Webinars 101

While webinars have become a fairly common, we like to offer a webinar 101 primer from time to time. If webinar is a new concept for you, read on!

If you want to get information out to a bunch of people all over the US and world, hosting a webinar may be the best way to go about it. Webinars allow you to present information and slides over the Internet; you can broadcast live and allow people to ask questions or post your webinar for audiences to look at later.

What is a Webinar?
Webinar is short for "web seminar."  It involves broadcasting slides, video and/or audio over the Internet to a select group of people. Some webinars are free and open to anyone who wants to register, while other webinars are limited only to people who work for a particular organization or who pay a registration fee.
 
During a live webinar, people can ask questions and interact with you via email or instant message; when you get their questions, you can incorporate them into your presentation.
 
Who Can Host a Webinar?
Anyone with a computer can host a webinar. Webinars are often hosted by:
  • Company executives who want to teach employees across the country about policies and procedures.
  • Nonprofit organizations that want to recruit volunteers or teach about their cause
  • Coaches or consultants who want to help potential clients overcome a particular problem.
How Do Webinars Work?
In order to host a webinar, you need an Internet connection, a microphone and speakers. You may want to use a headset with an external microphone in order to improve your sound quality even if you have a microphone built into your computer.
 
Besides that, you just need webinar software and you're good to go. The software broadcasts and records your webinar for you.
 
Webinars Are a Recruitment Tool
The best webinars recruit people to a cause, job or relationship by providing information. The educational content helps fulfill an important need in the participants' lives so that they are motivated to continue working with the webinar leader.
 
In some cases though, recruitment isn't a primary goal.  For example, if you are creating a webinar for your employees, you don't want to recruit them–you've already hired them! However, you can use your webinar to motivate them to do whatever it is you want them to do.
 
Webinars Bring Geographically Diverse People Together
The best advantage to using a webinar is that you can talk to people all over the country and world at once. If you only want to talk with people in your office or community, a webinar probably isn't necessary. However, if you want to talk to people all over the country, a webinar is your best bet.
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