Whether or not you enjoy public speaking, I’d bet you don’t like hopping on stage without preparing for a speech or keynote address.
Running through slides, practicing in front of a mirror, or pre-writing a script — whatever type of preparation you prefer, it’s key to calming nerves and delivering an engaging, valuable presentation.
The same goes for a webinar. You and your panelists may be at home and behind a screen, but that doesn’t mean webinars are any less important to prepare for (or that they can be any less nerve-wracking).
To help your preparation and quell your nerves, consider writing a webinar script.
Not only will this guarantee your webinar presenters and panelists stay on topic, but it will also ensure you deliver a relevant, actionable webinar that doesn’t waste your audience's time.
What is a webinar script?
A webinar script is a pre-written dialogue of what you plan to share and teach during your webinar. At a minimum, your webinar script should include an introduction, an agenda of what you and your panelists plan to discuss, the specific points that your panelists will cover, and a closing call-to-action.
Webinar scripts can also include timing details (to ensure your guests don’t veer off course or take time from another presenter), navigational instructions (such as when to share a screen, direct attendees to a certain website, or at what point certain panelists may join or drop off), and certain terms or discussion points to avoid.
Why write a webinar script?
Webinar scripts are valuable because they help keep your webinar valuable. Without proper planning, it’s easy to lose your train of thought due to nervousness, excitement, or perhaps an audience question.
Writing a script for your webinar ahead of time also allows you to decide on the goal of your webinar. Think:
What do you want your audience to learn?
Who do you want to invite to speak that would help teach your audience?
What actions do you want your audience to take during and after your webinar?
By answering these questions before your webinar (and before you write the script), you can tailor your webinar script and angle its speakers and content to stay focused on these deliverables. You can also share your webinar script with your speakers so they have an idea of the presentation flow.
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 building a strategy to SEO- vs. non-SEO-driven content.
If I sat down to write my webinar content ahead of time, I’d be forced to face how vast (and ambiguous) just “content marketing” is as a topic. Writing the script would require me to hone the purpose and goal of my webinar, which would then inspire my guest panel and subsequent CTA.
Webinar scripts keep your webinar focused, confident, and audience-centric. Finally, webinar scripts can inspire much of your webinar marketing, saving you significant work for writing up emails, social media copy, and promotional blog posts.
How to Write a Webinar Script
In this section, we’ll talk about what to consider when writing your script. I’ll also touch on when you should certainly use a script, and when a webinar script may be more limiting than liberating.
First, open a blank Google Doc or pull out a fresh notebook. Jot down why you want to run a webinar, what some main points or takeaways you want to feature, and any other ideas you may have. You may see a flow begin to form — what points you’ll open with, how to support your takeaways with panelists or research, and where they may be some gaps you can fill with further brainstorming. Consider this your webinar script “outline.”
(I encourage you to do this in a Google Doc versus slide deck as a slide deck will force you to parse up and order your ideas before you’re ready, which can interfere with the brainstorming process.)
Once you have a script outline, you’re ready to start fleshing out the script. Yes, I mean writing verbatim what you plan to say and what points you want to cover—your webinar talk track. If you’ll have panelists on your webinar, encourage them to do the same as it pertains to their sections.
While you can’t script the Q&A section, writing your webinar content ahead of time also allows you to understand what you plan to cover from start to finish. Therefore, if an audience member asks a question about a topic you know you or a guest speaker will be covering later on, you can ask them to wait versus derailing the presentation.
Now, let’s unpack the important components of a webinar script.
1. Webinar Introduction
The webinar introduction sets the stage (albeit digital) for your whole presentation. The introduction script should include a brief introduction of yourself and your business, explain why you’re equipped to teach, and touch on the webinar agenda — including what speakers your audience can expect to see.
Be sure you thank your audience in the introduction, too. If you plan to ask for audience engagement through polls or the webinar chat feature, make note of that for your attendees and briefly explain how they can participate if they so choose.
2. Webinar Agenda
You might’ve touched on the webinar agenda in your introduction, but this section is your chance to explain more of what your audience members will see and learn. You can break up your webinar into sections (e.g., What, Why, How, etc.) or, if you have guest speakers, outline what your speakers will be discussing.
This is also where you can mention how long each section and/or presentation will take, as well as how much time will be left at the end for questions. As I mentioned before, the goal of your webinar script is to keep your presentation on track and avoid wasting your audience’s time — a webinar agenda will do just that.
3. Webinar Goal and Purpose
Next, feature a section that discusses the “why” of your webinar. Perhaps you have a single, punchy sentence that will grab the attention of your audience. Or, you may choose to feature a bulleted list of ways your audience will benefit from the webinar.
However you choose to present your webinar goal or purpose, be sure to script supporting content to discuss during the section or slide. Don’t forget to mention what your audience can expect after the webinar, too, be it a CTA or bonus for attending.
4. Webinar Educational Content
For your webinar, you may be bringing in panelists, or you may be presenting the webinar alone
If the former applies to your webinar, ask your panelists to script their sections ahead of time and send them over for your review. (You can also provide one of the recommended templates below or share your script as an example.)
Don’t forget to incorporate stories and examples in your webinar lessons, as these will help your audience relate your concepts and takeaways to real-life scenarios. If you don’t want your anecdotes to feel too scripted or forced, perhaps make a note where you will tell that story (instead of writing it out word-for-word). This is an example of where a script can limit you.
Tip: If you’ve written blog content about your webinar topic, consider pulling in some of that content and reworking it to fit your lessons and main takeaways.
5. Webinar Conclusion and Q&A
The conclusion to your webinar is crucial; it helps anchor your lessons for your audience and recaps important takeaways. You can also script an engagement activity, such as a short concept quiz or brief feedback session when your attendees can share something new they learned.
This section serves as the TL;DR, so the script should be short and concise, too. After you’ve recapped your presentation, open the floor 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 wrap up. First, script your closing comments — thanking the audience and sharing any important contact or follow up information.
Then, share the next steps. What would you like your audience to do now that they’ve attended your webinar? Close the webinar presentation with a strong call-to-action and concise instructions on how your audience can follow suit.
Congratulations! You just wrote a webinar script. Now, I have a few final tips for you:
Write your script as you talk, in a conversational tone and with everyday language. It helps to write the script with full sentences so you don’t get lost in a sea of bullet points or fragmented sentences.
Practice your script from top to bottom, verbatim. Time yourself to see if the script is too long. Ask your presenters to do the same with their scripts.
Only when you’ve read your script aloud a few times through should you begin to design your webinar slides. Don’t copy and paste your script to your slides; use the script to inspire important bullets and talking points.
Above, I encouraged you to start with a blank Doc or notebook as a starting point for your webinar script. If you need some help organizing your thoughts and ideas, consider using the following webinar script template as a starting point.
Webinar Script Template
This template serves as an example webinar script — not one to copy and plug the appropriate details. Even if you use this as a starting point, I encourage you to personalize the content to match your presentation, speakers, and audience.
Hello, everyone! Welcome, and thank you for dialing in for our webinar today. My name is [name] and I'm the [role] at [company]. At [company], we help [audience] like you [unique value proposition / product or service mention]. Today, we’ll be discussing [topic] and featuring [speaker], [speaker], and [speaker].
You can expect each speaker to have the floor for about 10 minutes, and we’ll conduct a short Q&A at the end of each session. If you have any questions during the webinar, please type them into the chat window — we’ll address them during the Q&A.
By the end of our time today, we hope you feel more comfortable and confident about [topic]. We’re very passionate about [topic] and have many exciting stories and learnings to share here today. Our goal is to [goal].
We’ll start with [speaker], who will be speaking on [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 her?
[I read questions from the chat window for the speaker to answer.]
Those are all of our questions. [speaker], anything else you want to touch on before we move onto our next guest?
[All speakers present and take questions.]
Well, that’s all we’ve got for you here today. Thank you for joining [company] to discuss [topic]. We appreciate you signing in and hope you learned [goal].
Before we sign off, I’d love to tell you about [main announcement or call-to-action]. Feel free to reach out to me via email if you’re interested or want to know more. We’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 ahead of time helps you get aligned and focused on your topic, inform your guests of the purpose and flow of your webinar, and practice, practice, practice until you’re confident in your presentation. Use this guide to help you get started writing your next webinar script.
Originally published Feb 5, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated February 05 2021