When it comes to sharing information over a long-distance, webinars are the way to go. Not only are webinars easy to assemble, they provide an effective way to train large groups of people who aren't able to meet at the same location. However, for a webinar to be successful at informing its members, it must be properly prepared. If it's not properly planned, it can frustrate the participants, and stall learning. Here are four steps you should take when planning an effective webinar.

Consider Your Goals

When planning a webinar, one of the first things you should do is consider your goals. What do you hope to accomplish from your webinar? Who will your audience be? What types of subject matter will you be covering? How long will it take to adequately cover each topic? Once you've answered these important questions, you'll be able to narrow the scope of your webinar, and create a more powerful presentation.

Gather the Right Support Team

Webinars are only as strong as the support team behind them. While you're planning your webinar, make sure you gather the right support team. You might be organizing the webinar, but you'll still need presenters and assistants for the project. Your presenters should be people who have knowledge and experience in the chosen topics. The assistants should be available to handle the details that you; the organizer, and the presenters won't have time for. If you're planning on taking on the tasks of organizer and presenter, it's important for you to have an assistant who can help you carry the load and make sure that the webinar proceeds without problems.

Choose Your Format Carefully

When it comes to a planning a successful webinar, it's important that you choose the format carefully. Some of the issues you should consider when choosing the format will include:

  • Number of speakers
  • Audience participation
  • Panel discussions

Include Attention-Grabbers

No one wants to sit in front of a computer and listen to speakers for hours on end. After a while, you'll start to lose your audience. That's where the attention-grabbers come in handy. To have an effective webinar, be sure to include activities such as interactive question/answer periods, power-point presentations, and videos. Including these activities will ensure that your audience is actively engaged in the process.

If you're planning your first webinar, use the tips provided here to make it a successful event for everyone involved.