What are webinars?
Have you heard of a webinar before and didn’t know what it meant?
Webinars are just seminars held over the internet. We all know the importance of seminars cannot be over emphasized. From networking to the transfer of raw knowledge, attending seminars is one huge method of improving in your field and or area of specialization.
According to wiktionary, A webinar is An interactive seminar conducted via the World Wide Web
Today, life is more mobile than it was yesterday, so why not make your program too?
There are a lot of reasons why you should organize a webinar. And at the end of this post, you will see why it is a very good alternative to the very increasing expenses of hosting a seminar
Benefits of hosting Webinars
1. Security challenge
There is an ever increasing issue of security today than it was last year. (No thanks to the ever increasing attacks of terrorists). When webinars are hosted, such risk is almost completely eradicated.
There is no need for security logistics and the organizers can save a whole lot financially and otherwise(save for the security of sensitive data like credit cards, if you will be requiring them, of which a secured connection can handle)
When organizing a seminar, your participants might be coming from various states within a nation, and sometimes even from outside the shores of a nation. Hosting a Webinar help remove the cost and time that comes with traveling.
The risk involved with traveling is also eliminated. Your event can be attended by everyone and anyone in the world in real time and at a lesser cost.
Sometimes your participants might complain of being caught in a traffic jam. This is eliminated in the case of a webinar
Similar to the issue of mobility above, the logistics on the part of the organizers of the seminar might also cost a fortune, but when or if it is a webinar, the costs of logistics is almost at zero.
4. Availability of participants
When hosting a seminar, your participants might pull out at any time, due to matters coming up at the last minute, some are no longer close to the venue at the time of the event, others might be too lazy to get out of bed (lol), but when you host a webinar, even the laziest person would be in attendance. Their gadgets, of course, are with them in bed, those in hold ups are right with their device et cetera.
5. The cost of hosting a seminar is eliminated (cost effective)
There is the cost attached to hosting a seminar. From renting a conference room to satisfying participants (People have tastes, your conference hall might irritate some participants). You’d also want to pay for any security agency helping in securing the venue, entertainment et al. these are all not necessary in a webinar.
All you need is the medium of the webinar, this might include your web host, a webcam (if necessary), a good microphone etc. And so your webinar is right underway
Of course, you know people would be more convenient in their homes than anywhere else. The joy of learning something new from the comfort of your home can not be compared to another.
These and more reasons are why you should consider a webinar in place of a seminar. Well, does this mean webinars are perfect with no issues of their own? Far from that. In fact, a webinar can be a total flop if not properly organized. Or if the forces of nature are against you(lol), no matter how well you set it up, the possibility of encountering a glitch is still there.
I will list a few problems possibly involved in organizing a webinar. These are challenges which can be overcome anyway, with proper planning.
Problems associated with hosting a webinar
1. International time zone difference
If your event is one which can benefit multinationals, then you must consider time zones. There are people who will never stay awake to attend any event. They would not sacrifice their sleep for anything in the world. So this issue of time zone is or can be a challenge. You must find a way around it.
2. Data or connections
Sometimes, data connections are bad (Especially in the developing part of the world, so when organizing a webinar, this might be a big problem for participants.
3. Some areas are not connected to the internet
Because your area or nation is connected does not eliminate the fact that some others are not. This means any of your potential participant traveling into any of those areas will not be able to join in the webinar.
This is also an issue with any of or most of the developing or third world nations. The epileptic state of power supply is nothing to write home about in many of these countries. What is the implication of this? Some of your potential participants might run out of battery during or before the event begins, oppps!!!, this means you have one less participant.
5. Ignorance, lack of technical know-how or cynicism
Some people will just not agree to a new innovation or idea. Some are doubtful and will not entertain any new, foreign or strange idea. These type of people make it difficult to host webinars.
6. Your host
During the program, your host provider might just unconsciously decide to mess things up. This is a major concern, especially when using any of these untrusted or new hosting providers. However, even the old hosting companies mess up at times.
Also, you might exhaust your bandwidth during the course of the event, and your host provider might just shut you down as a result.
Good news, there are alternatives to hosting webinars online where no host will trouble you. I will list a few.
Platforms to host free webinars
People come up with new ideas every day, and as such, someone somewhere came up with the idea of running webinars via any of these platforms
II. Facebook Groups
III. Skype( including video discussions too)
These are not the only pros or cons to hosting a webinar. I believe you have more ideas and will be glad if you share them with us.
Over to you
What do you think about webinars? Have you attended any? Have you hosted? If you live in a third world nation, which of the aforementioned challenge is peculiar to you? Have you attended a webinar before? Let’s know your thoughts and additions using the comment area below.