It’s every webinar marketer’s worst nightmare. You’ve painstakingly spent months organizing and preparing for an event that’s sure to be a hit—but most importantly, run smoothly—only to find disaster hits unexpectedly. What’s worse is that you were so focused on getting your presentation right that you forgot to develop a contingency plan for worst-case scenarios.
To help you prepare for potential webinar issues in the future, we look at some common mishaps, as well as how to fix them.
1. Your Guest Speaker Cancels At the Last Minute, Fails to Show, or Loses the Connection
Problem: Whether your guest speaker becomes ill, drops out for emergency reasons, or loses signal minutes into the event, the situation can cause any webinar marketer to sweat. Besides being unable to conduct your presentation, you have the embarrassing task of explaining to your audience that things have gone awry.
Fix: Don’t panic. Most people understand that things go wrong at the best of times. Simply apologize for the inconvenience and let your attendees know you’ll need to reschedule. As soon as you’ve arranged a new date and time, send out an email blast letting everyone know the details and invite them to re-register for the new session. Alternatively, you can record the webinar without an audience and then send your registrants the recording to watch in their own time.
2. Attendees Complain of Terrible Sound Quality or No Sound at All
Problem: No sooner have you started your presentation when your chat stream starts lighting up with messages from individuals who are experiencing sound problems. While some might stick around for a few minutes to see if things improve, there’s a chance that attendees will drop out and not return.
Fix: Even though you can’t fix all sound issues, especially if the problem lies with your webinar software provider or an attendee’s equipment, you still need to respond to anyone complaining about sound breakups, bad sound quality, or dead air. Besides apologizing for the interruption, you should let people know you’re doing what you can to rectify the problem, and then suggest that audience members wait for the recording. If there’s only one or two people experiencing issues, ask them to check the devices they’re using to ensure the problem isn’t on their side.
3. You Accidentally Hit the Wrong Button
Problem: If you’re moving your cursor around a lot during your presentations, there’s a possibility you may hit the incorrect button unintentionally. If you pushed a simple function like “mute,” you can likely undo what you did. However, something more serious may halt the broadcast or end the session altogether.
Fix: Depending on the webinar platform you’re using, you may be able to re-open your event as the webinar creator or host. However, there’s a chance that many attendees won’t rejoin. It’s best to send a follow-up email explaining your error and then add a link to the recording. You’re only human, so you should expect these types of mishaps to crop up from time to time.
4. You Lose Your Internet Connection, Mobile Phone Signal, or Power
Problem: Staring at a blank screen or listening to a dead line when you know there are hundreds of people waiting on the other end for you can be stressful. If it takes a while to get back online, the wait only makes it worse.
Fix: Although you can’t control outside forces, you can be prepared. Always use a landline if you’re calling in, make sure your devices are plugged in and fully charged, and choose a location that limits potential hazards. If there’s no way you can save the event when you’re able to get back online and reconnect, explain what happened in a follow-up email, and let attendees know you’ll reschedule.
The bottom line: be prepared for the unexpected. Don’t freak out in front of your live audience. Stay calm, maintain your professionalism, and be honest when things go wrong.
What’s the worst thing that’s happened during a webinar you’ve either hosted or attended? Share your embarrassing stories with us in the comment section below.