The webinar start is a tricky time during the broadcast. If it's a networking one, does everyone sit in silence as they don't yet know the other delegates or is the situation taken over by a couple of chatty ones who take over? If it's an sales or educational one, there's a lag between logging on and the webinar start and you have the problem of how to fill the gap.
The gap is an uncertain place as you don't want your delegates to wander off and miss the start or lose interest and get distracted into doing something else. Your delegates also don't want to feel forgotten or, even worse, unsure about what happens next.
Keep the attendees informed?
One answer is to have a slide show with slides welcoming delegates to your webinar, reminding them of the title and speaker, perhaps a very short speaker bio and a countdown to the webinar itself. The aim is to reassure everyone that they're in the right place, to inform them of what to expect and the time they've got left until everything starts. So you end up with reassured delegates who know what's going on and feel included before you start.
This was a brilliant start
One fantastic start that I experienced at a networking session was led by someone who is a part time DJ. He played the first few seconds of pop songs and the audience had to guess the name of the singer/band and/or title. It was a wonderful way to break the ice, there was lots going on and chatter and more importantly there was laughter. But and it's an important one, the DJ had a music broadcast licence, so you do need to be aware of this legal requirement.
A similar approach
Another great way to start a webinar networking meeting is a similar sort of approach and uses a quiz with people calling out the answers. Again, it generates noise and participation which creates a sense of something happening to anyone who joins the room a bit later on.
Who's the furthest?
An alternative way to break the ice is to find out who's furthest away/closest to the broadcast location. As a webinar host, it's reassuring that your webinar is being watched by the people in the areas you want to target and as a participant, you can earmark people in your area that you'd like to chat to. Alternatively you could ask people to write their location as well as their details in the Chat Box. You may have to repeat these approaches during the webinar as people joining late would not have access to the information written prior to their arrival.
Avoid the 'goldfish' start
If you're recording the webinar, you'd want to have a really polished edit for your audience to watch. A good one will remove what I call the 'goldfish start' - I'm sure you've seen it - where someone starts the webinar with their mouth wide open. Have a credit/view of the audience/attractive shot of your product/service, in fact anything except you but you can have a voiceover to introduce the webinar.
And to summarise ...
And don't forget to use your introduction on any bite-sized clips that you edit for your social media - they'll act as brilliant advertising for both your company and your next webinar.