Webinars are super popular—for good reason! They allow companies and individuals to connect with other people, share their insights, market and sell products, and more.
Are you looking to boost the quality of your webinars? Then consider hosting guest speakers.
In this article, we’ll explain what guest speakers are, the different kinds you can book for your live broadcasts, and why guest speakers can be so beneficial. Then we’ll share ways to find and prepare your guest speakers, so that your webinars can be as professional as possible.
What is a Guest Speaker?
Every webinar needs a host, who’s general job is to welcome attendees, share information, and, in some cases, provide a platform for guest speakers.
This begs the question, what is a guest speaker? For our purposes, a guest speaker is someone who speaks and/or presents during a webinar, but doesn’t host said webinar.
There are four different categories of guest speakers you can work with:
A colleague is someone within your organization. You know and work with on a regular basis, but they aren’t typically involved in your webinars. As such, they’re able to bring something unique and exciting to your live broadcasts that your audience will appreciate.
Examples of this kind of guest speaker include your company’s CEO, a leader in the sales and/or marketing department, and an expert from IT.
Just about every organization has partners, AKA companies they work with to achieve a mutual goal. The professionals at these companies can make for great guest speakers—as long as they align with your brand vision, values, and audience.
You could, for instance, invite an executive from a partnering company to speak to your webinar attendees because his/her products integrate with yours.
Every industry has influencers, i.e. people who have large platforms and can sway the opinions of others via social media, emails, their blogs, etc.
These people aren’t always easy to book for webinars, but they can be amazing guest speakers—especially if your audience already knows who they are. Don’t be afraid to contact these kinds of people about your live broadcasts.
Current / Potential Customers
Depending on the kind of webinar you’re hosting, you may want to invite current and/or potential customers to speak, too. Maybe it’s a customer that gave you a top score on your latest NPS survey. Or a decision maker at a company you hope will become a customer.
Just make sure that the people you invite to speak have something valuable to share with your audience. Otherwise, what’s the point?
What Are the Benefits of Guest Speakers?
It takes time and effort to book guest speakers. Is it worth it? Absolutely! Here are three reasons why you should consider booking guest speakers for your webinars:
Hosting guest speakers usually leads to more webinar attendees. This is because guest speakers are able to promote webinar events to their own audience, which boosts awareness.
Guest speakers can entice your own audience to attend webinars, too. They might not be interested in hearing you speak (sorry!) But they’ll definitely want to hear from a notable influencer in your industry, who can share new and valuable insights with them.
You’re not an expert on every single topic—nobody is. You can give your webinars greater credibility by collaborating with guest speakers who specialize in particular areas.
Are you hosting a webinar about cybersecurity? Ask a professional in the field to join you and share their expertise. What about affiliate marketing? Invite a guest speaker who’s had success in this area to educate your webinar audience.
Finally, guest speakers have been known to boost audience engagement. This is because conversations are always more engaging than monologues. If you want to improve the attendee experience, collaborate with guest speakers during your webinars.
How to Find the Best Guest Speakers For Your Webinars
Guest speakers will improve your webinar events. The question is, how do you find guest speakers that your audience actually wants to hear from? Let’s talk about that…
Mine Your Network
Start with your personal network. Who do you know that can add value to your audience? And would they be willing to participate in your next webinar?
This list may include current and former colleagues, mentors, company partners, etc.
Since you already have a relationship with these people, getting them involved in your webinar should be pretty easy. Just ask politely and try to be as accommodating as possible.
Study Your Industry
When you’ve exhausted your personal network, start studying your industry. Who are the most important influencers? Would any of them be willing to join you for a webinar?
It’s important to target the right level of speaker. If you just launched your business, for example, you might not be able to book Gary Vaynerchuck for a broadcast. That’s okay, there are plenty of less famous people who can still add value to your audience.
Remember, you don’t know these folks yet. As such, you won’t be able to rely on personal favors like you can when you talk to people in your network. To get them to participate, offer them an incentive, such as an opportunity to promote their business during your webinar.
Ask Your Customers
You can always ask your audience for guest speaker ideas, too. Who do they want to hear from? Chances are, they’ll list industry experts, but you never know. They may surprise you and suggest a guest speaker you never even considered.
Depending on who your audience suggests, you may need to offer this kind of guest speaker an incentive, too. Find something they value and give it to them.
How to Prepare Guest Speakers For Your Webinars
You’ve booked a guest speaker for your next webinar—congratulations!
But your work isn’t done. To make sure the broadcast goes off without a hitch, you need to prepare your guest to speak to your audience. Here are five tips to help:
1. Introduce Them to Your Webinar Software
What webinar software do you use? Make sure your guest speaker is familiar with it. That way they can focus on presenting important information rather than fiddling with technology.
If your guest speaker isn’t familiar with your webinar software, give them a quick crash course before your actual event starts. You can do this via written documents, videos, and your practice webinar. (More on practice webinars in tip #3.)
Speaking of webinar software, have you tried ClickMeeting yet? ClickMeeting is used by tens of thousands of people in 125+ countries around the world because it’s powerful and intuitive. With it, you can take advantage of industry-leading features like customer branding, screen sharing, polls and surveys, live streaming, webinar recording, and analytics.
Start your free trial of ClickMeeting today to see if it’s the right tool for you and your company.
2. Collaborate on Webinar Content and Create an Agenda
Next, work with your guest speakers to plan the best content you possibly can. Decide what you’ll talk about, who will speak at which times, whether you’ll host a Q&A session, etc.
When planning your content, make sure you include “audience engagers”. These are things that (surprise!) engage audience members, such as visual aids like infographics and video clips. We also suggest sending the occasional polls or survey and enabling live chat.
Once your webinar is planned, create an agenda and send it to your guest speaker. This will keep you both on track and ensure you don’t accidentally skip over important content.
3. Host a Practice Version of Your Webinar the Day Before
This is definitely optional, but we recommend hosting a practice version of your webinar before you step in front of a live audience. Doing so will give you the opportunity to work out the kinks in your presentation, make sure your guest speakers understand how to use your webinar software, and give you confidence that you’re ready to host a professional event.
As the old saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” The more you practice beforehand, the more likely it is that your webinar will be a smashing success.
Note: if you’ve booked a well-known person to speak at your event, don’t expect them to attend your practice webinar. You’ll need to either practice alone or skip this step entirely.
4. Share Potential Q&A Questions With Your Guest Speakers
Most webinars end with a Q&A session. If you plan to host one, prep your guest speakers so that they can give deeper, more meaningful answers. There are a few ways to do this:
- Ask attendees to submit their questions before your webinar starts. That way you can share the questions you receive with your guest speakers before you go live.
- Share questions that your audience has asked guest speakers in the past. Chances are, your audience will ask these kinds of questions again.
- Guess, based on what you know about your audience, what they’ll ask your guest speaker during your webinar. Then share your predictions.
As mentioned above, the more prepared you and your guest speakers are, the better your webinars will be. Do what you can to prep your guests for your Q&A sessions.
5. Log Into Your Webinar Software 30 Minutes Before the Event
Last, but certainly not least, ask your guest speakers to log into your webinar 30 minutes before the event is supposed to start. This will give you a chance to fix any last-minute tech issues, go over your agenda one last time, and otherwise make sure you’re prepared.
Think about it: you’ve already invested a lot of time in this webinar…
You’ve booked the speaker, planned the content, and practiced multiple times to make sure your delivery is just right. Why not show up early and make sure everything goes to plan?
Elevate Your Webinars With Guest Speakers
The right guest speakers will elevate your webinars. After reading this post, you know how to find and prepare them for your events. All that’s left is to actually do it!
But remember, you can’t host amazing webinars without a top-quality webinar platform. We suggest ClickMeeting because it’s both powerful and easy to use.
Try all of ClickMeeting’s industry-leading features for free for 30 days—we won’t even ask you for your credit card number. See you on the inside!