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Why Hosting Thanksgiving is like Hosting a Webinar

Posted by Bo Bandy on
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With Thanksgiving just days away, I’m feeling stressed about hosting Thanksgiving for 12 people including my in-laws and the in-laws of my in-laws. But, I realized that if I can plan and host a webinar for 1,200 people, I can do a meal for 12. It’s pretty much the same thing, right?

Planning is Required: You can’t expect that Thanksgiving is going to go well if you wait until Thursday morning to grocery shop (think frozen Turkey). Similarly, hosting a webinar requires advance preparation—invitations need to go out in advance, reminders need to be sent and content planned.


The Menu has to Reflect the Guests: Are you serving mash potatoes without gravy? Are you serving tofurkey (tofu shaped like a turkey) to a group of meat eaters? Planning the perfect Thanksgiving menu requires thinking about your guests and their dietary requirements and expectations. Similarly, your webinar content should reflect your audience and their expectations. Make sure your content reflects their experience level, interests and is accurately represented in the webinar abstract.


Good Conversation is Essential: We’ve all been at a table where the conversation is awkward and forced (did I mention my in-laws are coming over?). Your webinar doesn’t need to be like this. Prepare polls and interactive content to engage the webinar audience. For the Q&A portion of the webinar, put together some sample questions; if the audience is too shy to ask questions, you can use these “fake” questions to get it started and avoid the awkward silence. I also recommend put together some questions to spark discussion among your Thanksgiving guests too.


How was that New Recipe?: No one likes to hear that their cooking is bad, but it is good to know that the rolls were a little over done so you can bake them for less time in the future. And, who doesn’t like to hear everyone rave about how it was the best stuffing they’ve ever had? Use a post-event survey to get feedback from your webinar participants. Find out what parts they liked and what parts they disliked. This will help you improve your future webinars and avoid mistakes.


The Leftovers are the Best Part: Who doesn’t love a good leftover turkey sandwich? Just like Thanksgiving, the best part of a webinar is the leftovers. Recording your webinar allows you to repurpose your content in new ways. Share pieces of your webinar on Facebook and your website. Take the Q&A section and turn it into a blog post. There are lots of ways to use the content over and over. And, unlike your leftover mash potatoes, your webinar content won’t expire.


If you have other tips for hosting a good webinar, or a good stuffing recipe, please share!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

As the marketing communications and PR manager, Bo gets to wear many hats (but her favorite is a tiara). When she isn't tackling branding, messaging, social media and collateral, she enjoys skiing with her husband, running with her dog and watching Formula 1. You can find her on Twitter @bo_knows_


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