the comeback of webinars

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The comeback of webinars

Posted on 01/14/2022

Webinars are effective in that they can be insightful and educational and can do wonders for brand awareness. The days of joining a webinar just to take in information are over. 

Here is how webinars are making a comeback in 2022 and how you can make the most of them for your company or organisation. 

What does a webinar mean?

Webinars is short for web seminar and could also be referred to as a webcast or online event.

Webinars: what are they?

Companies and organizations host live-streamed webinars via the internet to attendees who had signed up.

Attendees can join from anywhere in the world. It is common practice for webinar hosts to start the sessions by asking attendees to share where they are streaming from, or their level of knowledge on the topic presented. Speakers and organizers can then get an idea of who their attendees are and what is imperative to discuss in the session.

The host can share PowerPoint presentations as well as other multimedia content. 

The history of webinars

Webinars date back to the ’90s when Microsoft launched a NetMeeting product, allowing users to communicate in real-time and exchange data.

PlaceWare, a product developed by Xerox PARC, was the first of what we know to be webinars today. The software offered polling features, private chat, and the option for attendees to join the session as presenters.  

Are webinars dead?

Not at all. Webinars are still going strong in 2022. It is evident as we see more and more webinar software and webinar planners introducing themselves to the market daily. 

Webinars have evolved tremendously, especially in the post-Covid world. The need for webinars has increased, and with more research done to use the platform more effectively, we are starting to see platforms and features that consider the plight of people fighting Zoom fatigue.

Present-day webinars

Today, webinars are everywhere. The industry has boomed as a result of Covid-19. Although a vast majority of webinars tend to take on the educational role, the extent to which webinars are used is expanding rapidly.

In the past, you would rock up to a webinar knowing that you would be spoken or presented to. Today, webinars have become a highly inclusive and engaging forum.

Attendees are no longer passive spectators. Now, there is an expectation that attendees are engaging via chat features, polling, Q&A, and more.

Can webinars be watched later?

Yes. Many webinars and virtual event platforms allow the recording of sessions. These recordings can then be made available to attendees through on-demand content.

On-demand content helps attendees join at a time that is suitable for them, so if people have timezone or scheduling clashes, they can still join the webinar at a time that is convenient for them. 

Can webinars have breakout rooms?

Yes, depending on the platform you choose. Breakout rooms can be more conducive for bigger audiences, as people may feel intimidated by engaging in larger groups.

Breakout rooms can be beneficial for:

  • Group tasks or activities
  • Educational purposes
  • Networking

Breakout rooms help to get multiple conversations going simultaneously and can encourage networking.

Can webinars be interactive?

Webinars can be highly interactive and engaging if done correctly.

Many platforms offer tools and features to create an interactive experience. 

Polling, chat, and Q&A

The most common way for attendees to interact with webinars is through polling, chat, and Q&A features. These allow attendees to make decisions together or for the presenter to understand the needs of attendees. 

Breakout rooms

Breakout rooms can help attendees get to know each other better. They can also help to reinforce a learning environment where attendees can discuss topics or share experiences on a smaller scale. 

Networking roulette

In-person seminars serve as a great way to meet like-minded individuals. Webinars can help to bridge that gap virtually. Features like InEvent’s networking roulette can randomly pair attendees up with one another to create space for virtual networking.

How to make the most of webinars

Production value

Bob Bejan in FastCompany wrote: “in-person events are more theatrical in nature; virtual events require a cinematic approach.” 

When planning a webinar or any virtual event, break up the session into smaller segments, changing camera angles and frames to give the attendee some diversity.

Single-camera segments are dead and gone.

InEvent’s Live studio

Live studio offerings can turn boring webinars into TV-like experiences with high-quality video streaming and premium broadcasts. Customize your webinar by including chyrons, lower thirds, icons, background images and videos, and other creative options. 

Prepare your speakers

Many speakers feed into the theatrical nature of events too. Since we are all adapting, event planners need to keep speakers up-to-date with webinar software features to make the most of their experience.

Platforms can be very similar, but they may be very different too. Don’t assume that your speaker is familiar with the capabilities of your platform. 

Engage your audience

No, really engage your audience. Just this week, I attended a webinar where the speaker spent the entire session asking people to type ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in the chat. This is an example of unauthentic engagement.

Outdated means of solicitation under the guise of engagement tell the audience that there is no space for them or their actual thoughts and opinions. 

Make it a conversation and encourage your attendees to share their insight and experience.

Make it inclusive

Webinars can cross borders that many other events can’t. They can reach people from all over the world and offer a new level of inclusivity. 

Take advantage of webinar features

Use features like live captioning or incorporate features that will make the content accessible. Some platforms even offer sign language interpretation to reach an audience with different needs.

While webinars may have been around for a while, it is not going anywhere. Webinars have only improved with time, as technological advancements have taken them to the next level. As technology continues to advance, who knows what the future holds.

Go beyond webinars!

Did you like this?

Check out our blog resources and sign up for our newsletter to keep updated on the latest trends, features, and more regarding virtual events across the world: 

Everything you need to know about hybrid events

6 fun virtual events ideas for events and team meetings in 2021

A Complete Guide to Community Marketing in 2021

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