What is a Webinar?
Are there seminars and conferences on topics important to your work that you’d like to attend but simply can’t due to time, travel or money constraints? Then it’s time to try a webinar. You can attend these live, online seminars from your desk, a conference room or even your home office.

Webinars are available on just about every topic and they are hosted by many organizations, including nonprofit groups, well-known corporations and educational institutions.

Why Attend a Webinar?
Many webinars are inexpensive or even free.
You don’t have to travel to attend a webinar – you can meet from your desk.
Many webinars are interactive so you can ask questions, give feedback and participate in audience polls.
Most webinars are live events, but many are saved so people who can’t attend at the scheduled time can access them later.
Webinars don’t require any special equipment – usually just a phone and Internet connection.

Choosing a Worthwhile Webinar
No one has time to waste on poorly organized or irrelevant seminars, whether they are virtual or not, so choose your webinars carefully. Look for events offered by companies that are market leaders or you know and trust. Ask colleagues or friends about their experiences with webinars and have them recommend webinar hosts or topics suitable for your work.

In addition, check out trade shows relevant to your market – they often host webinars. You can also find webinar announcements in newsletters or on the company and publication Web sites you use often.

Remember that a free webinar doesn’t necessarily mean a low-quality event. Costs associated with these events are low for hosts, and organizations frequently use them as tools for building brand awareness.

Be Prepared
Once you’ve decided to attend a webinar, make sure you have everything you need to participate before the event begins:
If you’ll be attending from the office, check with your system administrator to make sure a firewall won’t block you from connecting to the event.
Download all necessary files. Many webinars require you to have a viewer or client to participate. You’ll usually be prompted to download the required files when you register, but if you aren’t, it’s best to double-check before the webinar starts.
If you’ll be taking part in a webinar from your desk, book the time in your calendar to avoid being interrupted.
Determine whether audio will be delivered through a phone line or as voice-over-IP (in which your voice is carried over an Internet connection). Be sure you have the phone number for the audio bridge or make sure you have speakers and headphones so you can listen over IP.
If you plan to and are able to give verbal feedback using voice-over-IP, check your computer for microphone capabilities.

Webinars are an inexpensive and time-saving way to stay on top of what’s happening in your industry, so try one out. You might discover that it’s just like being there, if not better.

1. Dudley C. Stone www.getmoredone.com/quotes

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