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With today’s Internet technology, we have the possibility to connect in real-time with people from all over the world, whenever we want. However, for more professional events, a simple platform such as skype or google plus might not be enough. This is where hosting a webinar comes in.


What is a webinar?


A webinar is a web-based conference that uses Internet technology to connect the individual hosting the webinar to the audience–the viewers or listeners of the webinar.  It’s similar to using something like Skype, but people sometimes use them show their computer screens for professional purposes, and depending on what type of webinar service you decide to use, there are interactive sections that the audience can use to ask questions.


Why do we host a webinar?


  • To give presentations. A lot of professionals nowadays use webinars to give presentations either as a one-way type of broadcast where one person simply hosts a lecture or seminar, or it could be used to promote discussion and questions asked from any viewers.
  • To conduct live interviews with other professionals. This is often used as an attractive aspect to encourage people to use or attend webinars more.
  • You can use your own computer. This is a very effective way to broadcast anything you want to the audience that are tuning in, such as training sessions, courses, how-to presentations as well as workshops.


How to use a webinar

This depends on which service you or the host uses.  You may need to download an application first in order to access the webinar.  After that, audience members usually have to “call in” sort of like making a phone call to access the webinar. Also, audience members are often provided with a custom link or even a password by webinar host in order to get in.


A few things you can do with a webinar:

  • Display slides: You can display a slideshow presentation using either MS PowerPoint or Apple’s Keynote, just like you would in a regular classroom, meeting room or lecture hall.
  • Stream video: Show a video either stored on your computer or found online, such as on YouTube.
  • Talk to your audience: Webinars use VoIP (Voice over IP) to make real-time audio communication possible.
  • Record everything: Webinars often provide an option for the host to record their entire presentation. This includes all visuals and audio.
  • Edit: The host can often use their mouse to create annotations, highlight things or create markings on the screen.
  • Chat: The host can open up a chat box to text chat with the audience, which is especially helpful for audience members wanting to ask questions.
  • Conduct surveys and polls: Some webinar providers offer the ability to create polls given to audience members for quizzes or survey purposes.


Hosting Your Own Webinar

In order to host your very own webinar, you would need to choose a webinar service provider. Most of them, you usually won’t be able to use over the long run for free but most of them offer some kind of free trial period for 30 days or so.


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 Webinar Service Providers

Here are three popular webinar service providers that people use, among many others:


  • GoToWebinar: A lot of professionals use this one so it is considered one of the most popular webinar platforms today. You can get started with GoToWebinar by using its free 30-day trial or you can pay $99 per month with up to 100 attendees.
  • AnyMeeting: This one has a completely free option for up to 200 members, which is great for those who are a bit strapped for cash. It’s got great screen sharing options, social media integration and a variety of management tools as well.
  • Google Hangout: Although not used by many yet, Google+ Hangouts is a free video chat service supplied by Google.  It enables both one-on-one chats and group chats with up to ten people at a time. This is great for small group discussions or small presentations.   Although similar to Skype, FaceTime and Facebook Video Chat, Google Hangouts focuses more on “face-to-face-to-face” group interaction and utilizes sophisticated technology to seamlessly switch the focus to the person currently chatting.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Google Hangouts can be accessed via laptop, desktop computers, Android mobile devices (Android “Gingerbread” v2.3 and later) and, in the near future, iOS-powered mobile devices.  In addition to video chatting, Google Hangouts users can share documents, scratchpads, images and YouTube videos with other users.   Google+ Hangouts also offers a “Hangouts on Air” feature for broadcasting live video conversations that are accessible to anyone with a web browser.
  • Skype: Surprise, surprise! One of the web’s favorite free instant messaging platforms has some pretty useful and advanced options for both consumers and business owners. You can do group video calls and screen sharing with Skype’s premium plan for $59.88 per year.


When to schedule your webinars

Schedule your launches like towards the end of the week, Thursdays are the best. Support that by sending an email on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday morning.

The effectiveness of web events along with their costs are the key reason why companies are increasingly including web events in their marketing plans and beginning to place additional emphasis on their presentations.


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