Short for web-based seminar, a webinar is a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the web using video conferencing software. A key feature of a webinar is its interactive elements and the ability for a presenter to give, receive and discuss information in real time.
Using webinar software, participants can share audio, documents and applications with webinar attendees. This is useful when the webinar host is conducting a lecture or information session. While the presenter is speaking they can share desktop applications and documents. Today, many webinar services offer live streaming options or the ability to record your webinar and publish to YouTube and other video services later.
Common Webinar Software features
There are many free, ad-supported and subscription/paid webinar software and services to choose from, some of the more common and useful webinar software features include the following:
- Support for multiple presenters
- Video file sharing
- Live chat for attendees
- Screen share
- Prerecord video (or voice) options
- Conference options for viewers to listen in live
- Chat filters to connect attendees and presenters with social accounts
- Other attendee incentives such as live Q&A tools, polls and feedback forms
- Live capture to save presentation or streaming capabilities
- Calendar scheduling and invites
Image: Example Webinar software screenshot, Courtesy AnyMeeting.
Note that a webinar is not the same as a webcast. Webinar data transmission is one way and does not allow interaction between the presenter and the audience. Usually, webinar software and online services do not offer any functions or options for video conferencing or meetings.
The term webinar may also be written as Webinar.