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Glossary

Webinar chat

A webinar chat is a discussion between webinar hosts and participants within the confines of the webinar room.

What is a webinar chat?

A chat is a discussion between online participants. Depending on the webinar software, chats can be found in a sidebar of the webinar or beneath special tabs. Most chats are public to all attendees in a webinar. This means that each person viewing the webinar can also interact in the chat.

Chats can be disabled for webinars if needed. This is useful for very large events that can become hectic with too many people chatting at once. When removing a chat, it is best to gather questions with a dedicated tool or built-in feature. On-demand webinars often have the chat removed so that audiences will not submit questions and comments to a room with no live presenters.

Why use chats in a webinar?

Webinar chats are designed to keep attendees interested and engaged. Chats provide an incentive for attendees to stay and continue watching the webinar. Chats also let viewers become a part of the presentation.

From a host’s perspective, chat tabs present a unique chance to have unscripted exchanges with webinar attendees. Interacting with a chat is an easy way to build relationships. Moderators can ask audiences questions like where they are from or what they do, and use the information to personalize future presentations.

Organizers can also use the chat tab to learn more about their viewers, their struggles, and what they need. The information from the chat can be used post-webinar to determine new strategies, or as topics for new kinds of content.

Organizers can also use the chat tab to learn more about their viewers, their struggles, and what they need. The information from the chat can be used post-webinar to determine new strategies, or as topics for new kinds of content.

Webinar chat best practices

Some webinar chat best practices are:

  • Direct viewers towards the chat
  • Use open-ended questions
  • Find a moderator

Hosts should always direct viewers towards the chat, to prompt them to engage. Starting with open-ended questions gives audiences a better chance to respond. Questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” won’t do much to stimulate discussion. They are better suited for quick polls that encourage audience interaction.

Team members can sit in on the webinars and act as moderators for the chat function. Since their focus will be solely on responding to the chat, they can dedicate time to crafting thoughtful responses. Both the presenter and the moderator should interact with the chat, the difference between the two roles is that the presenter can weave the chat dialogue into their presentation.

What to do about negative messages?

If attendees of the webinar are using the chat to complain about a product or service, it is a good practice to respond to relevant issues. Even in the middle of a webinar, simply acknowledging the issue and promising to resolve it can be enough. It can be an excellent time to hear the concerns and win over disgruntled customers.

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