Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What Do Web Conferencing and the Presidential Election Have in Common?

Polling! Presidential election season is in full swing right now in the United States and that means the media reports on a myriad of poll results daily. If you look closely at the poll questions they are generally clear and unbiased, although every now and then a biased question surfaces.

Polling is one of my favorite features in a web conference. Well-designed polls can enhance a web conference and give a boost to your audience engagement. Poorly designed polls can frustrate your audience and have the opposite effect. To avoid such pitfalls, think of polls as ‘mini-surveys.’ We can apply best practices from surveys in a web-conference to maximize the results of polling: avoid leading questions, eliminate unclear language, limit answer choices, etc. I explored this topic in depth in an article on Best Practices for Polling in Web Conferences if you are interested in learning more.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

First Impressions

We’ve all heard the saying that you only get one chance to make a first impression. This seemed liked an appropriate topic my first blog entry on web conferencing. I have a passion for web conferencing and how to design and deliver first-rate sessions. Elliot Massie recently posted an article about the Reflections on the First Three Minutes of Learning, summarizing ideas from his readers about the power of the first three minutes. In a web conference, the first interactions with a participants are extremely influential. Participants will quickly decide whether or not your session is worth their time or if they should go back to their email.

Making those first three minutes as interesting and flawless as possible requires preparation and rehearsal. I like to get the participants to practice posting a chat message, changing their status icon and responding to a poll within the first three minutes. It sets the tone for a high level of interaction and gets new participants used to the technology quickly.