We’ve produced and hosted a ton of webinars this past year. We expect to continue to host them frequently, as virtual events have become more important than ever. If you’re also ramping up your webinar schedule, take advantage of some of our learnings. With so many webinars under our belt, we have plenty of best practices to share that will help your law firm produce top-notch webinars.
1. Keep your space for longer than the event
We suggest using a quiet conference room that’s unlikely to have disruptions. Book for one hour before the webinar starts and one hour after it ends. You want people to have adequate time to prepare, set up equipment, etc – and you also want to have extra time for debriefing, packing up, etc.
2. Share the agenda early
If you’re going to have input from anyone else on your law firm webinar, you need to let them know that in time for them to prepare. We’ve had luck hosting a short meeting with all shareholders about three weeks before the event. Use a shared document (like on Google Docs) to outline what will be covered in each section, so that everyone can add to it and stay organized.
3. Practice a lot
Complete a dry run prior to the law firm webinar. This is particularly true if it will be your first webinar. Many people like to write a comprehensive script in the notes section of their slides. Some people feel comfortable winging it, but at least if key points are written down, they have something to fall back on.
4. Discover your own presentation style
Since a lot of people don’t have a natural comfort with public speaking, they don’t really get to discover their presentation style. Rather than trying to emulate someone you admire (which typically doesn’t come across as genuine), stay true to yourself and speak in the way that comes naturally – whether that’s boisterous, or pragmatic. The caveat here is to be enthusiastic. Remember that when viewers can’t see you, they are relying on your voice to convey your passion for the subject matter.
5. Print out your presentation, including notes
Many times – particularly if they didn’t do a full dry run – presenters find that they can’t see their notes on the screen along with whatever they are sharing at the time. This can really catch people off guard, but if they have printed copies they should feel a bit more secure. No matter what happens with your technology, you’ll be able to keep going with your presentation if everything is in front of you.
6. Make sure you have a backup plan
You should probably assume that if something can go wrong, it will: laptops die, PowerPoint freezes, or presenters have an emergency and are late. Though hopefully these instances are rare, it’s essential to know what you’ll do should they happen. Some tips: Ensure that everyone who is going to be on the webinar has the final presentation, there is more than one laptop queued up with the materials in the room, and you have a backup presenter.
7. Write down your process
Eventually your virtual events will operate smoothly and seamlessly – but documenting the process is the best way to get there. Don’t recreate the wheel each month. Follow the same process and tweak when you find ways to optimize. Make it easy for someone else to manage the process if necessary.
8. Get comfortable with your webinar platform
No matter which webinar platform you use, it’s critical to understand the ins and outs of the functionality. Practice using the software several times before you host your first event. Technology isn’t always easy though, so figure out what things might go wrong and how to troubleshoot. Remember that you can always re-record the webinar at a later date if you absolutely need to.
9. Delegate for the most effective event management
Your process will run better if people are responsible for certain elements that are most suited to their skillset. You might have one person run social media during the event and another managing the chat pane online, for example.
10. Rely on company-wide experts
In order to put together a law firm webinar that is most likely to resonate, collaborate with your attorneys, sales team, or partners. Don’t try to become an expert on everything – simply ask for input from people who have ears to the ground. Make sure that those you collaborate with understand early on what the expectations are and how they can help.
11. Start with introductions
If you have time, ask attendees to tell everyone where they’re calling in from and what they’re excited to learn. This is a great way to begin the event with energy and encourage participation throughout.
12. Include polls in the webinar
Polls are a great way to recapture the attention of your participants. Attendees are likely to be excited to see what their peers are saying. Plus, you can save the information to provide insight into potential content or webinar topics for the future.
13. Tell stories
People love stories. Use them to illustrate your points and to personalize your content. They also help to make sense of concepts and are more memorable than just stating facts. Make a point to include a few stories that are relatable and easy to understand.
14. Experiment with content
Switch things up throughout your presentation to help keep your attendees’ attention. Try humor, gifs, videos, and other content formats to break things up. Consistently look for new ways to reach your audience and adjust future webinars based on what you find.
15. Encourage feedback at the end of the webinar
If you truly want to improve your webinar experience, then ask for feedback at the end of events. You can easily create a survey for the end, or send an email. Keep responses in a community document so that your team can consider suggestions together.
16. Practice social listening
Encourage attendees to tweet using certain hashtags, and then review the activity following the webinar. Use this information to see what really resonated and find new ways to engage with the people who attended your law firm webinar.
17. Play the webinar recording
One of the best ways to improve future presentations is to listen to past webinars. This helps presenters to pick up on things they wouldn’t have otherwise. For example, maybe you use certain words too often, or you notice a lull at certain points in the presentation and you can make adjustments for next time.
18. Always debrief
It’s tempting to feel relief that a webinar is over and move on to the next thing, but doing so won’t help you to improve. Have a meeting shortly after the webinar with your team to discuss what worked and what didn’t. Make sure to document any tactical items that you can act on for your next event.
As this list probably reminded you, producing a successful law firm webinar takes a lot of preparation, energy, and collaboration. It’s important to remember that it’s all worth it though – webinars are one of the best ways to connect with your audience and funnel leads into your pipeline. We’ve learned a lot about producing them over the years.
Are you ready to host your own webinar that connects with your audience, builds authority and trust, and grows your email list? Reach out to us for help today.