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Using GoToWebinar

I’ve gotten to really like GoToWebinar, by Citrix. They provide a clean software package and interface for running webinars at a pretty reasonable price. For pricing information, check out this page.

http://www.gotomeeting.com/fec/gotomeeting_pricing

I can’t foresee doing a webinar for more than 100 participants for Kessler Freedman in the near future as we are specifically providing our webinars for clients only, as a benefit to our customers. So we use the standard $99 per month service option. Clients can either call in on a long-distance number or listen in through their computer; we don’t buy the toll-free minutes offered (it’s a bit pricey) and attendees must use the GoToWebinar user interface to submit questions during a webinar. You can test it now for a month for free, which is really nice if you want to research it for future use but aren’t ready to actually conduct webinars yet. The free version signup is here:

https://www4.gotomeeting.com/webinar/register/register.tmpl?Portal=www.gotomeeting.com&RandomSet=Try_Direct_Webinar

If you’ve never used GoToWebinar as a presenter or organizer, but are thinking about providing webinars, it’s well worth the look. A webinar organizer (and there can be multiple organizers) has lots of capabilities during the webinar – to change presenters, to allow someone else to control the mouse and keyboard, to mute or unmute presenters and/or attendees if desired, and more. Presentations can be slideshows, PDFs, web sites, videos, etc. What you can see on your monitor you can share with others. You can practice as much as you want during the period of time you’ve subscribed to GoToWebinar – there’s no real usage limit on anything other than the number of attendees for a given webinar, and the toll-free phone call-in minutes if you buy them. You can upgrade to the next level of attendees if you’re fortunate to schedule a webinar that is wildly popular. GoToWebinar allows you to manage the contacts with the attendees (including reminders) and to monitor the attendance and the attention to a live webinar. You can record the webinar for later download and use, although you need to remember to save it in a general WMV version or go through more labor in converting with their codec.

There are opportunities for glitches, which is why you practice, and as I stated in my previous post, you try to avoid doing something for the first time during a real webinar. I’d recommend that you emphasize to those who have signed up for your webinar that they visit the GoToWebinar page specifically set up for your webinar well in advance of the event and download the software that’s necessary unless they’re old hands at GoToWebinar. I also recommend that you provide the GoToWebinar support phone number in your contacts with your attendees prior to the webinar. You can’t control attendees’ hardware and software setup and issues, and it’s unlikely you have to experience to help unique situations – but GoToWebinar does and will resolve it. So let them.

If you have multiple presenters for a webinar, set up a test time that all can attend and go through the mechanics of the webinar. Make sure they understand their GoToWebinar menu items, make sure they understand that their files need to be ready and how to switch views from file to file and computer to computer. Go over the questions box, how and when they want to handle questions. Set a time to meet up on the GoToWebinar software 5-10 minutes BEFORE the webinar officially starts so that everyone’s set and there are no surprises. Presenters and organizers can talk before making the session live over GoToWebinar, any attendees awaiting the webinar will not hear it nor will they see any screen until the webinar is officially made live by the organizer.

It just takes experience to figure out the opportunities and occasional limitations to GoToWebinar.  Common sense and a commitment to practice will get you a comfort level fairly quickly.

Kessler Freedman, Inc.