Webinars offer a unique way to learn from an expert without getting anywhere near a conference room. This online tool has expanded the world of professional development through its freedom and ease of use. You have the opportunity to enhance your career from your very own home (or office or library), often with the chance to interact. Webinars are so popular and successful that people have actually hosted webinars on how to host a webinar.
Because of the high price sometimes associated with these Internet presentations, you may have overlooked the possibility of using this resource. However, webinars are also available for little or no cost, especially for PRSSA members, and can serve as a valuable experience for you.
Follow these five tips to get the most out of each webinar experience.
1. Know the experts or presenters. Learn what you can about the people hosting the webinar. Are they truly experts? What other information can you learn from them? What do you need to know to understand the point of view they will present?
2. Research the topic. It may seem redundant to learn about something before you learn about something, but it’s not. Just do a little surface level Googling to grasp the most basic understanding of your topic. You’ll learn a lot more from the experts if you have enough background knowledge to comprehend their advice and participate in their question and answer sessions.
3. Take notes. Treat a webinar as you would a guest speaker in your favorite class: pay attention and take notes. Don’t waste this great opportunity to have an expert in your very own home (or office or library). Write down new information or your questions. There won’t be a test, but treat the experience as though there will be.
4. Engage in conversation. Webinars nearly always have an interactive component that allows people to ask questions or comment. If you have a question, ask it! Just like in the classroom, if there’s something you don’t understand, there are probably five others who don’t understand either. If you have valuable information, share that as well. Let others learn from your success just as you will learn from theirs.
5. Download the presentation. If you’re lucky enough to participate in a webinar that allows the PowerPoint, audio or visual to be downloaded for free, do it. You can use this as a way to review for your imaginary test (mentioned in Tip 3) or as a way to share your knowledge with others.
The following links are webinars that are offered to PRSSA students at a discounted rate of $35.
What else can you do to increase your learning from a webinar? Have you participated in a great webinar recently?
This is a guest post from Vice President of Professional Development Therese Kuster.