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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fun and Inclusive Webinars

At my gig, we've got about 50 folks across the globe that need to connect. Organizing meetings in any corner of the world can cost us a pretty penny, so we've integrated 4 webinars for 2010 to keep the dialogue going in between our in-person gatherings.

Our next webinar is scheduled for April 7, and it will explore What Social Media means to your Community Foundation. I'm still learning how to put together a fun and inclusive webinar, and here are a few ideas that helped to make our webinars extra special:

  1. We created a protocol for presenters and participants with tips for getting set up. Most folks found it really helpful. If people don't feel like reading through the document, we put it on the website (http://www.tcfn-cfc.ca/news/what-is-a-webinar/) for easier access.
  2. A really cool feature that you could check for - see if your webinar service offers a tool to record the webinar for you. GoToWebinar does, and we post our video files on YouTube for archiving (http://www.youtube.com/user/TCFNcommunity).
  3. We ask all presenters to log in and phone in 10 minutes before the webinar to be sure they connect smoothly.
  4. We control the presentation from here. Even if the presenter is in Poland, we control the powerpoint (or other visual tool) from our desk - again, it keeps the process smoother.
  5. If there's 10 people or less, we ask everyone to introduce themselves - makes it a bit more friendly and personal. If more, we do a greeting and move on with the presentation.
  6. After introductions, we say that we'll mute everyone to limit the background noise. Then, when Q&A begins, we unmute everyone.

Webinars are a cost-efficient, timely (in most cases), and frequent way for folks in different locations to connect, exchange, and share ideas both visually (with a PowerPoint, video, or online tool) and audibly (over telephone or internet connection). If you've got some other ideas on how to offer a wrinkle free webinar, please share!

Happy connecting!

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