My Embarrassing Webinar Fail

At the end of a year where most of us have moved online (and lucky if we were even able to do that), I thought I’d go more light-hearted today and tell you about my first webinar attempt and how it went wrong.

Hopefully you haven’t experienced a bad event as the event organiser yourself – but I’m sure we’ve all seen enough awkward online moments to be able to relate!

My embarrassing webinar fail:

When I ran my first webinar years ago – probably 2013 – on a software platform which used Google Hangouts for delivery, I sensibly decided to do a test run first.

I got my partner to be the audience guinea-pig…and things didn’t go particularly smoothly. There was a one to two minute lag before I could see chat comments, and nothing worked as I wanted it to.

Woman's hands clasped in front of laptop with bottle of white wine and glass
Embarrassing webinar fail – photo credit: Andrew Baker

I did plenty of expressing my opinions about that, including some swearing. Plus the regular banter and private peripheral conversations that couples have. Chats at home that you wouldn’t be publishing externally – put it that way. You can probably imagine.

The next morning I realised that the Hangouts settings had automatically published my test to my YouTube channel. 

Not only that but five people had viewed the test in its entirety (or perhaps left it running in the background as amusement while they did something else). I’m sure they laughed, as well as gaining far too much insight into my private world.

Now I know that’s not a lot of people. But trust me, after the performance I put on, one person was definitely one person too many!

When I realised, I did cry I have to admit. I was SO embarrassed.

And then that day I had to regroup and run the webinar in a smiling and calm way – desperately hoping that no one on it had heard the previous day’s fiasco.

What did I learn from this? Check your settings! And even then, if you’re still not sure, get someone else to cast an eye over what you’re doing. I was totally green and new to webinars, and nervous. This wasn’t a promising start. 

Rehearsing is really important – especially with new technology. And my intentions were good.

Just a shame my settings weren’t!

There you have it: my embarrassing webinar fail tale of woe. Hopefully it’s made you smile!

You might also enjoy this post with FAQ about practising your speech or presentation.

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