees. Seclude yourself in a quiet, serene environment while preparing for the webinar to ensure a smooth experience. 

27. Be punctual.

Many people mistakenly believe they can connect to an online meeting whenever they like since nobody is watching. However, this needs to be corrected. Both presenters and attendees must adhere to the scheduled time and avoid lateness.

presenters and attendees must adhere to the scheduled time

28. Dress appropriately.

Especially for webinars, it is essential to dress appropriately and professionally. Don't neglect your appearance just because it is an online meeting. Consider how you would dress for a live webinar and aim for a similar level of comfort and professionalism.

29. Maintain good posture.

Maintaining a good sitting posture throughout the meeting, especially during long webinars. Investing in a comfortable ergonomic office chair can make a significant difference. Your sitting position can significantly impact your comfort, focus, and engagement during the session.

30. Ensure good lighting.

If you plan to use video during your webinar, ensure adequate lighting. Avoid having a visually noisy background that can be distracting. Create a well-lit environment that allows participants to see you.

Unleashing the power of webinar etiquette

Etiquette plays a crucial role in the success of webinars, whether you are attending or presenting. Webinars aim to provide participants with a seamless, valuable, and engaging experience. Understanding webinar etiquette helps prevent conflicts and ensures it addresses everyone's questions. By adhering to these guidelines, you can contribute to a successful webinar. Remember, like in face-to-face interactions, practicing good etiquette goes a long way.

Respecting proper etiquette in webinars can significantly enhance their effectiveness. Whether you're delivering a webinar presentation, hosting a video meeting, or participating in an online event, following respectful etiquette can substantially increase the value of shared information. Webinars and conferences have become an integral part of modern business practices, even extending to activities traditionally conducted in person.

In addition to etiquette, choosing the right webinar platform is essential for a successful webinar. A reliable and user-friendly platform can significantly contribute to the smooth execution of the event, ensuring seamless communication, interactive features, and easy access for participants. Hubilo, as a webinar platform, offers a comprehensive suite of features and functionalities to enhance the webinar experience. It provides seamless communication tools, interactive features, and easy accessibility for participants. The platform's intuitive interface makes it easy for hosts and attendees to navigate and engage effectively with the webinar content. Experience the power of Hubilo and discover how it can transform your webinars into engaging and impactful events. Request a demo today to unlock the full potential of this exceptional webinar platform.

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Author
Hubilo

Hubilo is the webinar platform built for marketers that helps you 2X your pipeline. Founded in 2015, Hubilo's powerful engagement features, dedicated client experience team, and custom branding tools have helped create over 12K virtual events & webinars, creating hundreds of millions of minutes of high-engagement experiences and counting. Headquartered in Bengaluru and San Francisco, Hubilo's 200+ employees are dedicated to enabling webinars & virtual events that convert.

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