The secrets of a great webinar

The secrets of a great webinar

How can you create a great webinar?

Most people are well accustomed to online events and webinars but what are the secrets of a great webinar?

Regardless of where we work and what sector we work in, webinars and online events are commonplace.  The challenge for those hosting online events now is to make them great, and not ‘just another webinar’, as webinars are now routine it is important attendees are engaged from start to finish.  No matter what its purpose, your webinar should be interesting and attendees shouldn’t be become disengaged.  Here are some key considerations to create a successful webinar that engages your attendees.

Make sure your attendees feel comfortable

It goes without saying that attendees who feel comfortable and relaxed will have a better experience than those who don’t.

At the beginning of the webinar, introduce your speakers and run through an overview of the content and expected outcomes of the session.  Allow your attendees to introduce themselves too so that everyone present knows who they will be speaking to/hearing from.  This could be done in the chat, in the content itself, or interactively.

Woman taking part in a webinar

Mix up the format

While not all webinars will require the audience to interact, it’s good practice to include interaction where possible.  Interaction between the audience and speakers normally means the discussion is deeper and more beneficial for everyone involved.

Make sure your format is stimulating and create your content so you can mix up the format.  A static speaker to attendee one way lecture online can result in attendees switching off and becoming disengaged.  Some simple but effective ideas for mixing up the format of your webinar include…

 

  • Interactive polls
  • Question and answer sessions
  • Whiteboards
  • Videos
  • Quizzes
  • Panel discussions
  • Guest speakers

Ensure your webinar runs seamlessly

It may seem obvious, but the best webinars will run seamlessly with no distractions or interruptions.  Choose the right platform for your purpose and make sure that this platform will be able to do the things you need it to.

If you’re presenting a webinar, make sure you are comfortable and located with a clear background.  Remove any distractions so that you can focus 100% on presenting your content and check your audio, video and mic settings in good time.  Clear down unnecessary open windows on your computer and make sure you’ve undertaken a practice run too where possible. Ensure your face is evenly lit and avoid sitting with a window behind you as this can cause a silhouette (for an in depth how-to guide on the best set-up see here).

Your chosen webinar partner may offer ‘onboarding’ sessions, which are provided to ensure all the above is correct and give you guidance on delivering the best possible presentation. Even if you think you know it all, make sure you take advantage of these sessions – they are free, usually only last 15 minutes and can provide new tools you can take forward and use in all your webinars and meetings.

Although you’d hope your webinar will run without any curve balls, if there is an interruption or problem, have a plan before you start the webinar to deal with this.  This way you can handle any disruption calmly and keep the webinar flowing. If you don’t have the time or resource to plan for all the eventualities, then it may be you should choose to look to use a managed service, offered by some platform providers. This means you can focus on the content and delivering a great show, while the tech team ensure everything runs seamlessly.

Generally speaking, the same rules apply for webinar attendees too.  Attendees should have some water to hand and any other materials that will be needed during the webinar.  Some presenters like to issue a quick reminder at the beginning of the session.  This will give attendees a chance to get properly organised before starting the webinar.

Running a webinar

Cover off the practicalities

To facilitate a great webinar, communication is key.  There will be times when audience participation is required, and times that it is not.  Use your webinar platform to make sure that meeting controls are in place and that your attendees know how these will work.

Set up a welcome video, this can be a simple informative video on loop which can welcome attendees as they arrive, include webinar agenda information and sponsor messages.

Chat boxes can be used to ask the audience questions and for the audience to ask the presenter questions.  If you’re presenting a webinar, let your audience know how to interact with you, and when.  Let them know when you’ll answer questions; either at the end, or as you go, depending on the nature of your content. Moderated Q&A can be used for some more formal sessions, enabling session chairs to pick the most relevant questions to ask the panel.

Let your attendees know if there will be any post event content shared with them and how they will be able to access it.  For example, all Q&A’s could be summarised and sent out after the webinar, along with presentation content that was shared during the webinar. In addition the webinar may be recorded and made available for viewing on demand.  Letting your attendees know your plan will mean they avoid making unnecessary notes and can increase engagement.

A quick run through of the controls during the introduction is a great way to set yourself up for a smooth webinar.  Explain how attendees can unmute themselves and know how to mute your whole audience when required to eliminate distracting background noise.

You may consider having some help to monitor Q&A’s.  In some cases, a co-host is very beneficial.  They can help ensure that important questions are addressed, and that nothing is missed.

Finally, make sure you start on time!  There’s nothing worse than a webinar that is running late!

In summary

Need some help setting up or facilitating an engaging webinar?  Get in touch with Procreation today and book a demo.

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Is online learning effective?

Is online learning effective?

How can you inspire teams via online learning?

Online training and education are widely used by many organisations, associations, and businesses.  But how can you inspire teams via online learning?  Is online learning effective?  Online learning isn’t always instead of face-to-face learning, but it can be.  Online learning programmes and e-learning are an excellent addition to face-to-face training.  E-learning opens the door to teams anywhere in the world; a training programme that has been rolled out once, can be refined, improved and repeated over and over again to different audiences of learners.

But, how can you inspire people to participate and get the most from it?  Here are some key elements to consider when designing and launching an online or e-learning programme.

Content and delivery

Most training programmes can categorised into two core areas of focus: the content that is being delivered, and the method used to deliver that content.  If the content is exciting and useful for the learners and the delivery is slick and easy to use, then you’re on to a winner!

Create exciting, engaging content, and deliver this well; the magic recipe for an engaged audience who will learn the skills and absorb the information being shared with them.  When online learners are motivated and inspired, they can increase their knowledge, learn new skills and improve their performance.

Engage your audience

Engagement may be a heavily used buzzword of the ‘now’ but engaging your learners to become a part of a training programme (rather than just listening to it) is vital.

What’s the best way to do this?  Keep them interested, and excited.

Include interactive elements like scavenger hunts in your training to make the training an open and two-way forum that encourages discussion and interactivity, plus adds an element of competition.

Polls and team-based challenges are simple ways to include this type of interesting and interactive content and promote deeper learning.

Recording and making the content available on demand after the training enables learners to revisit discussions and replay elements later in their own time.  This helps to reinforce the learning of that specific content and information.

Virtual Events environment

Include exciting media

Nobody enjoys reading long, solid blocks of text, or textbooks and learning is no different.  Rather than focusing on providing word heavy content, where possible, include eye catching imagery, interesting and compelling video and other forms of interest for your audiences’ eyes and ears.

This type of multimedia can be incredibly useful to demonstrate processes or concepts ‘in action’.

Test your learners!

If your learners are simply asked to listen and take notes, the likelihood is that they’ll get bored, switch off, and the learning won’t be as deep as it could be.  Including activities that test your audience on the information they’ve been learning is a fantastic opportunity to change the pace of the training, make it fun, and keep them on their toes.  Make your training an active learning session with quizzes and quick fire question rounds are two simple ways for course leaders to ensure the audience has really paid attention!

These types of tests can also be used to see how well the audience is performing, and to see how effective the content has been, providing crucial analytics.

Test your online learners

Make it personal

Allowing the user to take control of their own training experience is a great way to improve its effectiveness.  Clear signposting of content can also help learners access specific content easily and based on their specific needs and their learning style.

Including personalised milestones, test scores, poll feedback, and interactive elements like scavenger hunts will all help the learner create a training that highlights areas they may need, or want, to revisit later, as well as give them ideas for the future.

Positive encouragement and feedback can also be provided.  This will not only allow learners visibility on areas they are doing well in but will provide encouragement and help them understand the material in more depth.

Creating a training programme that includes elements can ensure your audience are excited, and ready to learn the material on offer.

Personal online learning

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The ‘ins and outs’ of Hybrid Events

The ‘ins and outs’ of Hybrid Events

What is a Hybrid Event?  What are the mechanics of a Hybrid Event?  How do Hybrid Events work in practice?

All good questions and although Hybrid Events have been around for a while, and are most definitely here to stay, there’s a lot to know!  Here’s the lowdown from Procreation HQ on what a Hybrid Event entails, the ‘ins and outs’ of Hybrid Events and how we deliver them successfully for our clients.  Also, here are some answers to frequently asked questions surrounding the topic which is close to our heart!

The definition of a Hybrid Event

At Procreation we like to simplify this definition; A Hybrid Event is an event that can include everyone, no matter where in the world they may be.  This could be at home, in the office, in an exhibition hall or in a live face to face main plenary session, and they’re all connected to the same event, same audience, and same content simultaneously.  Hybrid Events are an incredibly powerful way of including every single person, without restriction, and just with an internet connection.  This huge power to drive inclusivity is why they are so popular, and also why they’re the event format now and for the future.

How do Hybrid Events engage attendees?

Hybrid Events expand possibilities to increase audience participation.  Hybrid Events not only increase audience sizes by including multiple locations, but allow for multiple functions to improve discussions and interaction.  “But HOW?” we hear you ask… Well… here’s a few examples.

A session can be delivered live, in a room, to attendees in that room.  Speakers can be physically in the room with this audience, contribute remotely via video link from another location, or usually a combination of the two.

The same goes for the audience.  They can be in the room, at home virtually, in an office, and from multiple locations around the globe.  The beauty and simplicity of the Hybrid Event model?  They all engage and discuss the same content, at the same time.

This engagement can be via live polling, word clouds and Q&A sessions which can be moderated and facilitated as any live event would be, but the audience is not limited to just those who can be there in person.

Hybrid Events engage

Endless possibilities of Virtual Events

Hybrid Events are born from an ethos of positive collaboration.  Breakout rooms can be set up in the same fashion as what’s been described earlier in addition to a core track that might take place in a Plenary Session.  Breakout discussions, best practise sharing and education and learning knows no limits with a Hybrid Event.  The Event simply needs to be managed professionally, well planned for and for Production and Crew to be in place to ensure each element goes without a hitch.  The audience can be anywhere in the world and engage with specific live content all at the same time (and this can be translated simultaneously too.)

Exhibitions are a hugely untapped and exciting opportunity for organisations who use the Hybrid Event model.  Most business professionals would agree that personal interaction at an exhibition stand can be one of the most valuable interactions that happens at an event.  According to Statista (2021), 81% of survey respondents value face to face interaction with potential vendors as very, or extremely, important.

With a Hybrid Event, the stand and exhibitors can be physically in the room, with this supported by a virtual stand managed live by additional team members who can be located anywhere in the world.

Picture this, an exhibition in Paris, with two staff on the stand to talk to delegates.

A stand with Digital capabilities that allows these staff to demo products/services to the people in the room.

Now imagine a Chinese or German attendee, who can’t make it to the exhibition in person and who don’t speak French.  No problem.  A Hybrid Event solution can allow attendees and staff to log into the Hybrid Event digitally, from New York or Shanghai and interact as they would in person.  Your potential reach increases greatly, and the possibilities really are endless.

How to use Hybrid Events

In summary

Meeting Spotlight’s recent survey concluded that “73% of Event Planners Expect Hybrid Events to Be More Common in the Future.”

We’re 100% inclined to agree.  While Virtual Events are considered by many as a temporary solution during the Covid era, the benefits that the Hybrid Model now offer are numerous. Organisations are using Hybrid Events to improve collaboration and inclusivity, engage wider audiences, increase their capabilities to share content and drive better conversations and all in a sustainable way.  If you’re not onboard with Hybrid Events now, you will be involved in them in some way in the future.

For more information on “Hybrid Events” please contact the team at Procreation and we’d love to chat further!

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How to use Virtual Events in Education

How to use Virtual Events in Education

How can you get the most out of Virtual Education?

Hosting educational events and learning opportunities virtually has become a well-established and go to format for many years (even more so since the Covid-19 pandemic), but how can you get the most out of Virtual Education?  We all know that this format works well but how do you set up a learning event that ensures an organisation can engage students and enhance learning outputs?  Now that’s a question!

With over a decade of experience helping our clients to do just this, here are some tips on how to approach Virtual Learning and Educational Events and maximise the interactivity and impact of your agenda and format.

Create interactive, engaging content and opportunities for feedback

There are so many ways to use Virtual Platforms to help not only engagement and enjoyment of the education on offer, but to test knowledge, promote feedback and ensure that students are retaining as much information as possible.  I mean, that is the objective of all education after all?!  Here are a few examples:

Polls

Excellent for both “Who wants to be a Millionaire” style Ask the Audience spot tests and also in a more informal and fun way to change the pace of a session or create a break in a chunky piece of material.  Having these tools built into our platform makes this easy peasy to set up (and don’t forget the data is also available immediately and post event for organisers.)

Virtual Events - online polling, interactivity

Pre-records, role play and live video

Video content, either pre-recorded or recorded during the session itself, can be used in that same session to test student’s knowledge, recap previous topics or used in role plays which are proven to be a hugely valuable way to learn (read more in this article by Harvard). In addition using pre-records is an excellent way to ensure a consistent message across training programmes (although we would always champion live interaction wherever possible!)

Virtual Event live streaming live video

Competitions & leaderboards

Adding a bit of competition into learning environments is often very beneficial as demonstrated by the harsh but powerful quote by Pallavi Kishore “Failure is the best teacher.”  There are many ways to do this, using gamification amongst other methods…  Here are a few of our favourites: Scavenger hunts, time challenges, mini tests and polls, feedback and live Q&A’s.  This list is absolutely not exhaustive, and there are many other ways to integrate competition into educational programmes but these are certainly in our top 10.  Read some more ideas  here . in an interesting article by Edarabia, the Middle East’s top educational guide.

Virtual Event leaderboard

Feedback & peer interaction

It goes without saying that feedback, discussion and group working is a huge part of how humans learn.  Virtual Platforms can carve out specific ways for groups of students, not limited by geography or language, to interact and learn together using breakout rooms, chat boxes, live video streaming and much more.

“To get students to apply their knowledge to a given problem, to reflect on issues and the views of others, to illustrate the relevance of theoretical ideas by placing them in a real-world context, and to illustrate the complexity of decision-making.”

Harvard University

Virtual Education is a powerful tool for organisations to roll out specific content to both global and national groups of students or employees, in a consistent, methodical, yet creative way.  For large organisations, specific content can be rolled out in the same way, across many locations either simultaneously or as part of a larger, regular programme.  Language and location are not barriers;  different locations and languages actually enhance the potential for students to learn more and develop deeper understanding of the content.  Knowledge sharing between peer groups is unrivalled in a Virtual Environment.

In summary, keep it simple but don’t be shy to be creative.  Online learning can take place on a massive or a small scale virtually with ease, and is focussed, fun and incredibly engaging.

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How can you measure Event Success and ROI?

How can you measure Event Success and ROI?

How do you measure an event’s success?

What data can (and should) you capture and how can you use this to quantify successful areas of your event?  What statistics can you use to identify areas for improvement?  These are all big questions!  And where’s the best place to start?…

Virtual and Hybrid Events provide opportunities to measure, analyse and improve the user experience which are unparalleled elsewhere.  ROI and user experience analytics might sound techy and complicated terms but in reality these analytics are clever and ingenuously simple (that’s the good bit!). When you set up your Virtual Event in the right way you can use these metrics, and results, to make your events best in their class.  Let us take a look at how…

ROI and KPI’s

Every finance director loves a statistic – quite rightly.  You need to know the money you’ve invested in an event is well spent.  But one of the difficult things when you’re creating something, well, creative, is to attach numbers and statistics to it and to make that success quantifiable.  Event organisers can feel when an event went well, but it’s important to be able to illustrate this in clear, undeniable black and white facts to other stakeholders too.  It might sound complicated and daunting but – this is the fun bit – it’s 100% possible and straightforward.  The key is to approach it correctly from the beginning and work out the stats you need before you start designing the event itself.

Event ROI - set objectives

First step: Get your objectives and KPI’s straight

Define how and why you are running your event and the desired output and outcomes.  Once you have these objectives outlined you can decide which KPIs you’ll use to measure them.  Your KPI’s will be the things you can measure which illustrate your objectives in a statistical way.

It’s simple really.  Here are some examples…

  • Educational event: Here you will likely be looking specifically at knowledge or confidence on a content topic, peer to peer networking and test or assessment results.  Example KPI’s: Poll results, speaker Q&A’s and results from gamification you build into the event.
  • Sales conference: You are likely to want to look at things like new prospects, networking, conversations, customer needs analysis and ultimately conversions and sales revenue.  Example KPI’s: New contacts, qualified leads, pipeline figures, orders taken, revenue, and chat Q&A.
  • Product launch event: Here you are likely to be looking at user and customer opinions and qualitative feedback. Example KPI’s: Polls, website and social media engagement and Net Promoter Scores. (There are some more great ideas here).

Second step: Work out the KPI’s you’ll need

Here is a list of some great KPI’s that can be used to analyse Virtual Event success.  Not all will apply to every event, obviously, you’ll need to make sure the KPI’s for your event are unique to your event and measure your objectives as outlined in point 1.  But, here’s a great starter for ten to get you thinking…

 

  • Registration numbers
  • Attendance numbers
  • Live polls
  • Clicks
  • % of game zones used
  • Types and methods content consumption
  • Social media engagement
  • Audience Q&A
  • Online search traffic
  • Breakout attendance
  • Exhibition stand interaction
  • Revenue generated
  • Feedback surveys
  • Hot spots
  • Chat rooms
  • Net promoter scores
  • Gamification results (i.e. Leader boards)
Virtual Event ROI - KPI's

Third step: Run your event and collect your data

Once you know what data you need, set up your event to include a dashboard for stakeholders to be able to see that data.  This can be done before, during and post event and should be collected and analysed post event.  The sky’s your limit and dashboards can be made to suit the requirements of the event and stakeholders.

Fourth and final step?  Analyse your results

Once your event has finished and you have collected your data, now is the time not only to measure your results and work out your successes, but also to analyse areas of improvement and change.  Those who are best in their class will look at continuous improvement throughout all of their events, and the key?   The stats that help you do this…

Virtual Event ROI - analysis

It’s clear that Virtual Event are fantastic at providing data led insights that can drive much positive change within an organisation, and also be a direct route to customers, staff or other relevant audiences.  For more information on how to approach metrics for your Virtual or Hybrid Event, get in touch or read more on our Metrics page.  Either way we’d love to hear from you.

Procreation HQ

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