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Headline
Make the webinar the star with your next scheduled big Teams meeting
Date
Thu, 17 Mar 2022
Description

Microsoft Teams continues to be an M365 application that allows the council to work together from different locations in an agile way, enabling both internal and external attendees to collaborate often.   

Teams can benefit staff by helping create a perfectly planned and presented online meeting that could make a big difference if you use the webinar function.

Using webinars, you can:

  • schedule the meeting in advance, even including biographies of those booked to speak
  • register the attendees
  • post the details of the webinar on the intranet or wherever appropriate to your action plan needs
  • run an interactive presentation throughout
  • analyse the attendee data once it's all over.

Webinars can be customised to suit however your team is run, putting out your message as best you want. Staff from different services are already setting them up and talking about the benefits, highlighting how a webinar can be useful in any scenario.  

Janette Poole, senior organisational development officer, said: "We used the Teams webinar function for the recent Carers Forum.

"It was very easy to set up and it's really the same as setting up a standard Teams call, the main difference being that you send or publicise a link to the webinar to everyone you want to invite to attend and then they pre-register.

"Pre-registration is very quick and easy, and you can ask specific questions of people who pre-register. We were able to invite both internal and external speakers and it didn't appear to put people off attending. We had about 100 attendees."

What can we get out of webinars?

The organiser

You can get the best, most up-to-date information about Teams webinars by looking here, but the essentials you'll need are to first, as webinar organiser, schedule it several weeks in advance.

By doing this you're giving enough time for attendees to register, for the webinar link to be suitably advertised and for you to get the settings right for the webinar itself.

Top tip: when you're thinking of creating a webinar, please remember that only one person can be the owner of it. So, when it comes to the webinar date, ensure that you will be available to oversee it.

If you're planning a webinar for forums, training events, workshops or virtual team days, you can, as organiser, send out a registration form for each prospective attendee.

They then fill the form out before receiving the webinar 'Join' information. The form is also a useful tool, for example it can measure training effectiveness such as how the webinar has been delivered or if breakout rooms are to be used.

(More info about Microsoft Teams breakout rooms can be currently found on the intranet, but you will know roughly how many people will be in attendance to determine if the rooms are needed.)

Organising a webinar

Setting up a webinar couldn't be any simpler. In Teams, go to the 'Calendar' section (see below).

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From the 'New meeting' drop down box on the right-hand side of the Calendar section, select 'Webinar' (see below).

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Your webinar can then be created by filling out the details requested, including title of the webinar, the required presenter(s) for it, its date and time, location, and any further details.

 

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The part asking, 'Want your attendees to register for this webinar?' is important as this is the option for your attendees to register their details for the webinar you're creating (see below).

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Simply select the 'View registration form' (see below), then create, save and send it to the attendees. The form details the event title, its date and time, a list of speakers, and a form for the attendees to complete, including their names and emails addresses (you can also add further fields for capturing information).

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You should then be at a stage where you can save the registration form and copy and paste the registration link it will generate (see below) into the invitation email you want to send out. If additional presenters are to be involved in your webinar, the link goes to them too and, after this, the link becomes active for everyone involved.

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If part of a forum, Teams chat, or you want to advertise the webinar to a broader audience both internally or externally, then you can use the registration link on the council's social media, in an email or on the intranet.

Webinar attendees: playing their part

When your attendees receive the registration form, they can instantly register for the webinar. They will also receive the email that contains the information and the link to join the webinar.

You'll want to know how this looks so first, click the invitation link and some details will be automatically completed ready to register (other than additional questions asked by the organiser). See below.

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After clicking 'Register now' (see above) the user sees the following confirmation:

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You will then receive the below 'Confirmation email received'.

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Also, double-click the ICS attachment (see below).

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The webinar is now added to the user's calendar (see below).

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Once the email and registration link has been sent out, as an organiser, there is another job to do: it is important that the organiser goes into the meeting options and puts all the relevant controls in place before the webinar itself is scheduled to take place.

These controls can include putting delegates in a lobby, the restriction of camera and audio, etc (see below).

Webinars image 12

On the day of the webinar

The day has arrived for the scheduled webinar and as your attendees select the 'Join' link for it, they'll be waiting in the lobby until the organiser or the presenter lets them in. All the meeting options that have been put in place by the organiser come into effect.

In a public webinar (with an open registration), the attendees' audio and video are turned off by default. They also are unable to share content. And it's the presenter who controls the audience participation.

Things to note once it's all done

After the webinar has ended, and everything has run professionally and smoothly, the organiser can download an attendance report, giving a full picture of who attended so they can see, for example, how effective the invite was.

It's also useful to know that anyone can register to join a webinar, and, likewise, the organiser can choose to restrict registration when the webinar is scheduled. If you're scheduling a webinar with a discussion of a sensitive nature included, the restricted registration function could be of use. 

Webinars are something worth considering, and staff who've used them are positive. Janette Poole added: "The webinar function enabled us to put people into small breakout rooms and this greatly improved the quality of discussions and engagement during the webinar.

"This provided a lot of valuable feedback to use going forward, and the feedback from this particular Carers webinar included, 'Thank you so much everyone…the session has been so informative and engaging'."

Jo Shores, organisation development and inclusion manager, also said: "The Teams webinar function is a great way of engaging people from across the organisation, providing information and enabling people to share experiences and ideas.

"We can then use these insights to inform our approaches going forward. So, giving the webinars a go is worthwhile."

For any technical queries only on the above, please contact the IT Service Desk, however please note that IT will not be able to advise on the setting up of webinars for staff.

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