Whether you enjoy speaking in public or not, I bet you don’t like jumping on stage without preparing for a speech or keynote address.
Walking through slides, practicing in front of a mirror, or prescribing a script – whatever type of preparation you prefer, it’s key to calming your nerves and delivering an engaging, valuable presentation.
The same goes for a webinar. You and your panelists might be at home and behind a screen, but that doesn’t mean webinars are any less preparation important (or that they can be any less nerve-wracking).
To make your preparation easier and to calm your nerves, consider writing a webinar script.
Not only does this ensure that your webinar moderators and panelists stay up to date, but it also ensures that you are delivering a relevant, actionable webinar that won’t waste your audience’s time.
What is a webinar script?
A webinar script is a pre-written dialogue about what you want to share and teach during your webinar. Your webinar script should include at least an introduction, an agenda of what you and your panelists would like to discuss, the specific issues your panelists will cover, and a final call-to-action.
Webinar scripts can also include timing details (to ensure your guests don’t deviate from course or take time out for a different presenter), navigation instructions (e.g. when to share a screen, direct attendees to a specific website) or at what time certain panelists can join or leave) and avoid certain terms or discussion points.
Why write a webinar script?
Webinar scripts are valuable as they help keep your webinar valuable. Without proper planning, it is easy to lose your train of thought due to nervousness, excitement, or a question from the audience.
Scripting your webinar in advance can also help you set the goal of your webinar. Think:
- What should your audience learn?
- Who would you like to invite to speak to teach your audience?
- What action should your audience take during and after your webinar?
By answering these questions before your webinar (and before you write the script), you can customize your webinar script and tailor the speakers and content so that you can focus on those results. You can also share your webinar script with your speakers so they can get an idea of how the presentation will go.
Let’s say I was teaching a webinar on content marketing. There are so many topics and stories I could share – from freelance writing to strategy development to SEO and non-SEO driven content.
If I sat down to pre-write my webinar content, I would have to grapple with how extensive (and ambiguous) just “content marketing” is as a topic. To write the script, I would need to improve the purpose and aim of my webinar, which would then inspire my guest panel and subsequent CTA.
Webinar scripts keep your webinar focused, secure and target group oriented. Finally, webinar scripts can inspire a lot of your webinar marketing and save you a lot of the hassle of writing emails, social media copies, and promotional blog posts.
How to write a webinar script
In this section, we’re going to talk about what to consider when writing your script. I’ll also go into when you should definitely be using a script, and when a webinar script might be more restrictive than liberating.
First, open a blank Google Doc or pull out a new notebook. Write down why you would like to host a webinar, what key points or takeaways you want to introduce, and any other ideas you might have. A flow may begin to form – what points you open up with, how you can support your takeaways with panelists or research, and where there may be gaps that you can fill with further brainstorming. Think of this as the “outline” of your webinar script.
(I recommend doing this in a Google Doc versus the slide deck as a slide deck forces you to analyze and organize your ideas before you’re ready. This can interfere with the brainstorming process.)
Once you have a script overview, you can start working on the script. Yes, I mean, you literally write what you want to say and what points you want to cover – your webinar talk track. If you have panelists in your webinar, encourage them to do the same as their sections.
While you can’t script the Questions and Answers section, writing your webinar content ahead of time can also help you understand what you want to cover from start to finish. Therefore, when an audience asks a question on a topic that you know you or a guest speaker will cover later, instead of derailing the presentation, ask them to wait.
Now let’s unpack the important components of a webinar script.
1. Introduction to the webinar
The introduction to the webinar forms the basis (albeit digitally) for your entire presentation. The introductory script should include a brief introduction to yourself and your company, explain why you are ready to teach, and address the webinar agenda – including the speakers your audience can expect.
Make sure you thank your audience in the introduction as well. If you plan to motivate the audience through polls or the webinar chat feature, make a note of this for your attendees and briefly explain how they can attend if they so choose.
2. Webinar agenda
You may have touched on the webinar agenda in your introduction, but this section allows you to explain more about what your viewers will see and learn. You can break your webinar into sections (e.g. what, why, how, etc.) or, if you have guest speakers, outline what your speakers will be discussing.
Here you can also indicate how long each section and / or presentation will last and how much time there will be for questions at the end. As mentioned earlier, the goal of your webinar script is to keep your presentation updated and not to waste your audience’s time. A webinar agenda will do just that.
3. Aim and purpose of the webinar
Next, you’ll find a section that explains the “why” of your webinar. Perhaps you have a single, powerful sentence that will grab your audience’s attention. You can also provide a bulleted list of how your audience can benefit from the webinar.
Regardless of how you present your webinar goal or purpose, be sure to script supporting content that will be discussed during the section or slide. Don’t forget to mention what your audience can expect after the webinar as well, be it a CTA or a bonus for attending.
4. Webinar educational content
For your webinar, you may have panelists or present the webinar on your own
If the former is true for your webinar, ask your panelists to pre-script their sections and send them off for review. (You can also provide one of the templates recommended below or share your script as a sample.)
If the latter is true, this section is the core of your webinar script. It contains the valuable, educational information your audience is likely to sign up for. In the agenda area, develop the talk track for each section according to the organization of your presentation – right down to the transitions. If you want to incorporate images, engage your audience, or share your screen to demonstrate a concept, write these actions down in your script.
Don’t forget to include stories and examples in your webinar classes as this will help your audience relate your concepts and insights to real world scenarios. If you don’t want your anecdotes to feel too scripted or forced, perhaps write down where you tell this story (instead of writing it down word for word). This is an example of where a script can restrict you.
Tip: If you’ve written blog content on your webinar topic, you should include some of that content and tailor it to your lessons and key insights.
5. Webinar conclusion and questions and answers
Closing your webinar is crucial. It helps anchor your lessons for your audience and summarizes key insights. You can also script an engagement activity, such as: For example, take a quick concept quiz or a quick feedback session when your attendees can share something new they have learned.
This section serves as a TL; DR, so the script should also be short and to the point. After summarizing your presentation, open the word for questions.
6. Webinar Next Steps and Close
After you and / or your speakers have shared your webinar content and answered any questions, it’s time to finish. First, write your final comments – thank the audience and share important contact or follow-up information.
Then share the next steps. What do you want your audience to do now after attending your webinar? End the webinar presentation with a strong call to action and precise instructions on how your audience can follow suit.
Congratulations! You have just written a webinar script. Now I have a few final tips for you:
- Write your script as you speak, using conversational tone and everyday language. It is helpful to write the script in full sentences so that you don’t get lost in a sea of bullets or fragmented sentences.
- Literally, practice your script top down. Take the time to see if the script is too long. Ask your moderators to do the same with their scripts.
- Only after you’ve read your script a few times should you start designing your webinar slides. Don’t copy your script or paste it into your slides. Use the script to inspire key bullets and discussion points.
Above, I encouraged you to start with a blank document or notebook as a starting point for your webinar script. If you need help organizing your thoughts and ideas, use the following webinar script template as a starting point.
Webinar script template
This template serves as an example of a webinar script – not for copying and pasting its details. Even using this as a starting point, I recommend personalizing the content to suit your presentation, your speakers, and your audience.
Hello everybody! Welcome and thank you for registering for our webinar today. My name is [name] and I am the one [role] at the [company]. At the [company], we help [audience] like you [unique value proposition / product or service mention]. Today we will discuss [topic] and with [speaker], [speaker], and [speaker].
You can expect each speaker to have about 10 minutes to speak and we will have a short question and answer session at the end of each session. If you have any questions during the webinar, please post them in the chat window. We’ll answer them during the Q&A.
We hope that by the end of our day and age you will feel more comfortable and secure [topic]. We are very passionate [topic] and have lots of exciting stories and insights that you can share here today. It is our goal [goal].
We start with [speaker]who will talk about it [topic]. [speaker] is [details and bio for credibility].
[Insert speaker’s webinar script here when I receive it.]
Thank-you, [speaker]! Who has questions for you?
[I read questions from the chat window for the speaker to answer.]
These are all of our questions. [speaker]Would you like to address something before we move on to our next guest?
[All speakers present and take questions.]
That’s all we have here for you today. Thank you for joining [company] to discuss [topic]. We are happy that you signed up and hope that you have learned it [goal].
Before we unsubscribe, I’d like to tell you about it [main announcement or call-to-action]. If you are interested or want to know more, please feel free to contact me by email. I’ll see you next time!
How much you prepare for your webinar has a direct impact on its quality and benefit to your audience.
Writing a webinar script in advance will allow you to focus on your topic, let your guests know the purpose and flow of your webinar, and practice, practice, practice until you are comfortable with your presentation. Use this guide to start writing your next webinar script.