Hybrid meetings—where some portion of a live event is broadcast to attendees tuning in remotely—are increasing in popularity. By now you’ve read plenty of articles about the technical requirements for successful videoconferences, Skype meetings, webinars, and live-streamed general sessions. So here are three tips from a speaker’s point of view for ensuring that your remote audience remains engaged:
1. Communicate early.
Meeting planners must plan a preliminary call with the meeting owner, the speaker, and the audiovisual team regarding the session content, the flow, and what to do if something fails. This is also a good time to share tips on what has worked in previous events. Recently I conducted a webinar for a large women’s networking group for which we had two pre-event calls to ensure we understood the technology, practiced the slide transitions, tested the audience interaction tools, and more. I also requested the template slides from the organizer so that I could insert my content and then test it in the webinar format.
2. Beware the bells and whistles.
Some meeting planners want music and live video as part of a presentation that will be broadcast remotely. This is difficult, because everyone is viewing or listening from different devices. You might have some people log on to your live stream using mobile phones, others on Macs, and still others on PCs. Music and video do not always come across with the same impact that they have on a live audience. If a particular video is crucial to the content, you can send a link and ask participants to view the video either before or after the live event. This can have the added benefit of building interest before the event and/or following up afterward.
3. Help your speaker succeed.
Do not assume that speakers know how to adapt their speaking styles to technological delivery. At an event in Houston, I was being live-streamed to a remote audience, and the audiovisual company told me that there would be a one- or two-second delay between the time I spoke and the time the audience heard me. I had to slow down my normally speedy delivery and I had to be careful to repeat a few things in order to be sure that some key points hit home. I always give meeting planners my mobile number and put my phone on silent mode so that I can be available for trouble shooting if something goes awry during the session.
Cheryl Cran, CSP, is a leadership expert. Her keynote, “Leading Change in a Fast-Paced and Technological Workplace” helps leaders and their teams use technology to increase efficiency and results. Find more at Cheryl’s Web site.