“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” –Sun Tzu

Managing the technical elements of the online event is important, but they are just the tactics. To properly facilitate a webinar, you must understand the underlying purpose of each tactic and the job itself. The role of the webinar facilitator, simply put, is to serve the webinar speaker(s) and the attendees.

The Webinar Speaker: The speaker delivers the presentation—the very reason attendees arrive. The presenter must concentrate on:

? Delivering the substance of the presentation
? Telling stories and anecdotes to illustrate various points
? Sustaining the energy of the event (because things can get very dull, very quickly)
? Managing the timing of the presentation
? Recovering from any mistakes or slip-ups (that go noticed or unnoticed)
? Handling any anxiety, nervousness, or self-consciousness
? Maintaining focus for the entire event

That’s a lot to handle and it takes considerable talent, preparation, and attention to do it well. It falls to the webinar facilitator to make sure the speaker focuses on those duties and nothing else.

The Webinar Attendees: Webinar attendees are your company’s prospects and clients. You want them to have a first-rate experience. To effectively accomplish that, you must understand what the event looks like from their perspective. What takeaways do they expect? What does the rest of their day look like? How does your webinar appear on their computer screen?

Consider an attendee’s perspective:

“It’s 1:59 p.m. I’ve logged onto your webinar. I’ve fit your one-hour presentation between client projects, looming report deadlines, and management meetings. I expect your technology to work, you to answer my questions promptly, and the presentation to deliver the content promised in the event copy. I also want you to tell me when I’ll receive the event recording and how I can access a PDF of the presentation slides.”

The core principle of a webinar facilitator, therefore, is to do whatever is necessary in order for the webinar speaker to focus entirely on presenting and to set and meet attendees’ expectations. Every action must connect to this principle. If it doesn’t, stop doing it or alter it so that it does.