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On Participating in a Webcast

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On Participating in a Webcast

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Woman watching webinar

Woman watching webinar

As much as 50% of programs that would have in the past been presented in a classroom are now being offered through webinars, I recently learned at the National Speakers Association annual meeting in Phoenix in July. Webinars are convenient ways to share information with geographically diverse groups. A variety of formats may be used to deliver the material, and varying levels of audience participation may occur.

Within the last month, I participated in two webinars directed to attorneys.  The experiences were remarkably different. In the first program, presented by the Aletheia Institute, I was a speaker presenting concepts related to pain assessment. The program was being broadcast by a live video feed, with speakers in four locations across the US. I was supposed to go to a local video conferencing site located at a court reporter’s office.  The arrival time was set for 2:15 PM for a 3 PM program. The 45 minutes was to have been spent learning and rehearsing how to use the technology. Unfortunately, there was a communication mix-up regarding who was to supply the laptop computer to use for the program. When I realized I needed to bring my computer, I raced home to retrieve it. My car’s GPS did not recognize the address of the court reporter, and I lost more minutes getting directions from yahoo maps. The court reporter’s office was farther than I expected and traffic was maddeningly slow.

When I arrived at the court reporter’s office at 2:55 PM, I was rattled. In a space of 10 minutes, I had to learn how to use the technology with a less than intuitive remote device, figure out where to place my notes, get a clock set up, and try to calm down. The wisdom of having plenty of time to get used to the equipment was painfully evident to me, but hopefully not to the audience.

My second experience took place in my office. The New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education webinar consisted of me moderating a program on liability issues affecting the emergency department. I reformatted, edited and illustrated the Powerpoint presentations prepared by the speakers. We had a dry run a week before the program to learn how to handle the technology. There was no video component to the program.  The three speakers and I talked over the phone to the listeners/viewers. Each speaker controlled the advance of the Powerpoint slides. We could communicate with a chat panel so I could advise each speaker of the remaining time left to keep them on track.

Two webinars and two different presentation formats made these two very different experiences. My advice to people who have the opportunity to participate in, moderate or put on a webinar, is to allow time to become very familiar with the technology. Practice, practice, practice, and have another person to act as an assistant. The video component of a live program can be a powerful enhancement to learning, but also captures all of the foibles of a less than perfect presentation. Learn as much as you can about webinars, how to make the most out of them, and how your participation can be enhanced. Two resources I recommend are:

Great Webinars: How to create interactive learning that is captivating, informative and fun by Cindy Clay
6 Weeks To A Great Webinar: Generate Leads And Tell Your Story To The World (Paperback) by W. Wayne Turmel
I heard W. Wayne Turmel speak at the National Speakers Association; he was outstanding.

And most of all, recognize the staying power of this type of education and take advantage of the programs that are of interest to you.

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4 Responses to “On Participating in a Webcast”

  1. I participated in Wayne Turmel’s webinar titled “6 Weeks to a Great Seminar” and followed his process as I developed and prepared for my first webinar in August. In fact, I took it a step further and had a dry run with Wayne. I attribute my success to the all the preparation. If you are a webinar “newbie” I strongly recommend consulting with Wayne Turmel.

  2. I participated in Wayne Turmel’s webinar titled “6 Weeks to a Great Seminar” and followed his process as I developed and prepared for my first webinar in August. In fact, I took it a step further and had a dry run with Wayne. I attribute my success to the all the preparation. If you are a webinar “newbie” I strongly recommend consulting with Wayne Turmel.

  3. Pat, thank you for the kind words about “6 Weeks to a Great Webinar” and I’m delighted that it was helpful to you. Stephanie, thanks for the hearty recommendation!

    These are going to be core skills for educators and professionals in the coming years and I’m shocked how few people receive training or coaching to do it well.

    Continued good luck and keep up the good work.

  4. Pat, thank you for the kind words about “6 Weeks to a Great Webinar” and I’m delighted that it was helpful to you. Stephanie, thanks for the hearty recommendation!

    These are going to be core skills for educators and professionals in the coming years and I’m shocked how few people receive training or coaching to do it well.

    Continued good luck and keep up the good work.

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