The tsunami of virtual conferences, webinars, video conference calls are wearing me out. I have been one of the loud voices encouraging my clients to go virtual and many companies are taking the change head on. But there are lots of problems. The production quality of many just are not particularly good:
- There are frequently tech problems with access, muting, camera set up and chat distract viewers and test their patience.
- It seems like there has not been enough planning. The timing of speakers, slides, and videos feels forced into a one-hour format even though there may only be 20 minutes worth of interesting content.
- Some of the virtual conference platforms look cartoonish. The graphics that are frequently used to simulate a venue look like something from an early 2000’s video game.
Have you ever dropped out of a video presentation or virtual conference before it is over? I saw a graphic recently that shows attention spans are good for the first 10-15 minutes and then drop way down until the last 5 minutes.
1 | Keep them short.
Nothing says they must be an hour. Too much time is spent warming up, introducing, and providing unnecessary background. Respect the participants time.
2 | Practice.
Make sure all presenters know how to use the platform. Make sure their camera and audio quality are good.
3 | Keep it moving.
Do not digress. Do not tell inside jokes.
4 | Create a run of show document.
Write out the timing for each segment and stick to it.
5 | Insert breaks for questions.
There is no reason to wait until the end for questions. As you shift topics or key points give the audience a chance to get clarification. You can limit to a few top questions that came in while presenting. Use a “producer” to select questions.
6 | Don’t just show a slide deck.
There is nothing worse than listening to presenters read a slide. Use video for all speakers and keep them on screen. It improves engagement.
7 | Plan breaks.
If you are having a full-on conference, plan breaks. Plan like a full-on conference. Allow time to return calls, network, and refresh. Breaks are a great place to put a sponsor banner.
8 | Pre record segments.
This step will prevent bad or boring segments. You can edit or rerecord if needed. It also creates certainty regarding the length of time used. The broadcast can still be live with breaks to answer questions and introduce each presenter. You can even have them record as though they had just been introduced and close with a handoff back to the MC.