Start the interaction early in your webinar, and continue it throughout the session. People become more willing to interact as they practice doing it and gain confidence over time. This is especially true with Regularly Scheduled Series (RSS), in which the audience can be developed as the program progresses.

Base the types of interaction and the way you use them on your educational objectives. For example, here are a few guidelines for using chat to facilitate interaction:

The Chat Feature

• Make it possible for participants to chat with each other, see each other’s chats, and send comments to host and presenter. This may require changing participants’ privileges, according to your platform’s capabilities.

• Model the use of chat by sending quick messages of reinforcement or explanation accompanying the presentation. Comments such as, “Are any of you already trying this?” or “This is especially useful in cases of ___” can get the ball rolling.

• Encourage participants to post questions that everyone can see, and to respond to questions if they can.

Caveat: Because chat can be distracting, use it with discretion.