When you run a webinar with guest speakers it is essential to arrange a rehearsal meeting a few days before the event. Even if you are working with experienced speakers there are many details that can cause major problems if you don’t go through the roles, timeline and technical details well in advance.
A new article on the excellent Webinar blog, Why You Need A Webinar Run Through, stresses the need for such meetings to make sure that the slideshows and other documents actually work in the webinar room and that there are no technical conflicts. Many presenters will claim that such planning meetings are unnecessary but the article describes clearly the dangers of not preparing properly.
Never assume your content will work properly. Validate every single presentation asset and every handoff inside your conferencing product. Every time.
In addition to the points raised in this article we would like to add some of our own:
- Check presenters’ internet connection (not wifi!) as well as sound and video quality. Presenters who log in a couple of minutes before a webinar starts using poor wifi and without a headset can cause considerable stress for the organisers!
- Go through the schedule for the webinar – order of speakers, time slots, discussion breaks. Have your timeline visible to all presenters during the webinar.
- Assignment of roles. Make sure everyone knows their role (moderator, speaker, chat moderator, technical support etc) and how to help each other. Good to establish a back channel for communication between presenters, for example so that the moderator can indicate that a speaker should round off their presentation in 1-2 minutes (without this being visible to the participants of course!).
- Check that the presentations are realistic in the given time frame. I’ve seen presenters with a 10 minute slot uploading presentations of 60 slides. Less is more!