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How to host impactful webinars and virtual meetings, which have become the mainstay of the workplace during the pandemic, and also for personal get-togethers?
The new normal has been extended beyond our imagination and beyond our liking, but with the pandemic giving us no respite, can’t really complain much about it. At the moment what matters is that we are keeping well and are keeping safe; another need of the hour is to focus on our emotional wellbeing.
No matter who we are and at what level of hierarchy we work in, we are all impacted similarly at least on the emotional level others such as social, financial or on the health front it may vary.
The time that we have at hand is largely being spent on virtual interactions and leanings. These may be within our work groups or on the larger professional or social groups and networks. Webinars have become a way to reach out to others and participate in knowledge sharing. Almost everyone becomes a part of these webinars; some are hosting them whereas others may be joining as participants. Webinars have in fact made the world a much smaller place. Experts are invited from around the world and participants may be across different time zones too. Many international conferences are being held virtually.
Just like other popular modes of communication, webinars too require a set of etiquettes. Here are a few tips that will help you to host webinars effectively:
Have a core team that’ll help you plan and host the webinar. Delegation is the key here, engage the team well giving them roles that they like so that everyone puts the best efforts. You will thus deliver a winning performance.
Content is the king and make the king interesting with a dash of anecdotes and enchanting short stories. Statistics are good eye openers but people will remember the stories that you narrated; use them well.
If you wish to make an impact then use your personality strengths well; know your unique style and use it to your advantage. One has to stand out in the crowd and not blend in it, a webinar will require a fair display of your public speaking skills.
When addressing a public gathering one will but obviously be nervous but do not start speaking immediately. Do the warm up by greeting the panel or the audience; use an interesting ice breaker that will act as a hook. These things put everyone at ease and you as a speaker will be relaxed.
Most speakers do feel a bit nervous before the programme. In fact being nervous can be good for you, use this energy to deliver a power packed performance. Drink some water, look at the audience and smile. On a virtual setting you can’t walk a few paces which is also a great way to use the nervous energy specially when you need to address a large audience.
When speaking to a diverse audience, you are bound to get that many diverse reactions or feedback. It’s an art not to take things personally. Handle such views with logic and maturity, no one is on the program to win a debating contest. In case there is someone with that mindset be intelligent enough to rest your case and such discussions can move off line at a latter period.
There will always be people who will look at ‘the glass half empty’ ignore them and you focus on the part of the glass that is full. Impossible is the word mostly found in the dictionary of the naysayers. It’s important to remember that most people want to take the best learnings from the webinar, a few naysayers can’t cause any damage. There is no need for one upmanship at all.
You must conclude the webinar with thanking the panel or speakers if there are any, the audience and all those who have made it possible for you to conduct the webinar. Remember everyone’s time is important and they have given that to you. Express your gratitude to all stakeholders with utmost sincerity and humility.
If you regularly host webinars in your organisation, keep changing the core team so that every team member develops the competencies to conduct engaging webinars or virtual sessions. Help build people’s competencies to engage them better; it is one of the motivators. People like to be a part of important assignments and appreciated for the value they bring.
Even when you attend a webinar ensure you follow the etiquettes. If you register for a webinar; be committed to attend it. Avoid distractions while a session is in progress, remember a lot has gone into planning and delivering the session. It will be of great value to you provided you have been focused and have paid attention.
Even when we get back to our routines of face to face interactions, webinars will still remain a great way of ideating as well as knowledge and experience sharing. The physical distance is not a concern at all. The world has become one platform for all to exchange ideas and share valuable knowledge.
Image source: RAEng_Publications on pixabay
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Laxmi Todiwan - Founder Indian Women in Hospitality. She is a Professor, Corporate Trainer, Motivational Speaker
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