In this post, you’ll see the tips I found helpful (and the lessons I learnt) when hosting a series of internal training webinars in WebEx Training Centre. If you apply these tips and lessons, you should find it easier to host smooth events yourself (in WebEx or a similar system, like Adobe Connect).
Do you have your own tips or lessons for using WebEx or the like? Please share them in the comments at the bottom.
StakeholdersScroll to Contents ↑
- When choosing the date of your webinar, work with your speaker(s) and other stakeholders to preferably steer clear of other big commitments on the same day. (And of course, make sure they’re free to attend!)
- I strongly recommend you also book your speaker(s) for a rehearsal. That way, everyone can practise all these techniques:
- Handing over from one speaker to another.
- Advancing the slides.
- Using other features you’ll use on the day itself (like annotation tools, polls, and chat).
- For the real event:
- Book your speaker(s) from at least 15 minutes before your start time, until 15 minutes after your end time (to give them some leeway to get into and out of other meetings).
- Ask your speaker(s) to join at least 15 minutes early, to give time to fix potential problems (like their sound not working or their password being rejected). If your event’s especially important, you might even ask them to join 30 minutes early, to give more time for troubleshooting.
InvitationsScroll to Contents ↑
- If you’ll use a session password, when you write the invitation it’s worth mentioning that attendees often have a problem if they copy and paste their session password from the invitation (because they often copy a trailing space by mistake). So you could ask people to manually type it if they have an issue. (Or, just ask everyone to manually type their password, to head off problems.)
- If you want total flexibility with the look of the invitation, you can invite people from your calendar software (e.g. Outlook):
- When you schedule the event in Training Centre, choose Send a copy of the attendee invitation to me.
- Don’t invite anyone from WebEx.
- Click the Schedule button to save the event.
- Open the email WebEx sends you.
- Copy the link and password from the email.
- Paste them into the invitation you design in your calendar software.
- If you’ll send the invitation from Outlook, rather than direct from WebEx, you might want to control responses (especially if your audience is big) so your Inbox doesn’t get flooded:
- You can turn off responses to your meeting invite in Outlook. To do that, remove the tick (checkmark) from Responses > Request Responses.
- If the audience is big, before you send the invite from Outlook, create a rule (through Tools > Rules and Alerts) to automatically delete incoming messages that have “Automatic reply:” in the subject line. That way, you won’t hear from people who are out-of-office. (An hour or so after inviting people, you could turn off the rule so it doesn’t delete one-off automated replies you receive from time to time. But you might want to keep the rule for future use.)
Session setupScroll to Contents ↑
- After you choose Schedule Training, leave the option selected to delete your session after use (see screenshot below), as there’s usually no need to keep it. (The option has no effect on the recording or other files created during the session.)
- You might want to turn off the option that displays the toll-free number, as that likely costs much more than if people use the toll number (or better still, if they use VoIP).
- For big events, you’ll probably choose to mute attendees on entry, and to turn off the entry and exit tone – as shown at the bottom of the screenshot:
RecordingsScroll to Contents ↑
- I suggest you record the rehearsal (as a fallback, in case you miss recording the start of the real thing!)
- For the real thing, start the recorder as your 1st priority, before being distracted by any last-minute crises. (This tip arose because I missed recording the start of a webinar when the speaker couldn’t get their password to work, as described above. And that was despite the invitation asking everyone not to try copying and pasting the password…)
- For a far neater start to the recording: After the housekeeping,
show a 2nd copy of the title slide, and say something like:
“Thank you for joining this training on X, and let’s look
[on the next slide] at what you’ll learn…”
Apart from those few words, also have a reminder in the slide notes to start the recording if you didn’t do it earlier. (If you did already start the recording, as planned, you can later trim all the housekeeping that precedes that slide.)
For a far neater start to the recording…
Interaction/PollsScroll to Contents ↑
- By default, attendees can only chat with the host or panellists, and you can only change that after you start the meeting. So start it maybe 15 minutes early, press Ctrl+K (or choose Participant > Assign Privileges) and turn on the option to let people chat with everyone.
- By default, people can’t use the pointer tool either, so also turn that on through Ctrl+K. (When you schedule a training session, you can also turn on annotation for everyone by using the Edit Options button, which is just over halfway down the page. However, you can’t choose to let people chat with everyone that way.)
- To engage people early, ask them a relevant question (to answer either in chat or verbally), rather than just having unengaging housekeeping at the start!
- When you share poll results, it can take 10 seconds or more for WebEx to compile them, so before the event, it’s worth preparing something interesting to say while everyone’s waiting!
RolesScroll to Contents ↑
- Promote presenters to panellists when they join, which puts them at the top of the attendee list so you can find them easily. However, note that it also un-mutes them! So forewarn them and ask them to mute themselves straight away.
- To pass the presenter ball, you can just hover to the left of someone’s name and click the faint ball that appears, then click OK to confirm the role change.
Tabs/OptionsScroll to Contents ↑
- After starting the session, if you don’t want to use Video or Q&A, choose Session > Session Options and turn them off. (When you schedule a training session, you can also turn off video by using the Edit Options button, which is just over halfway down the page.)
- You can also turn off unused tabs to simplify your screen (e.g. Q&A – if you’ve not already disabled it through Session Options – and Polling if you’re not going to use it). To do that, click the arrow to the right of the tabs (at the top of the attendee panel) and choose Manage Panels.
Your turnScroll to Contents ↑
What tips do you have for using WebEx Training Centre? Please share them in the comments.