Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Sound of Silence

The end of the year is always a great week to pause. It's the one time of year when the frenzy of life and work slow down just a bit, after the holidays have passed.  Silence, indeed, can be golden. 

Conversely, the sound of silence during a web conference may be uncomfortable, but that silence is important, and worth getting used to.  When you post a poll, type a question in the chat box or ask a question verbally, the facilitator should pause and give the audience time to respond. Some silence is okay and web conference facilitation doesn't mean the facilitator has a license to conduct an un-ending monologue - that's pure "sage on the stage".  Rather, when you ask a question your audience needs a few seconds to process the question and think of a response or review the poll response options to determine how they will respond. If respondents will be typing their response they will need even more time to respond. Resist the urge to jump in and break the silence - let your participants fill the pause instead.  The majority of the time you will be pleasantly surprised when your participants chime in with their ideas and thoughts.

During this holiday week I am also resisting the urge to break the silence - albeit weakly.  Hope you get some time to do the same.  Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Importance of a Second Computer

In two webinars over the last two weeks I heard the main speaker asking the technical person/producer of the event which slide was showing on the screen because the main speaker couldn't tell what he was seeing versus what his audience was seeing. This situtation is easily remedied by having the lead speaker log into a second computer as a participant. By having two computers side by side, the speaker can always see the presenter view and the participant view simultaneously.

If you are striving for flawless delivery of a webinar, try following this best practice. I've used this technique for years, and time and time again it has been a life-saver.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Web Conferencing is Good for the Environment

I attended a web conference today put on by Refined Data and Adobe which highlighted the environmental benefits of web conferencing. Refined Data sells an application that works in the Adobe Connect platform that provides real-time calculations of carbon savings for web conferences.

While I am not using this tool, I have been doing something more crude but effective at the beginning of each web conference for internal audiences. I include a slide that mentions the approximate carbon emissions that were saved by meeting online where no travel or paper is required. It's generally an "a-ha" moment for participants and many will comment in the evaluation form positively about this part of the web conference.