light bulbsAt the Learning Technology Design Conference in Arlington, VA, I had the opportunity to present a session on, Webinar Mastery: Five Keys to Success, to a knowledgeable audience, many of whom design and develop webinars for professional associations headquartered in the DC area. At the end of my presentation I asked this savvy group to share their webinar tips. Read on for first-rate ideas on content, interaction and facilitation techniques and logistics.


  1. Use bold imagery that ties to your key point to make an instant connection. Try to find images that are action-oriented to solicit a reaction such as a laugh, a shock, etc.—Layla
  2. Use a simple and consistent transition in your slides and slide builds (animations) in your bullet points. This will keep your audience’s attention and won’t upstage your message. – Mark
  3. Volunteer to take care of the slides for your subject matter experts (SME) and tell them to focus on talking points. This is faster than training the SME in slide design. – Angelyn

Interaction and Facilitation techniques

4. All interactions don’t have to be in the webinar. You can ask participants to write down ideas on paper. You can’t see or track it, but it can still support learning. — Celisa

5. When delivering content, remember the power of a story. People may not remember much of the “data” you deliver, but they will remember a story. — Kevin

6. Prepare a few questions in advance. If no one in the audience asks a question, have a friend in the audience ask one of the prepared questions. Typically the first question asked will inspire others to ask questions. – Michelle

7. Use this mantra before a webinar: remain calm – everything will be fine. – Tahlia

8. Scan the chat for opportunities to further develop the conversation with participants and help you ask your next question – Tiffany

9. Don’t try to be too fancy! Too many tools/features can be distracting. Master of couple of engagement methods instead of trying to use them all. – Kelly

10. Ask the audience to stand up and stretch for 5-10 seconds halfway through your session. – Habib

11. Tell presenters to put stuffed animals or pictures of their family and friends by their computer and to “speak” to them during the presentation. – Shari


12. Print a copy of the presentation for the speaker, producer and host. That way if the speaker loses his/her internet connection and audio is still working, the speaker can continue and say “next slide please” and the presentation can continue smoothly. – Olivia

13. Use a headset for good audio quality. – Laura and Ben

14. Develop an opening video for your webinar where you explain the platform and other introductory information. – Zane

15. Send an email reminder of how to connect and how to test your connection on the day of the webinar – Marcie

What webinar/virtual classroom tips do you have to share?




Ten Slides to Organize Your Virtual Learning

October 1, 2015

I am excited to be a contributing author to the new book, 101 Ways to Make Learning Active Beyond the Classroom. The book includes activities for social learning, mLearning, blended learning, virtual classroom learning, learning on a team, mentoring, peer-to-peer coaching, informal learning, and learning beyond the workplace. Here’s an example of a tip list […]

Read the full article →

5 Habits of Highly Effective Virtual Classroom Facilitators

May 18, 2015

The demand for training delivered via live virtual classroom continues to grow. How can facilitators ensure this type of distance learning is effective and get learners eager for more? Here are five things you can do to become a better live virtual classroom facilitator: 1. Master Your Virtual Classroom Application In order to develop interactive […]

Read the full article →

Virtual Chocolate in the Virtual Classroom

January 14, 2015

It’s that time of year when New Year’s resolutions are in full swing, and resolving to eat better is often high on the list. Chocolate is a weakness for many and for me, baked chocolate goods cause me to leave that New Year’s resolution in the dust. However, one way to make that resolution stick […]

Read the full article →

Five Things You Can Do To Become a Better Live Virtual Classroom Facilitator

October 25, 2014

Looking for ideas to improve your virtual classroom facilitation skills? I recently published a guest blog on the AMACOM Books Blog on “Five Things You Can Do to Become a Better Live Virtual Classroom Facilitator.” It contains ideas you can put into action for your next virtual classroom session.  

Read the full article →

Essential Reading for Virtual Classroom Training

September 8, 2014

I recently finished writing my book, The Successful Virtual Classroom, and in the course of researching the book I drew upon many resources. Below are some of the books I recommend if you are interested in learning more about virtual classroom training, or building skills in a specific area. Presentation Skills: If you want to learn […]

Read the full article →

6 Questions You Should Ask Before Designing Virtual Classroom Training

July 31, 2014

Often when someone comes to me with questions about how they should design content and interactivity for training delivered in the live virtual classroom, my answer is “it depends.” Much to their disappointment, there is no simple response.  There are, however, several key factors that influence how participants will engage with your content, your facilitators […]

Read the full article →

Seven Tips to Make the Most of the 2014 ASTD Conference & Exposition

May 2, 2014

The ASTD International Conference and Exposition starts in a couple of days in Washington DC.  I was chatting with a few people who haven’t attended the conference before, and since I’ve been to this conference many times I wanted to share advice on how to make the most of your time: 1.       Pace Yourself The conference is […]

Read the full article →

The Global Virtual Classroom: ASTD Handbook

April 27, 2014

In an increasingly global business environment, many organizations are turning to virtual classrooms to bring individuals and teams together to deliver learning programs. A workplace learning professional who can advise their business stakeholders and/or clients how to manage this growing area can be a tremendous asset to their organization. Trainers who are used to the […]

Read the full article →

The Mobile Virtual Learner

April 4, 2014

While travelling in Asia last week, I met a Canadian guy who works for a high tech company and monitors classified ads posting.  Because the company provides 24-hour monitoring of ads, and his typical shift in Canada was overnight (8pm-4am) he decided to travel and live in Viet Nam  for four months where he could […]

Read the full article →