Tips for joining a Zoom webinar

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In this time of social distancing, you may have noticed that virtual events—especially webinars—have become more popular. At the Chamber, we are proud to offer online business training and professional development resources through our webinars. You may have received information about an upcoming webinar from the Chamber or another organization, but if you’re new to attending virtual events and meetings, it can feel intimidating to sign up for one of these events. As always, the Chamber is here to support you, so we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you get comfortable with attending webinars.

Registering for a webinar

Many of your favorite organizations are adding webinars and other virtual events to their list of services, but with new technology often comes new event registration systems. You may be used to picking up the phone to sign up for an event, but webinars function a little differently. The good news is that registering for a webinar is actually very simple and you only need an email address to get started.

The first step to registering for a webinar is to read the event instructions carefully. You’ll usually be directed to register online via a specific link. Make sure you click through to the registration webpage, where you’ll be prompted to fill out a simple online form. Many webinars—including the Chamber’s—use Zoom software. Default Zoom registration simply asks for a first name, last name and email address. Then click “Register” and you’re done!

Don’t worry, there’s an easy way to make sure your registration processed. After a few minutes, check your email to see if you received a confirmation message with important info for attending the virtual event. Check your junk folder if you aren't finding your registration confirmation in your inbox.

Still not finding the email or having difficulty entering your information on the registration page? Try registering through a different web browser—we recommend Google Chrome. We’ve noticed that sometimes registration links do not work if you use Internet Explorer.

Attending a webinar

Alright, it’s time for the webinar to kick off but how do you join the virtual event? On your computer or smartphone, go back to that confirmation email you received after registering for the event, and read the instructions carefully. These emails can sometimes look a little overwhelming, but look for text that says “Click here to join”. If this event is created using Zoom software, you will not need an account to attend the webinar—just click the link!

There may also be instructions in your confirmation email about dialing into the webinar via phone. Keep in mind that some webinars include helpful visuals like PowerPoint presentations, so you may miss out on important content if you choose to dial in versus attend using a computer or smartphone.

Zoom’s Q&A Feature

If you’re attending a webinar that uses Zoom software, you may have the ability to submit questions to the presenters during the live event! To access this feature, simply tap your screen (if using a smartphone) or move your mouse (if using a computer) to see a list of options appear. Click the Q&A option and simply type your question. Keep in mind that there may not be time for every question to be answered during the live webinar, but most presenters will do their best to address all questions.

Other Zoom Webinar Features

Did you see other options pop up when you accessed the Q&A feature? Not all options will be available during all webinars, but here’s a couple of commonly used features you may encounter.

Raised Hand – Use this feature to get the attention of a presenter or webinar host. Some webinars use this instead of a Q&A feature. Webinar presenters have the ability to ask you to unmute your microphone so you can ask a question that all participants can hear.

Chat – Use this feature to send a message directly to the webinar presenters, the host (the Chamber for example), or another attendee. This is a good feature to use if you are experiencing technical difficulties during the live event. Keep in mind that not all chat options may be available for all webinars. For example, it may be possible for you to message a presenter but not a fellow attendee.

The webinar was full, or I missed the live event

If you are unable to join a webinar because you see a message that the event is full, that means the host’s software license cannot accommodate all of the attendees. This can happen even if you preregistered for the event. Try reaching out to the event host, and ask for a recording of the event instead.

Even if you completely missed a webinar, you might be able to access it at a later date. Many webinars are recorded and can be watched again. Visit the host business or organization’s website to see if this option is available to you. Of course you won’t be able to submit questions to the presenters as if it were a live event, but recorded webinars can still be very informative—plus, you can hit pause, rewind, and rewatch sections of the webinar that are especially informative to you. You can access the Chamber’s recorded webinars at: ConcordNHChamber.com/resources/webinars-for-businesses.

Is there a difference between a Zoom webinar and a Zoom meeting?

Actually, there’s a big difference! You may be familiar with Zoom meetings, but a webinar has very different features. At a Zoom meeting, everyone has the ability to unmute their mic, turn on video, and screen share. In a webinar, only presenters and hosts have this ability. This makes webinars more secure.

What do I need to know about Zoom security?

Although “Zoombombing” has become a huge security threat for many Zoom meetings, you can feel safe attending a Zoom webinar. Webinars are far more secure than Zoom meetings, but it is always a good idea to follow normal Zoom procedures—never share your registration confirmation email or your private Zoom link to join the webinar. Instead, if you have friends or coworkers who are interested in joining the webinar, encourage them to register for the event via a public link. For example, you can direct people to ConcordNHChamber.com/resources/webinars-for-businesses to access upcoming Chamber webinars.


 

We are living in challenging times, but it is exciting to see new technology help spread valuable information to our community. We hope these tips help you feel more confident about accessing resources available through virtual events and webinars.

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