As a webinar attendees there are things you can do to help make the experience better for yourself and other audience members. In no particular order, here are some suggestions for you the next time you attend a webinar.
- Log in early – set a reminder to go off five or ten minutes before the scheduled event start time and log in to the web portion. Some conferencing solutions require a download and install on your computer, and you want to be sure you have enough time for the installation to complete. Some “instant-join” software may require you to update Flash or another underlying utility. Even if these don’t apply to you, logging in early gives you time to enter your identifying information and ask questions that you want to see covered during the session.
- Mute your audio if lines are open – if your webinar host opens the phone or computer audio lines to let audience members speak, keep your phone muted whenever you are not speaking. This helps avoid unwanted background noises that can distract other participants. And NEVER push the “HOLD” button on your phone. That often plays music over the line, which stops a webinar dead in its tracks.
- Actively participate – provide your input to polling questions. Respond to requests for comments or questions. Let your presenter know what you are most interested in. If they stray off topic , help them by writing what you want to hear more about. Don’t wait until it’s time to give post-event feedback to say “I wish you had talked more about x.” Don’t wish it… Suggest it during the meeting!
- Be respectful – if your webinar allows publicly-visible chat, keep your contributions helpful and considerate of the host and other participants. It’s poor etiquette to compete with your host by advertising your products or services as an audience member. The host put time, money, and effort into gathering an interested audience. Don’t steal from them.
- Provide feedback – help the presenter improve their webinars to better match your needs and preferences by letting them know what worked well and what didn’t work for you. Were there audio problems? Difficulty reading slide content? Would you prefer longer or shorter webinars in the future? Are there topics you would like to see them cover? Did you love a particular speaker and want to hear more from them? Telling the host company what they should keep and what they should change is the only way to get more of what you want.