12 tips for on-line facilitating glory

by Viv on March 19, 2010

I collared fellow ELN director Barry Sampson of Onlignment to speak at the Trainers & Developers Network last week.  I’m very glad he did. Here’s 12 of his top tips on how to facilitate webinars effectively.  

  1. Never try to run a webinar on your own – there 3 or more distinct roles: host (ensures the technology is working & everyone is logged on), presenter (talks and in charge of what the participants see), chat meister (moderates and prompts postings in the chat box and makes suggestions to presenter). These 3 roles are too much for one person. Also the participants will benefit from these roles being rotated
  2. Remove technology barriers – consider running a pre-session where you can ensure that everyone has the plug-ins that they need and can get familiar with the user interface
  3. Have a Plan B – have activities that the rest of the group can engage in if you need to take time out to help one participant
  4. Audio – mute people selectively so that the background noises from people being in several locations can be reduced
  5. Video – this adds rapport at the start, but there is no need to have video on the whole session
  6. Voice – even more than face to face delivery, take care over the words that you emphasise
  7. Environment – what distractions and interruptions might there be in the presenter’s environment? How can you prevent/ mitigate them?
  8. Time – 90 minutes is the absolute maximum for a session, 30 minutes is better. Aim to never go more than 3 minutes without asking a question, changing the presenter, something to re-grab the participants’s attention
  9. Script – script and rehearse the session thoroughly, especially the points at which you will handover to other presenters
  10. Expect people to multi-task – you often multi-task on a conference call or a webinar, so do your participants
  11. Provide a back channel – expect that some people will be tweeting or texting. Is there a virtual space that you can provide which allows participants to interact…this means that they’re more likely stay on focus, or at least be discussing something that is linked to the subject matter of the webinar
  12. Don’t panic – agree panic phrases with you co-presenter(s) so that they can jump in seamlessly when you don’t know what to say next

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