1. We don't need a moderator — Yes, you do. A skilled moderator can calm a nervous speaker with easy questions and prompts that will help the speaker stay focused on the presentation. Moderators also can read the audience's mood by viewing the questions and comments submitted by online participants, which gives them cues about speeding up the program or taking time to answer pressing questions.

  2. Why pre-flight? We've done this beforeEvery time, encourage participants to complete a pre-flight check — a Web page provided by the event service provider that checks the participants' computers to make sure they are capable of participating in the program.

  3. My assistant is meticulous about details. We don't have to check phone numbersIf the correct link isn't sent, your audience won't be able to find your event! Always double-check the phone number for your participants and presenters. Failure to check links and phone numbers is the most common mistake made in producing Web events.

  4. Everyone will understand if there are glitchesAll live events, even TV news shows, have one or two minor technical glitches. But you never hear a TV news anchor say, “Darn, my teleprompter just stopped.” The same is true during a Web event. If your computer is slow to respond to your Web event interface, or freezes, resist the impulse to make a comment. Unless told otherwise, assume that the event is still going on and allow a member of your tech support team to help resolve the issue.

  5. We'll do our best not to start late, but things happenA Web event must start on time. A 10-minute delay at an on-site event is no big deal, but faced with a similar delay online, a significant portion of your audience will likely tune out.

  6. We should end more or less on timeNot necessarily. In face-to-face meetings, there may be a formal conclusion, but informally the event can continue for some time. Often, attendees with burning questions wait for this time to chat with the speaker and ask for additional information. Stick around to answer more questions online, and you will impress and please your audience.






Dale Coyner is operations manager of communicast.com, a Web events company based in Herndon, Va. He can be reached by e-mail at dcoyner@communicast.com.