How to Host a Successful Orthopedic Webinar (2023)

June 10, 2020

By Akib KhanA, Abhinav SinghB, Michael PearseC
AST4 Specialty Registrar, Department of Trauma and Orthopedics, London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust
BST4 Specialty Registrar, Department of Trauma and Orthopedics, London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust
CSpecialist in Surgery, Department of Trauma and Orthopedics, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Corresponding author email:[emailprotected]

Published on June 10, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of electronic meetings in group communication, reducing unnecessary face-to-face contact. While long-distance communication may seem awkward at first, videoconferencing is a learned behavior with a proven track record as a teaching tool among surgeons.1. After becoming comfortable with technology and embracing the advent of efficient telecommunications networks2, you have access to a powerful and convenient method of communicating with potentially large numbers of people. The now ubiquitous videoconferencing, used almost routinely for trauma, department, and audit meetings, allows anyone to speak directly to the group. A webinar is a form of video conferencing where communication is more controlled to allow a speaker to present in front of an audience3.

In this white paper, we discuss the basics of video conferencing and the mechanics of creating a successful webinar.

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There are several formats, including webinars with one or two presenters, panels and interviews. In all of these formats, there is a moderator whose role is critical in introducing the moderator(s) and moderating questions during Q&A. You must be familiar with the software and be able to troubleshoot technical issues. A mock webinar should be held a few days before the live event to reduce the risk of a technology faux pas. Attendees should be able to join the meeting five minutes before the event to ensure a quick start, and anyone joining the meeting should be muted upon entry to prevent random noise and ensure that all moderators turn off computer and phone notifications. A presentation slide highlighting the agenda can be left on screen until the event begins, helping the audience to focus when entering the meeting. Make sure all moderators close unnecessary applications to avoid distractions and conserve reasonable bandwidth4. The public will be able to see a shared screen, which is why it's so important to lock down any personal or confidential information that could be inadvertently displayed. Be sure to perform in an area that is inaccessible to children and pets.

video conference

A successful meeting is a discussion between audience members, and the greatest danger to active participation is turning the audience into an observer, which is the first step towards detachment.5.As long as everyone has a strong Internet connection, using video gives participants the feeling that they are all in the same meeting and helps personalize the conversation and drive engagement. Furthermore, creating an experience of shared responsibility by assigning tasks in which participants can actively participate counteracts a tendency to drift away. The meeting facilitator or chair should provide structure and facilitate the event6, driving the conversation and allowing participants to engage with the content as much as possible without talking about each other.

All software platforms have features that allow for audience participation. The poll feature allows for real-time group feedback on specific topics, and participants can also be encouraged to raise their hand or use the chat feature if they have something to say7.The facilitator can also “walk around the table” to gauge the group's opinion before completing an item. Formal introductions in a meeting should be minimized and conversations should be prioritized to increase the time people spend looking at each other. Consider using the whiteboard feature that harnesses the visual power of webinars.


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The goals of a successful webinar are to communicate, educate and connect with the audience.8, which can seem difficult given the lack of audio and visual cues from the audience. However, a speaker should remember that video is an inherent strength of the medium and audiences will be more engaged watching a real person speak rather than listening to a disembodied voice, and a successful webinar starts with a visual and audio aesthetic. carefully planned8.


Avoid performing with your back to a window, as the light can cause silhouettes and make you too dark to see anything. Make your background neutral and professional, like a bookshelf or a tasteful piece of art, or consider using a virtual background. Set your camera to give a direct view of your face (even if that means propping your laptop up on several books) and your entire head should be on screen. It's disconcerting to watch a speaker whose eyes are slanted to one side due to the placement of his camera or whose laptop lens reveals a view of his chin and the ceiling. Maintain eye contact with the camera to look the viewer in the eye9.If you need to study a slide or read a script, face the camera as you give the full stop to build momentum. Remember that eye contact is incredibly powerful and will do more than anything to get your conversation flowing.


Don't underestimate voice quality. Several controlled voices, such as those heard on the radio, can be captivating, but a single voice can be monotonous and turn the audience off. Voice quality and delivery can be improved through tempo, tempo, and intonation. The ideal pace for a webinar is around 150 words per minute, which is slower than a face-to-face conversation because listeners don't have the additional sensory information to watch for mouth movements and facial expressions. Try to sound confident and friendly, as if you're talking to a good friend on the phone about a topic you're passionate about. Consider using a headset microphone to improve audio quality and reduce the risk of feedback, whether from other people or your computer's speakers.


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You need to grab your audience's attention right away, as it only takes a few clicks to leave a webinar. Tell them exactly what they're going to learn, highlight the problems you're going to solve, and make it all sound exciting. Try not to cover too much and keep the scope of your presentation to a length that can be brought to life with examples. The best conversations have a narrative structure that loosely follows a detective story. Consider starting by presenting a problem and then describing the search for a solution. Remember that the moderator's role is to set the tone for the session. It is important to know the biographies of each speaker with clear introductions. The presenter should also come up with a list of questions about each topic, in case the audience isn't as engaged as you'd like.


Participants are aloof and surrounded by many enticing distractions, and when an ongoing expectation of meaningful participation is not maintained, they withdraw into a role of distracted observer. Clinical case presentations are perfect vehicles for engaging the audience by asking research questions, and the speaker can shape the narrative around the patient's medical history. A quick look at the audience poll response is followed by the response that helps keep the audience engaged. Try to provide meaningful engagement opportunities for the group every 5-7 minutes.


Keep slides of text and data to a minimum, especially bulleted lists or long paragraphs, and never read only what viewers can see for themselves. Think more pictures, less words. Making eye contact at a key point in the presentation is often more effective than adding another slide of text. Also consider using videos or animations that are less than 60 seconds or you risk losing people and avoiding audio tracks which can be very disconcerting. Remember to increase the size of your slide text and visuals to ensure visibility on smaller mobile device views, and try to seamlessly switch between slides and video.


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Practice is essential and it is recommended to rehearse under similar conditions, inviting a few people to watch from afar, rather than practicing alone in front of a mirror. Alternatively, you could record the presentation and ask a respected friend for their opinion on the audio, video quality, and slides. Focus on adding tone and personality to your words, which ensures a confident and personal presentation. A short script or bullet points on note cards are very helpful in keeping you on track and trying to memorize the transitions from one slide or feature to the next, promoting a smooth presentation.

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Feedback is important to improve the session. Submitting an email feedback survey after the event will help improve future sessions and can be used to unlock CPD certificates10.

Important points for moderators

Important points for presenters

Decide on the webinar format

Choose a suitable environment for you to make the presentation

Get familiar with the platform

Make sure that all distractions (both in your environment and on your computer) are minimized.

Organize a training session with moderators several days before the event

Use as much visual content as possible with large videos, images and text

Give the webinar an inviting tone and clearly introduce the speakers and their bios

Practice tonality and voice delivery, and speak directly into the camera as much as possible.

Prepare a list of questions for the Q&A session

Engage your audience with predefined questions


  1. AugestadK, LindsetmoR. Overcoming distance: videoconferencing as a clinical and educational tool among surgeons.Welt-J-Surgery.2009;33(7):1356-65.
  2. JellA, VogelT, OstlerD, MarahrensN, WilhelmD, Samm N, et al. 5th generation mobile communication: data road for surgery 4.0.Surgical Technology Int.2019;35:36-42.
  3. SleiwahA, MughalM, Hachach-HaramN,RoblinP.COVID-19 Learning in lockdown: the rise of virtual education.J Plast Reconstr Ästhet Surg.May 23, 2020 [Epub before print].
  4. Fernández C, Saldana J, Fernández-Navajas J, Sequeira L, Casadesus L. Internet videoconferencing: how to survive in a hostile environment.


  5. OeppenR, ShawG, BrennanP. Detecting human factors in virtual meetings and video conferences: how to get the best performance from yourself and others.Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg.May 11, 2020 [Epub before print].
  6. Saint-André S, Neira Zalentein W, Robin D, Lazartigues A. Telepsychiatry at the service of autism.The brain.2011;37(1):18-24.
  7. SarvaryM, GiffordK. The benefits of a web-based real-time response system to enhance engaged learning in classrooms and public science events.J Undergrad Neurosci Educ.2017;15(2):E13-E16.
  8. Manallack D, Yuriev E. Ten Simple Rules for MOOC Development.PLoS Computer Biol.2016;12(10):e1005061.
  9. Jones R, Abdelfattah K.Virtual Interviews in the Era of COVID-19: A Primer for Applicants.J Chirurg Educ.April 8, 2020 [Epub before print].
  10. Carvalho-Silva D, Garcia L, Morgan S, Brooksbank C, Dunham I. Ten simple rules for delivering live distance bioinformatics training around the world using webinars.PLoS Computer Biol.2018;14(11):e1006419.

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