Thursday, September 24, 2009

Converting Chat Text into an FAQ

The chat feature of a web conference is a great way to interact with the audience. At the end of a web conference, the chat box is typically full of a variety of great comments, questions and answers. This text is a gold mine of information that can be reused by converting it into an FAQ. To do this, copy the entire text chat into Word. Delete text that is just “chatter” and whittle the chat text down to the important questions or comments. Then, start writing your FAQ, using the chat text as the foundation, but rewriting or rewording to provide context and clear information. Generally, this conversion process is best accomplished by someone who participated in the session or is knowledgeable about the topic.

Now that you have a well-crafted FAQ, what’s next? One technique I’ve used is to email the FAQ to attendees and those who signed up but couldn’t attend the web conference. This technique works well when you deliver the same course or session more than once and you develop a comprehensive FAQ from all sessions so that attendees in one session can benefit from the questions and answers from another session on the same topic.

Another technique for sharing your FAQ is to integrate it into your web site or online collaboration space. Depending on how and where you post the FAQ online, you can create a more permanent home for your FAQ and also make the FAQ visible to others who did not attend your session. For example, posting FAQs online from a virtual orientation program for new hires benefits all new hires, not just those who attended the session.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Logistics for Global Audiences

Reaching out to a global audience with a web conference is an effective way to deliver training or hold a meeting. When planning synchronous events for global audiences here are a few key questions to ask regarding the logistics of your event and online resources to help find answers:

What are the time zones of the participants?
Make sure that you schedule your event during a time that's convenient for participants.

What are the national holidays in the countries of the participants?
Check these online resources so you don't schedule an event during a public holiday in another country. (US State Department list of national holidays)

What is the legal work week in the countries of the participants?
Monday - Friday is the work week in the US, but not the entire world. In Muslim countries the work week is different to allow for Friday as a day of prayer.