The Importance of Webinar Timing

By Sharat Sharan, John Carucci

Because the webinar has a time constraint, mentioned right on your invitation, it’s important that you stick with it. Even if your webinar runs for 55 minutes, it’s important to plan out a schedule for each segment, so that it doesn’t go 60. Making sure that each covers its allotted time is essential.

So be sure to do the following:

  • Start promptly, sort of: You want to start on time, but it’s a good idea to actually wait one or two minutes to actually start talking to account for latecomers. Instead, use that time to welcome your audience and tell them you’ll be getting started shortly. Or just let them listen to the snappy music that is provided with the platform.

  • Make an introductory statement about the technology: Take a minute to explain the controls and interaction options.

  • Vary speaker times: Whether you have a single speaker or several speakers, try to limit each talking session to 10-20 minutes. You can break it up with a poll, and then go back to the speaker.

  • Save time for Q&A: The question-and-answer portion of the show is what ties it all together. In an hour-long webinar, you should allocate at least ten minutes to this period.

Make sure that your rehearsals for timing run as close as possible to what you have in the script and itinerary and plan for areas that run slightly longer or shorter than anticipated.

Some webinar producers conduct a full dress rehearsal, replete with different scenarios long before the outside world gets to experience it, but that’s often overkill. Realistically, if you feel confident with the structure of your webinar, you should practice the delivery and content before you run it live.

That doesn’t negate going all-out on a dress rehearsal ahead of your webinar. There are simply too many reasons not to perform a full practice session. That’s because each of those reasons are like little fires that need extinguishing when nobody is looking. It’s all a matter of how comfortable you are with delivering the material.

Treat the session as the real thing and use your employees, friends, or other trusted folks as your audience. Have them be on the lookout for the good, the bad, and the ugly. Before the webinar, poll them to see what modifications you should make before going live.