How to Host a Successful Webinar: The Complete Guide

Published on February 20, 2023 • Updated on April 5, 2024 • About 15 min. read

Drive webinar registrations with this webinar promotion Ebook.

How to Host a Successful Webinar: The Complete Guide for 2023

You're getting ready to host a webinar and you want to get it right. But what to do if you have connectivity issues? Or your audience gets bored in the first 10 minutes? No worries, we've got you covered.

Being a webinar host sounds like a big responsibility, and while you shouldn’t take it lightly, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. You can get a moderator, an assistant, and a speaker to help out.

In this article, we’ll explain which responsibilities fall on your plate and how to plan everything from idea generation to the wrap-up. You’ll also find a few tips from Pauline Mura, Partnership Marketing Manager at Livestorm, and insights from our user’s webinar statistics.


Everything you need to promote your webinars and increase attendance.

What is a webinar host?

A webinar host is the person in charge of running a webinar. As a host, you’re generally responsible for starting the event, introducing any speakers, and leading a live Q&A at the end.

A host can sometimes be referred to as the “master of ceremony” or “MC”. That’s because they’re responsible for guiding the audience through the webinar experience, but aren’t necessarily same person as the keynote speaker.

A virtual stand-up meeting using Livestorm’s video conferencing software

What’s the role of a webinar host?

The role of a webinar host is to ensure the guest speakers and audience are looked after throughout the event and that everything runs smoothly. Sometimes, the host has a few backstage responsibilities too, like putting together a presentation or showing speakers how to use the webinar platform. As a host, you need to:

  • Represent the brand
  • Welcome the audience
  • Point out useful features
  • Introduce speakers
  • Guide the discussion

Represent the brand

The webinar host is usually an unofficial brand ambassador. You’re responsible for ensuring all the content follows your brand guidelines and meets the objectives of the webinar. As a master of ceremony, you also need to embody the company’s values and brand voice.

Welcome the audience

The host is not necessarily the person that will lead the webinar from start to finish; rather, the one who will manage the flow of the event. This person usually welcomes everyone to the virtual room and explains the rules and online event agenda.

Point out useful features

During the welcome segment, the host is responsible for pointing out some of the engagement functions of the webinar software. You can explain how to:

  • Use the Q&A tab
  • Vote on polls
  • Interact on a virtual whiteboard
  • Request to go on stage
  • React using emojis

Analyze your data

Analyze all of your data with Livestorm's powerful reporting features.

Sign up for free

Introduce speakers

Another crucial role of the host is to invite the speakers onstage and introduce them one by one. Make sure you ask the speakers for a short bio and adjust it for the webinar presentation.

Guide the discussion

As a host, you also need to brush up on the subject matter. That way, you can help smooth the conversation flow or continue the presentation if the speakers have trouble with their internet connection.


Everything you need to promote your webinars and increase attendance.

How to conduct a successful webinar

To host a memorable webinar, you need to follow a series of steps before, during, and after the session. While online events are all different, you can turn this list into a step-by-step project plan or Gantt chart template and use it for future webinars. Focus on these areas to host a successful webinar:

  • Planning the session
  • Structuring the presentation
  • Starting the event
  • Engaging the audience
  • Ending the call

If you want to see a summarized version of the steps, check out this video from our Content Manager, Daniella.

How to plan a webinar

When planning a webinar, there are two main things to consider: the audience and your virtual event platform. All the steps listed will revolve around these two areas. Here’s how to plan a webinar:

  1. Choose a topic
  2. Get to know your platform
  3. Pick a format
  4. Assign roles
  5. Set a date and time
  6. Build a registration page
  7. Come up with a promotion plan

1. Choose a webinar topic

The first step is to pick a topic. Use tools like Answer The Public or Also Asked to see what your audience is searching for online. Make sure you decide on a topic that relates to your brand and where you have some level of expertise.

2. Get to know your webinar platform

Next, get familiar with your company's webinar platform. Experiment with it, set up a call with yourself or teammates, and test the features. Some people recommend doing this later in the process, but we suggest you do this early on so you can plan engagement activities around what the tool offers and what you can do with it.

If you’re using Livestorm, you can get familiar with the platform by hosting regular team meetings and using engagement functionalities like:

  • Q&A tab
  • CTA buttons
  • Breakout rooms
  • Polls
Employee profile pictures grouped into four breakout room cards with a button that says “join room” on each card

3. Pick a webinar format

After you’ve discovered everything you can do with your webinar platform, define the format. You can choose from:

  • Panel discussions. This means inviting 3-5 people onstage to discuss a set of predetermined questions on a topic.
  • Ask me anything or Q&As. This format usually involves the host answering audience inquiries. With Livestorm, you can easily invite people on stage and allow them to unmute themselves and ask questions.
  • Regular presentations. This is when you invite an expert speaker to run a presentation on a topic using a slide deck.
  • Interviews or press conferences. This format is a bit less common for webinars, but you can invite a popular speaker and allow the audience to ask questions. It’s different from a Q&A session because you get to use the content for public sharing, such as a written press release.
  • On-demand webinars. This is just like a regular webinar except you don’t need to be physically present. Use an on-demand webinar platform like Livestorm to pre-record your webinar and set up automations to host the event without any live intervention. Or, simply upload it to your website as gated content to generate leads whenever it gets downloaded.

4. Assign roles

Choose your webinar A-team and assign them responsibilities, such as:

  • Speaker or trainer to deliver educational content
  • Moderator to manage the backstage, encourage conversation in the chat tab, filter questions, and monitor audio and video quality
  • Assistant to help the moderator and cover for them in case of emergencies
  • Host or organizer to plan and lead the webinar from start to finish and ensure both the speakers and audience are looked after

"It's handy to have the moderator chat feature, especially when you have a lot of speakers. That way you can ping them and ask 'can we speed it up?' or whatever” said Pauline Mura, Partnership Marketing Manager at Livestorm. “You can send notes that are only in the moderator chat and not public to the webinar attendees."

5. Set a date and time

It’s not an event until you’ve set a date and time! Coordinate with your team to find a slot that works best for all of you.

Our webinar statistics show that the best days to host events are Wednesdays and Thursdays. That said, every audience is different so you could run a quick, informal survey to see when yours are most likely to join.

Pro tip: You can use software like Typeform to create surveys and find your target audience’s primary time zone. Post on social media to reach them or, depending on your survey software, pay to get answers from your target audience.

6. Build a registration page

Before promoting a webinar, you need a landing page to collect attendee registration. If you’re using Livestorm, you get access to an automatically generated webinar registration page as soon as you schedule your meeting. You can customize the colors and fonts to match your branding, add custom fields to the form, and set a registration limit.

Registration pages

Customize registration pages

Create and customize registration pages that are optimized for conversion

Sign up for free

7. Come up with a promotion plan

Your webinar needs an audience and it’s your job to:

  • Come up with a catchy webinar title
  • Capture the attention of potential attendees
  • Explore topics that interest your target audience
  • Invite them to register
  • Keep them engaged with your brand before, during, and after the event

To achieve this, you have to create a marketing plan to promote your webinar. Include the type of content, timeline, and media outlets. A common strategy is to use a combination of organic social media and paid ads for a month for better reach and conversions.

Pro tip: According to our stats on webinar marketing, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best days to send out invitations to your event.

How to structure a webinar presentation

It’s among webinar best practices to create a structured and attention-grabbing presentation. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Create an outline
  2. Define your agenda
  3. Include visuals
  4. Plan for engagement

1. Create an outline

Avoid being 40 slides in and not even close to finishing on time by creating a skeleton of your presentation first. This will help determine the length of your presentation and keep your thoughts organized. It also shows you where you can plan engaging activities for your talk.

If you’re using Livestorm, create your presentation directly on Visme, and include a short description on each slide. Then, use the app integration to share your presentation, skip, and click on your slides directly from the webinar tab.

Slide deck being edited in Visme, a PowerPoint alternative.

2. Define your agenda

Creating an outline will practically write the agenda for you: make a list of the content on each slide and add it to the beginning of the presentation. A good agenda will help you keep to time, especially if your webinar moderator is given an estimate per item.

"The biggest challenge for keeping an audience engaged is keeping track of time and making sure that the speakers don't go over,” explained Pauline. “Sometimes they get off track. So, it's about making that choice: do I refocus the conversation or do I cut some of these questions?"

If you’re using Livestorm or Zoom, you chat with your moderator through a private in-app tab that the public can’t see. That way, if you’re running out of time or decide to skip questions to move the webinar along, you can communicate with each other easily.

3. Include visuals

Avoid creating a slide deck that’s filled with long blocks of text. Remember, you’re not creating an e-book, you’re designing visual aid to make your webinar more engaging. Add pictures, videos, and gifs to make it more dynamic and eye-catching.

Pro tip: Use contrasting colors (opposites in the chromatic circle) or a lighter shade to make some sentences stand out.

Contrasting example using the chromatic circle as reference

4. Plan for engagement

Sometimes you book a speaker who looks good on paper but ends up delivering a boring talk anyway. Before the webinar, chat about their presentation and make sure they know how to make the most of the platform's engagement features. Suggest they plan ahead for interactive elements, like using Miro’s digital whiteboard to take suggestions from the audience or sharing additional resources as they go using the Livestorm Handouts plugin.

How to start a webinar

Welcoming your audience is also about setting them up for success. Kick off the call by explaining the ground rules and the meeting agenda. Do it in this order:

  1. Welcome your audience
  2. Set ground rules
  3. Share agenda points
  4. Introduce speakers

1. Welcome your audience

Start the webinar with your camera on, but don’t share your screen yet. When it’s time to start the presentation, unmute yourself, and welcome everyone for joining. If you’re waiting for more people to join, announce that you’ll wait for 3 minutes before you begin, but don’t stay silent – e.g. ask people where they’re joining from.

2. Set ground rules

Say hello to the ones who joined a bit late and explain basic ground rules:

  • Is this a camera on or off type of session?
  • When and how to ask questions
  • How long will it last?
  • Do they need to take notes or are you sharing the information?
  • Remind everyone to be kind and respectful

Open the floor for questions before moving on to the next slide.

3. Share agenda points

Give your audience an overview of what to expect from the session, including details of any comfort breaks. You can also take this opportunity to point out features like the Q&A tab, emoji reactions, and the “raise a hand” feature to help them navigate the webinar platform.

4. Introduce other speakers

Introduce the guest speaker(s) and invite them on stage. Make sure you pronounce their names properly and give an accurate professional description. Explain your role and cede the floor.

How to keep your audience engaged during a webinar

Engaging a virtual audience during live webinars might sound like a tough gig, but it’s definitely possible. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Conduct live polls
  2. Open with an icebreaker
  3. Play a game throughout the webinar
  4. Run Q&A sessions

1. Conduct live polls

Keeping your audience engaged can be as simple as asking questions to include them in the conversation. Use the polls feature – almost all the best webinar platforms have one – to ask questions with multiple-choice answers.

For example, you can use polls to introduce surprising facts and gauge your audience's pre-existing knowledge of the topic. Or just bring one in to break the ice by asking questions like "How energized are you feeling today?" (more on that below).

2. Open with an icebreaker

Depending on the type of webinar, you can play an icebreaker with the speakers or the audience. “You can use an icebreaker that’s completely linked to the topic so you can ask the panelists,” explains Pauline. “For other webinars, I’d host the icebreaker with the audience. I can ask where they are tuned in from or if there is anything specific they want to hear.”

You can find hundreds of icebreaker ideas online. Pick one that’ll take no longer than 3 minutes and invite your audience to participate. Try this: share a meme of a TV character making different faces using a digital whiteboard. Ask attendees to add a post-it on top of the picture they feel is the most relatable.

A virtual whiteboard for collaboration showing a Michael Scott meme in a Livestorm webinar

3. Play a game throughout the webinar

Explain the game at the beginning of the webinar and play it throughout the presentation. For example, you can hide an emoji in specific slides and get attendees to use Livestorm’s emoji reactions to notify you when they find it. Inviting your audience to play a game with you builds a sense of camaraderie. Plus, it encourages them to pay more attention as they might lose the game if they get distracted.

4. Run Q&A sessions

If you’re hosting any kind of event with a large audience, let them ask questions. Invite them to

  • Unmute themselves and ask questions directly at any time
  • Virtually raise their hands or react with an emoji to notify they have a question
  • Add questions to the Q&A tab
  • Ask their questions at the end of the webinar

Pro tip: With Livestorm’s Q&A tab, attendees can ask questions at any time and the rest of the audience can upvote their favorites. Get your moderator to manage the questions list and message the speaker privately whenever it’s time to answer them.


Host better webinars with an end-to-end platform

Meet the first webinar software that enables you to record webinars effortlessly.

How to end a webinar

Time to wrap up! End your webinar on a positive note and use the analytics to improve future sessions. Follow these steps to close your session:

  1. Share key learnings
  2. Add a CTA button
  3. Send an automatic recording of the session

1. Share key learnings

Thank everyone for joining. Create a closing slide with a summary of everything they learned that day. Depending on your webinar format, you can ask the audience to share their takeaways or “aha!” moments with the room as a nice way to wrap up the meeting.

2. Add a call-to-action (CTA) button

End your presentation with a clear and engaging CTA. The link can redirect them to

  • The registration form for a future session
  • A web page where they can buy a product or download an e-book
  • A Calendly link to set up a demo call with your sales team
  • A feedback form for them to rate the session
  • The speaker’s and company’s social media handles

Pro tip: If you’re using Livestorm, use the CTA feature to include a clickable link on your screen. If you’re using a different platform, but use Chrome as your browser, you can generate a free QR code to link to a specific page. Simply click on the share icon on the URL bar, click “create QR code”, and download the picture to add it to your presentation.

3. Send an automatic recording of the webinar

When you host webinars, you want to present interesting information to as many prospects as possible. It’s common for people to sign up for online events and not show up. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in your content or product - they just couldn’t join.

At Livestorm, we’ve discovered that our platform's average attendance rate to events is 58% (that’s higher than other tools). We’ve also discovered that 31% of no-shows (people who registered but didn’t attend) watch the webinar recording. So, you should always record your webinar and share the replay to capture potential customers’ attention even when they couldn’t join live. If you’re using Livestorm as your automated webinar tool, we’ll send the email with the replay link as soon as the session ends for you.

Livestorm on demand, automated webinar with a single speaker on stage

4. Review the webinar analytics

In life and in webinars, you can only improve if you know what you did wrong. So, go to the people’s dashboard (on Livestorm) and review your engagement metrics. If you’re hosting webinars for lead generation purposes, download the contacts record report. There, you’ll find your attendee’s contact information that you can include in your email list and nurture the high-quality leads.

Hosting a webinar: It’s all about preparation

Webinar hosts are responsible for running successful brand awareness, educational, and lead generation virtual sessions. And jumping in to save the day in case anything goes sideways. Your role as a webinar host includes:

  • Designing the webinar content
  • Welcoming attendees
  • Supporting your speakers
  • Making it engaging
  • Wrapping it up

Apart from making everything go smoothly, you should anticipate issues and come up with a contingency plan. This means, having a relevant video at hand or a backup practice exercise.

As the host, you need to be an expert in the platform and be able to do any of the planned actions without any hassle. If you’re on the Livestorm Enterprise plan, you can ask us to shadow your next webinar (or a dry run) and give you technical support and pointers.

Key takeaways before hosting your webinar

There are several steps to follow to guarantee your webinar is interesting, engaging, and designed to get participants to complete the call to action. Here are the key takeaways.

  • To plan a webinar you need to carefully research your target audience as you choose the topic and invite guest speakers. Set yourself goals and success measures to evaluate your webinar later.
  • To make your webinar presentation you should choose a presentation tool that integrates with your webinar platform. Keep your slides simple and visual.
  • To create a webinar be sure to brief your speakers and moderator and test all your software and hardware ahead of time. Remember to segment your mailing list and leverage online communities to promote the event.
  • To host a webinar try to be the first one there and be ready to use interactive elements like live polls, CTA buttons, and the Q&A feature.

Still choosing your webinar platform? Try Livestorm’s free webinar software as a trial. Once you’ve got to know us, you can upgrade your plan to host longer webinars and allow for more on-demand replays. With Livestorm, you can use the same platform to create custom registration pages, host dynamic webinars, create on-demand content, and analyze your event metrics all in one place.

Frequently asked questions about how to host a webinar

What are the benefits of hosting a webinar?

The benefits of hosting a webinar include:

  • Boosting brand perception and awareness
  • Generating new or nurturing qualified leads
  • Educating others on a specific topic
  • Increasing engagement
  • Reaching a global audience

What’s needed to host a webinar?

To host a webinar you need to:

  1. Choose a webinar platform like Livestorm that lets you host live, hybrid, and on-demand webinars
  2. Pick a topic and develop the content
  3. Invite an expert to speak at your event
  4. Set a date and time
  5. Invite attendees
  6. Host the webinar

What’s the best webinar software?

The best webinar software is Livestorm. With Livestorm, you can host automated or live webinars and create recurring events. Plus, you can host up to 3,000 attendees and invite up to 16 people to speak on stage at the same time. Livestorm also comes with a packed set of engagement tools that will help you keep your audience attentive before, during, and after your webinar.

What do you say as a host in a webinar?

As the webinar host, you should welcome your audience and your speakers. You can also invite attendees to interact with you or the presenter and ask questions, invite the speaker to stage or present the topic, and ask for feedback.

How can I host a webinar for free?

To host a webinar for free, you need to use the free version of a webinar platform like Livestorm. Livestorm’s free plan is a great place to start because it will always be free - not just for a trial period.

Bear in mind that most free trials come with limitations on your event duration or attendees. If you need to host hour-long sessions for free, you can try Google Meet but, unlike with Livestorm, you’ll need to create a registration page and automate email reminders on a different platform.