Tips for Attending Webinars

A few folks have mentioned they had issues attending GoToWebinar, Zoom, Skype, or WebEx meetings.  There are multitudes of reasons why someone may have an individual technical issue, but here are some general tips.

Because of COVID-19, many of you are watching these from home and a LOT of your neighbors are also working from home this month.  If you have cable internet, the more users in your area, the less bandwidth for you.  On days when I am broadcasting a webinar, I go to my office where we have dedicated internet service to avoid that issue.  On days where I am attending web training (but not teaching), I have worked from home with minimal issues, but I do have some recommendations for you.

  1. Assume the issue is on your end.  It is probably not the presenter and it is probably not the tool (Zoom, GoToWebinar, etc.).  It is most likely your computer, your internet connection, or you.  LOL
  2. Test your device in advance using these links:
  3. Ban your kids from online gaming (Xbox, PlayStation, etc) while you are on the web meeting.  Same with Netflix or other internet based movie or video services.  These are bandwidth intensive.
  4. Login 5-10 minutes early so if you have an issue you have some time to deal with it.  Also, some hosts have been exceeding the attendee limit of the service they use, so logging in early insures you have a seat.
  5. When you connect, if you are given the option of watching from a web browser or installing a viewer/launcher on your computer, choose the later.  Install the software now if you have not done so in the past.  Here are the links:
  6. Figure out the audio.  Each of the web tools has different ways to connect audio with mic/speakers or dial-up phone.  If you cannot hear (or cannot speak) you may need to select an audio connection method in that specific tool once you are logged in.  Also don’t forget that your computer speakers themselves could also be muted.  Another reason to join the meeting 5 minutes early.
  7. If you are the one speaking or presenting, invest in an external microphone or headset.  The ones built-in to laptops are not that great.  They work fine to ask a question or two as an attendee, but if you are talking for 30 minutes or more, it may be rough for the others to understand you with a sub-par mic.
  8. If you are having an issue connecting to the meeting to begin with, try these options:
    • Make sure your browser is not blocking any pop-ups.  And if there is a pop-up to launch the meeting make sure you click on it.
    • Reboot the computer (this fixes half the issues in my life)
    • Reboot your router (this fixes the other half of the issues LOL)
    • Try to connecting using an alternate browser.  I use Chrome as my primary web browser and have had no issues with any of the web meeting services.  But whenever any other web based tool in my life has an issue, I always try another browser (Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.).
    • Try using an alternate device.  See if you can connect from a different computer or tablet.
    • Try using an alternate Internet connection such as a phone hot spot (even if just for 2 minutes as a test so you can eliminate some variables in your troubleshooting).
  9. Download the mobile apps for each of these tools so you have them as a plan B.  It is obviously harder to watch on a smaller screen, but at least you can still participate.  GoToWebinar, GoToMeeting, Zoom, Skype, and WebEx all have mobile apps.

There are other services that you may be invited to use for a virtual meeting, so you will need to do something similar.  TEC has video conferencing through 8×8 so you may be using that.  I had one company send me a Microsoft Teams link to a conference.  I have attended a couple on Join.Me, which is the same parent company as GoToMeeting but uses different technology.  In those cases, try to login 15 minutes early and see if it gives any options to run a test or to download a software applet.

Upcoming and recorded webinars can be found at www.tecmungo.com/training

Cartoon credit: openjaw.com

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