The Redback Team
6th January 2016
Flawless Facilitation – Your Guide to Moderating the Perfect Online Event
Make your event stand out!
“Could it be that, it’s just an illusion?” – No, it’s just a perfectly hosted online event.
Organisers organise events, presenters present – so who manages the features, engagement tools and Q&A sessions during your online meeting or event?
The facilitator’s role within a webinar or webcast is sometimes underestimated; this is partly because many don’t understand their exact role and many more have never experienced a well facilitated webinar.
Here’s our guide on facilitating flawlessly…
Role #1: Opening and Introduction
Opening your webinar and introducing the topic, presenter and ways to interact is incredibly important. For many, your webinar may be their first and for others, it’s always nice to welcome them and put their mind at ease. Here is what a facilitator should do at the beginning of each online event:
- Welcome everyone to the webinar and provide a brief introduction of the topic and remind them what they will learn from joining
- Let everyone know what is expected of them and how long the event will run for
- Advise on where they should go if they need assistance thoroughout
- Provide instructions on how they can interact, ask questions and participate in sessions
- Provide a brief intro on the presenter – no more than a short paragraph
- Another great idea: get everyone familiar with the platform by asking them to type an answer to a generic question into the chat box e.g. where are you joining from? Is this your first webinar?
Role #2: Managing Interactive Tools and Features
People don’t know what they don’t know. Facilitators should be responsible for activating polls, launching video clips or controlling webcams as well as advising your online audience how to do so.
Let’s use polling as an example. Never launch a poll and assume that everyone will know how to respond – literally tell them to to respond by saying something like the following:
“We have just launched a poll to gather your insights and get to know you all a little better. Please respond to the answer that best represents you by clicking on the radio buttons on your screen.”
Facilitators should then read out the results and ask your presenter to speak to them.
Role #3: Time Management
Time is a precious thing; which means that if people have put an hour aside to watch your webinar, they will expect it to go for no longer. There are little things you can do as a facilitator to keep your event on track and put your online audience at ease.
- Provide everyone with a breakdown during the introduction. E.g “Today’s event will run for an hour, we will present for 45 minutes and then leave 15 minutes at the end for any questions you may have, please post your questions and comments in the chat box throughout and we will get to them at the end.”
- Always finish on time! However, if more questions come through than expected, consider saying something like this: “We have come to the end of webinar, however, we still have some questions to get through and our presenter has been kind enough to stay online. For those who have to leave, please feel free to do so by clicking the exit icon on the top right corner.”
Role #4: Speaker Feedback
Presenting online is completely different to presenting face to face. Your presenter can always benefit from productive feedback during the webinar and your facilitator can always assist by telling your presenter to speak up, keep the energy going or move quickly to a Q&A break.
If you do choose to go down this path, make sure comments are kept short and that an adequate channel of communication is always open between both parties.
Do you have any other tips for facilitating flawlessly? Or, have you got any disaster stories that we can all learn from? We would love to hear – please comment below!
Until next time,