Many event coordinators are so overwhelmed with the creation of the content and organization of the webcast that they forget to focus on other important elements such as participant engagement and interaction. In fact, there are many simple techniques that are used during in-person meetings that can be applied to virtual meetings. Below we have outlined 3 simple ways to engage the audience on your next webcast.
1. Kick things off with an Ice Breaker – Instead of spending time with lengthy presenter bios and formal intros, fun ice breakers can be a great way to allow the audience to get to know the speakers. Tell a story that applies to the topic at hand, and then ask the audience to respond with their thoughts on a similar experience. Have them use the chat feature to chat their thoughts and ideas about your story and their own experiences to allow them to feel a part of the meeting and become an active participant.
2. Include live polling questions and engage audience in Q&A – Actively encouraging the audience to type their feedback into the presentation via polling questions and Q&A keeps them actively engaged in the presentation and also helps them feel like they have a voice. Reading some comments aloud and acknowledging this feedback at several points during the presentation is a wonderful way to maintain engagement. You can easily save this feedback for later reference in the poll and Q&A transcript as well.
3. Include Videos – Giving your presenter this tip of sharing a video clip or two is a great technique to get your participants engaged. Videos can help get your audience in the right mood by creating an emotion and reinforcing the story you are telling.
Even if you are short on time, try incorporating at least one of the methods above and you will see a noticeable change in the amount of interaction from the audience on your webcast. Remember to utilize the other tools and features that your webcast has to offer such as a live demo, and social media apps, such as a live twitter feed to keep the conversation going.
V2 | Virtual Event Manager
Earlier this week, V2 was excited to host an event with webcast expert Roger Courville of TheVirtualPresenter.com and author of The Virtual Presenter’s Handbook. Roger is a veteran of the web conferencing industry (since the modem days of 1999), and has taught tens of thousands people worldwide, and he’s reached tens of thousands more with writing appearances, interviews, and while sitting in airports.
If you were unable to join us for this informative and engaging presentation, you can view the recording here. Roger shared some invaluable tips on presentation design and elements that keep the attention of your audience and prevent them from multi-tasking while viewing your online presentation. He also lists the 7 most common pitfalls made by online speakers, and how to avoid them.
Often our clients say that it can be challenging presenting online when you are used to speaking to people in person. Roger helps you take action in translating the things you do in an in-person presentation to an online one, and points out the differences and opportunities that can come from communicating to an audience in an online medium.
V2 will be hosting another webinar with Roger on December 15 at 11:00 am PT entitled: Webinar Strategy: Research-Based Ideas for Immediate Action. Register now and learn the following:
- Determine when webinars are – and are not – the right content channel
- 4 tactics for increasing registration rates
- How to get registrants to actually attend the live webinar
- 3 ways to improve the quality of content and sales-readiness of leads
Thanks again to Roger for imparting all his awesome knowledge. The V2 Crew looks forward to “seeing” you on our next webinar in December.
Our clients spend lots of time putting together interesting speakers and great content for their webinars. It’s a lot of work – and once the event is over, how do you continue to leverage the webinar recording/content? You can send out follow-up emails to attendees and registrants from the event with a link to watch the recording – which is a great way to continue engagement with the leads who signed up for the event, but what about future leads? How can you use your webinar archives to promote future events or services? The answer is a simple one: Let V2 turn your existing content into a podcast!
Now, you have probably heard the term “Podcast” before, but you may be asking yourself, what exactly IS a podcast? And what are the benefits of creating a podcast? A podcast is a pre-recorded file that can contain audio, video and other forms of content. It can be streamed or downloaded directly by online users, and set to synch automatically with users via an RSS feed. Podcasts were first popular for radio and entertainment purposes, but recently have grown more widespread. Creating a podcast from existing material allows you to breathe new life into existing content that you already have at your fingertips. Podcasts also allow you to distill content down from a longer presentation, allowing you to market to a wider audience.
V2 can deliver this technology to you, and at an extremely effective price. We provide the recording platform, the coaching, and the editing needed to make your content shine. All you provide is the recorded content, or the speakers and presentation material you would like us to use to create the podcast. Whether it is older content, or a presentation designed specifically for a podcast… it’s a smart way to utilize existing resources to communicate to your audience. Have questions about how V2 can help with your next Podcast? Shoot us an e-mail or give us a call – We would love to help!
V2 | Virtual Event Manager
By now, web conferencing has been widely accepted by the business world as a standard tool for communication. However, as someone who works with webinars all day long like I do, it’s easy to take for granted why they are so useful. Then I was reminded of it recently when ON24 came out with this white paper. It’s a great read if you want to nerd-out on some interesting web conferencing statistics.
Or if you’re in the mood for something lighter, I’ve taken the liberty to put together my own qualitative data. Here are my Top Ten reasons why webinars are so awesome–Late Show style.
#10: It’s recorded, so you can re-watch the part you missed when you fell asleep (your boss will never know).
#9: No getting stuck in the back row with the IT guys when you’re late to the All-Hands Town Hall.
#8: Executive board meetings from the beach!
#7: Save that travel budget and buy an office foosball and ping pong table instead.
#6: Loads of tracking data so you feel like you really know your leads.
#5: The word ‘webinar’ just sounds cool!
#4: Show off that PowerPoint 3-D animation effect you just discovered.
#3: Kick things off by playing your new toilet flushing ring tone…followed by a “just kidding!”
#2: Instead of trying to picture your audience in their underwear, you can actually BE in yours.
#1: You can hire a V2 Event Producer to take care of all the details, so just relax!
Author Erin Armentrout is a Virtual Event Producer with V2 who has honed her skills in the world of webinars since 2008. Prior to V2, Erin contributed to the ever-evolving use of technology in the event industry as a Mobile App Product Consultant for the event software expert, Cvent.
If you have been to our blog before, you may remember we recently talked about some best practices when presenting on a webcast. Our team has been supporting an increasing number of live video webcasts, most often large town halls, where speakers are being broadcast live from a stage or auditorium (with the live audience) into the webcast platform to be viewed by the virtual audience. On these types of events, V2 sends it’s producers onsite to work with the video crew to ensure everything goes off with out a hitch.
V2 sets up all the technical aspects of the production, including the sound feed, lighting, stage direction and network optimization. We also work with the speakers behind the scenes prior to the live event in what we call a “dress rehearsal.” During the rehearsal, all players walk through their piece of the presentation, practice some of their speaking points, test their audio, and familiarize themselves with their surroundings, whether that be sitting on a panel onstage or at a podium.
We thought it might be helpful to further expand our posts on best practices to include our tips on speaking on camera. Some of them may seem simple, but you would be surprised how often a lot of these are overlooked, and how huge an impact you can have on your live and virtual audience alike, if you follow these guidelines.
General Best Practices
Remember that you are being watched by your audience, potentially at all times. Even if you are not presenting, you still may be within view of a camera.
- Even though you can’t see your virtual audience, they can see you! The same best practices for public speaking still apply: Speak slowly and clearly, and look directly at the camera. Engage the camera just as you would another person. Imagine the camera is your friend!
- If you are speaking to notes, try to keep them as concise as possible. Avoid looking down at notes for extended periods.* Bring water with you to the podium. For professional productions, the stage lighting can be very bright and hot. Come prepared with water – it’s far better to pause and take a drink, than it is to keep force yourself to keep presenting.* Avoid touching your face or hair. These are often unconscious gestures we perform out of habit, but on camera they can make you look nervous or uncomfortable, and can be distracting to the audience.
- Relax, don’t rush! Concentrate on speaking in a relaxed, normal rate. In normal conversations, it’s very common to pause between phrases and sentences. Speaking to your audience in this same manner helps to ensure they are participating, and following your conversation.
Dress and Appearance
- Plan on wearing light colored clothes, with minimal patterns. AVOID shirts, blouses, or ties with intricate patterns or lines – these can produce a jumping color effect on camera
- Most stage backdrops will be of a darker color. Wearing lighter colored clothes helps to ensure you are easily seen on camera
- If you don’t need to wear glasses, don’t.
- Don’t overdo the makeup, but don’t shy away from it either! Light powder makeup can help reduce shine and glare created by stage lighting. Female presenters should use eye makeup sparingly.
- Present in clothes that are breathable, cool and comfortable. You will be onstage and in direct lighting for potentially more than an hour.
- Don’t take anything onstage unless it’s needed; keep the cell phones, pagers and computers powered down, and off the stage. Find out where you can safely store purses or coats away from the stage area.
- Know your stage before you go live. Take a moment to review out the stage area, keeping in mind any boundaries you must stay within or potential hazards to avoid. If you are part of a broadcast involving multiple speakers, review how you will walk on stage, where you will sit, how you will walk to and from where you will speak.
- Most times your audience will hear you from a wireless lapel mic that will be attached to your shirt. Your sound technician will ensure that it’s powered and placed for optimal reception. Prior to going live you will also perform a quick “sound check”, where the technician will set volume and frequency levels to best broadcast your voice. During the sound check, it’s important to speak as closely as possible to how you will speak when you present live. Conversely when you are live, remember to not shout or speak at levels above the volume you spoke at during your sound check.
- If you are speaking to PowerPoint or other materials that are also being shown on a screen, request the use of a comfort monitor. A comfort monitor is a screen placed at the front of the stage for your viewing only, that displays your presentation materials. Having this visible to you at the front of the stage means you don’t have to continually look back or away from the cameras to view your materials.
An individual’s bandwidth connection speed to the internet is probably the single most important variable in defining a successful attendee experience on an online event. Webinar programs are designed to stream data to each attendee’s console in real time; therefore the amount of bandwidth that is available to each individual user often determines how much (or how little!) an attendee is able to participate. Bandwidth requirements from Webinar platforms are also cumulative, meaning the more functionality you wish to use – data, VoIP, Video, web cams, etc- the higher the bandwidth requirement for attending your event becomes. To top it off, bandwidth can also fluctuate for users depending on other traffic that may be flowing at the same time. Depending on your audience, you may wish to consider what content you will include when designing your event.
One thing we always relay to our webinar presenters is the importance of a solid internet connection when using ANY web conferencing platform. To test your connection speed, use the following speed test link: https://www.speedtest.net/ It tests both your download and upload speeds and allows you to choose the closest server that your ISP uses to get accurate information. Other factors that may affect presenter and attendee experiences are transfer rates, networks, and latency. It is also very important to note that your bandwidth speed is affected by what web-conferencing platform you use. Why? The short answer: Different web-conferencing platforms have different server locations. The more servers they have, the more likely one is located closer to you physically, which means better performance.
Below we have defined some important terms related to bandwidth speed that you most likely have heard about at some point or another. Understanding these terms can help you identify and hopefully solve bandwidth issues in the future.
Download is a measure of how fast your connection delivers content to your computer or local area network. This is the important number to test – it will determine how many or how smoothly different web-conferencing functions will work (audio, downloading content, video, presenter video, etc.)
Upload is the measure of how fast content is delivered from your computer or local area network to others on the Internet. This is important to note if you are a presenter who is uploading content to your web-conferencing platform. Especially when trying to upload those last-minute presentations or changes!
Kbps transfer rate = kilobit per second transfer rate. There are 8 bits in a byte, so we would divide kbps by 8 to get KB/sec transfer rate.
Transfer rate is speed at which data can be transmitted between devices. This is sometimes referred to as throughput. As files to download become increasingly larger, the highest data transfer rate is most desirable. Finally, I like to note that the simplest and most easily available method to measure your connection speed to the Internet is to simply download a large file and see what is the transfer rate reported in your standard download progress dialog box.
In a network, latency, a synonym for delay, is an expression of how much time it takes for a packet of data to get from one designated point to another. In some usages, latency is measured by sending a packet that is returned to the sender and the round-trip time is considered the latency. Low latency is extremely important for businesses and power-users. It’s not all about bandwidth! Conventional wisdom says that increasing bandwidth will lead to improved performance. In fact, the transmission control protocol (TCP) limits the number of concurrent bytes transmitted, regardless of the size of the transmission pipe and effects latency.
We hope you found this post helpful! If you have any questions, feel free to contact the V2 team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your online event is now over and you nailed it! At this point, the hard work has just begun – now it’s time to take inventory and see how you did. Below you will find five pieces of sage advice to help get the most out of your post event activity and find out exactly how you did.
1. Hold a meeting post conference. After each webcast V2 makes a habit of breaking out into a sub conference to debrief on how the event went. This allows for immediate feedback on opportunities to improve on future events and offers collaboration insights on the next steps listed below.
2. Launch the post-event survey. Post-event surveys are the first indicator to whether your event was successful. You can use the survey to ask attendees about future contact, inquire about other topics that interest them, or ask them to give feedback on the event they just attended. Surveys are fully customizable so you can ask unlimited questions but keep in mind the longer they are the fewer responses you will get.
3. Post a link to the recording. Since you recorded your event you now have a great piece of content to share with registrants that missed the event or for folks that are interested in the future. Sharing the recording of the webinar gives you the most value for the time dedicated to your event. If you are concerned about miscues you can always enlist a company like V2 to edit them out.
4. Thank you email. Thank you for coming and sorry we missed you emails to all registrants. This is your first line of defense and an olive branch for contact information.
5. Follow-up. Last but not least, is to follow up with attendees. After you’ve reviewed the Attendance Report to figure out who warrants follow up first, plan your follow-up offering for each group of people. Depending on your organization and content these contacts may go into a marketing database like Eloqua or Marketo for sales follow up. In any case send the link of the recording to all webinar registrants. Send more specific information to the people who either asked for it, or implied they were interested. Take the time to customize your follow-up messages by reviewing questions asked or answers provided from each attendee to find out what most interests them.
1. Join the session early. First things first, Moderators and Presenters should join the session 30 minutes early for a sub conference. Use this time to conduct sound checks, review the flow of the event, conduct a final content check and answer any last minute questions. When you join, you and the rest of the event staff should be prepped and excited for a great event.
2. Create Event Lobby Slides. Event Lobby slides can be a great icebreaker, as it’s a mini presentation that runs before the meeting starts. Common content can contain meeting start times, presenter bios, content references and even fun facts.
3. Record it. Whether you plan to promote the recording for attendees that couldn’t make it or just to have on hand for reference later, you should always record your webcasts. Depending on the web conferencing solutions you choose consider recording the audio on a separate audio stream. Additionally, some platforms allow for local recording so establish a secondary presenter to also record in case one of the devices goes down.
4. Q&A. During the event, attendees will be using the Q&A pane to interact with the content and technology. In larger webcasts, individual roles should be assigned for responding to content Q&A (i.e. moderator) opposed to technical support (event producer) inquiries. Many web conferencing platforms allow for tagging or coding of these inquiries which greatly streamlines the Q&A for better responses and response times.
5. Chat. Encourage attendees to send feedback by asking open-ended questions. This is a great way to get the audience to participate and share their ideas on the topic at hand.
6. Post Polls. Polling is a great opportunity to get audience feedback and a quick drink of water. Polling intends the question to be brief so speak to the polls relevance, share the poll results and move back to the content.
7. Moderate commonly asked questions immediately. Inform your moderator before the event starts to surface any common questions or technical concerns so they can be addressed. Challenges with audio or content are usually easy to address and are imperative for a good experience.