Showtime! Best Practices for Successful Webcasts

Room Setup

  • Confidence Monitor: If possible, setup an LCD screen in front of speakers (out of camera range) to show slides and allow them to look forward
  • Question Screening: Consider using a moderator to handle questions coming in from the audience
  • Audio Connection: Ensure the listen-in telephone line is muted for callers so those listening are not distracted by ambient noise or others calling in
  • Water: Ensure speakers have water in case of coughs or dry spells, but avoid jugs with ice cubes that are often a distraction
  • Pre-empt Distractions: Close doors, and turn off land lines and electronic devices that may interfere with the broadcast
  • Paper: Each speaker should have a copy of the slide presentation in printed form, but not flip pages noisily



  • Get To It: Get rolling with introductions and agenda highlights lasting no more than one minute
  • Audience Engagement: Alert viewers to opportunities for interactions, such as polls, chat box, Q&A box, and social media (Twitter, etc.) on Web page or onscreen (overseen by a moderator)
  • 20 Minutes: A rule of thumb is allow each speaker no more than 20 min. without breaking for another speaker, taking questions or conducting a poll
  • Be Prompt: Start on time, but do not start before the appointed time
  • Be Substantive: Educate, don’t sell, and take a journalistic approach to the program structure by presenting the most important information first, followed by lesser details
  • Be Aware: Ensure speakers know they may be onscreen even when others are speaking, such as in a wide shot (avoid doing other work, texting or looking bored)
  • Be Calm: Encourage speakers to remain calm in the event of a technical issue and not to call undue attention to it
  • Use Pauses Artfully: Find moments to pause in the presentation, adding emphasis to key points and avoiding potential viewer boredom
  • Showmanship: Encourage speakers to make eye contact with viewers, never read from slides at length, tell stories and anecdotes to highlight key points, and ask questions among themselves
  • Questions: Allow at least 10 minutes for questions, but if no questions, end early
  • Close With a Call to Action: After summarizing key presentation points, urge the audience to take action based on their learnings, and call or email with post-event questions