Webinar toolbox

What tools do you need in your Webinar toolbox?

To conduct a successful and dynamic webinar there are several pieces of equipment you will need. Some you may already have. And others you may need to purchase or upgrade.

 

Reliable Laptop and Internet Connection
It goes without saying that to conduct any online event you will need a reliable computer and Internet connection. When you invite someone to an event you want to be sure that you can deliver that event, and not have your computer crash on you!

 

With regards to Internet connection speed you don’t need to have super fast cable Internet (although it doesn’t hurt if you do!), but you do want to have at least an ADSL connection.  If you don’t have a good ADSL connection you may want to see if you can access a site that does have a fast and reliable Internet connection to conduct the Webinar from.

 

A word of warning with regards to wireless internet connections. It is sufficient for general web browsing, but as the producer of the webinar it will cause your audience to have a degraded experience. This is because of the time lag it adds as the webinar presentation is processed by your computer and then sent wireless to your internet connection point (your modem). If you can eliminate  this by “hard wiring” your computer to your modem for the duration of the webinar you be rewarded with a much better webinar experience for your audience.

 

Webinar Software

There is a range of webinar software available for you to use. Each offers slightly different prices and features. The table below provides an overview of the key features they provide (as of writing July 2014).

 

  GoToMeeting Adobe Connect Google Hangouts Easy Webinar Webinar Jam
Cost $858 per year $540 per year Nothing $397 per year $297 per year
Unlimited Attendees Max 100 Max 25
Custom Registration & Event Pages
Webcam & Desktop sharing
Push Real time offers & Call to action
Automated Emails
Browser based attendance ✗* ✗*

*Attendees required to install software

Please note that if you are wanting to present webinars to audiences who work in large corporations they will expect that you will use a “corporate standard” webinar tool such as GoToMeeting. And, because many large organisations block access to YouTube they may not be able to watch a webinar delivered in Google Hangouts, EasyWebinar, or Webinar Jam as these products leverage YouTube to deliver the webinar.

 

WebCam, Microphone, and Headphones

WebCams

Many laptops come with in built web cams. You will want to ensure that your webcam is able to record at a minimum in 720 HD but optimally in 1080p HD quality to optimize the experience. If your current webcam is unable to record at the 720 HD levels then you will need to invest in a new webcam for the event, such as the Logitech C920.

 

I recommend clients purchase a separate web cam, even if their laptop has a built in webcam. The reason for this two fold. Firstly, video processing consumes significant resources of on your computer. Separate webcams relieve the majority of that pressure by optimising the signal for the computer. Secondly, and most importantly from a professional image perspective, they a usually a higher quality image and they provide you flexibility to position the camera where it suits you best in your office.

 

Microphone and Headphones
Again, most laptops have a reasonable microphone built in. Prior to the event record some video and audio to test the microphone to assess the quality. When you replay it, if you are not happy with the quality you have two choices:

1)    Purchase a dedicated USB microphone

2)    Purchase a combined headphone/microphone set

Personally I have a separate microphone, as I don’t use an external headphone set. But, your decision on this will be impacted by your budget, and whether you are happy for your audience to see you with a headset on whilst you are presenting to the camera.

 

Mark Kyte
Mark Kyte is a public speaking mentor and founder of the Public Speaking Skills Academy. Mark loves helping clients achieve dynamic results that help them increase their influence and get more clients. Read more of his blog and if you like what you see check out the mentoring programs.