The Coronavirus outbreak has dramatically changed the way we live and work. Online resources are now more in demand than ever and many activities such as meetings and training sessions are now being conducted by webinar.
Here’s our guide to webinars, taking part and keeping safe.
What is a webinar?
A webinar is an online session where you can hear and (usually) see the person/people involved in the discussion or training. It can be a one-to-one session or involve more than one speaker/trainer and several participants/learners.
Webinars are carried out live, in real time, and are interactive. They can include polls and surveys, and sharing of information on slides, as well as discussion topics.
Webcam and mic safety
Remember that once you have logged on to the webinar, others taking part may be able to see and hear you.
Make sure you are prepared for this before you join in, or turn off your microphone and cover up the camera on your computer, laptop or phone until you are ready.
It is good etiquette to use your web camera. In particular, if we need to ensure you are participating in our sessions and engaged in the webinar, we need to see and hear you.
When the webinar is live, make sure you speak clearly and look directly at the screen, and that you are sitting close enough, centrally and not too high up or low down.
When talking, be aware that multiple discussion at the same time makes listening very hard. Wait for one-person to stop talking before you join in. If you don’t get an opportunity, there is normally a ‘chat’ function so you cn contact your tutor / the host and express yourself.
Clothes and setting
Not everyone has a home office, but you can still make sure that you place yourself in a professional setting. A blank wall is a better background than an untidy bedroom – no one wants to see piles of your dirty washing in the background.
Personal items are not only a distraction, they might give away information that you would rather keep private, so check carefully what’s on view to others when you are online.
What you wear is also important. Just because you’re working/training from home doesn’t mean you can wear a onesie! You don’t necessarily need to go as far as wearing a suit, but whether you are a learner or an employee representing your company, a webinar is a professional activity – treat it the same as if you were going to a meeting or classroom setting.
Does the equipment you are using to access the webinar belong to your employer, for example a company phone, tablet or laptop? If so, you should ensure that you only use it in line with the policies set out by the company’s IT and HR department.
If there are others in the house, make sure they know that you are going to be online. Ask them to keep out of the room and not to make a noise in the background while you are taking part in the webinar.
If you’re running the webinar…
Remember that delivering training for young people aged 16-18 requires a bit more thought. It might be best practice not to use a webcam or a microphone, or at least to obtain permission before starting the webinar.
If you are working with children, please ensure you follow all the standard safeguarding practices for contact with those under 16.
If the webinar is being recorded, you should ensure that all parties are informed in advance that the content may be made available to others at a later date.