How To Be An Active & Engaged Webinar Participant

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Let’s be candid for a moment. Unlike in-person training, it’s no surprise that webinars and other virtual learning sessions can create more of an opportunity for participants to zone out or find other things to do. Sitting behind the computer screen in the comfort of home, moments of distraction are just one door knock, mouse click, or email away.

As a trainer, it’s key to be prepped ahead of time with the tools to create a webinar that is engaging and interesting for everyone involved. But it’s just as important for participants to know how to prepare and participate, too. A successful training experience takes team effort on both sides!

The Bob Pike Group offers some great tips for how attendees can be better, active participants before and during any type of online meeting or webinar.

Before The Webinar

  • Make sure your technology works and is ready to go. If your class requires a webcam and/or microphone, there are plenty of websites that let you test them out to make sure everything works and is ready beforehand. Check WiFi connections, too.
  • Bookmark the link to the virtual meeting or have the email with the info open at least an hour ahead of time. When it’s time for class to start, you’ll have the links conveniently at your fingertips.
  • Set up your own quiet meeting spot away from pets, children, and other background noises that may pop up (doorbells, phones, etc.). Put up an “in a meeting” sign on the door to prevent visitors from interrupting.
  • Eat before or after the virtual session, not during, to avoid being asked a question mid-chew or if your mute button accidentally malfunctions.
  • Dress for success! If your webcam is on, dress and ready yourself as if you were sitting in an in-person class. Even if you wear a nice crisp shirt while wearing athletic shorts—other virtual meeting attendees will be none-the-wiser!
  • Turn off email, text, and phone alerts that may cause you distractions during the session.
  • Log into the session a few minutes early so the presenter can track when all participants are in attendance.

During the Webinar

  • Be on time! If something prevents you from attending the webinar on time, let the trainer know. Being late to a webinar is just as disrespectful as walking into a classroom late. Keep in mind that the trainer and other learners can typically see when you log in.
  • Be professional … but still be yourself and inject your personality. With your job and personal home life under the same roof, it may be easier to act or talk more informally. You can still show your professionalism by keeping your home and work lives separate. However, with most of us working from home; the more formal tone found in a boardroom is naturally a bit looser.
  • Introduce yourself briefly before speaking so everyone knows who is talking. This is especially important if there is no video. Also, use “mute” when not you’re not talking so all participants can clearly hear the speaker.
  • Follow the same in-person meeting etiquette. Allow other speakers to finish talking before replying or asking a question. Try to keep your comments and questions concise as online meeting time is precious and typically shorter than in-person boardroom meetings.
  • Limit movement and gestures if there is video, as it can be distracting to others. Also, fast and quick movements can cause blurred reception or glitches.
  • Participate and stay focused on the meeting topics and agenda items. Ask questions during the Q&A session, share you or your team’s achievements and other appropriate stories, and take part in games or trivia. Simply, be an active participant. Plus this helps keep you engaged and less likely to be distracted by your surroundings or emails that pop up.

Following these tips allow participants like you to successfully and respectfully prepare for and participate in online meetings and webinars! By actively putting some of these practices into use, you’ll ensure that you are not only regarded as professional … but that you can adapt successfully to this current remote work world.

Be sure to grab more virtual meetings tips and tricks by bookmarking The Bob Pike Group’s one-stop-shop page on everything e-learning and virtual training.