Combining Live and Simulated-Live Sessions

As technology advances and events transition smoothly from in-person to online, one thing remains certain – there’s just something our presenters enjoy about giving their sessions live. Online events have a great way to simulate this experience with simulated-live presentations. These are recorded ahead of time at the presenter’s leisure at their home or office with a neutral background, then scheduled for the event. This is a great option because it allows the speaker to interact with the audience in real-time, answering their questions and engaging in deeper discussion with them.

However, many speakers like to present their session via a live stream of some sort – YouTube, Google Hangout, etc. This gives them the same feeling as speaking at an in-person conference, allowing them to end the session with about fifteen minutes for a Q&A.

With this in mind, how do we make sure that both of these kinds of presentations are successful and streamlined?

Over-communicate with your presenters

For both live and pre-recorded sessions, you need to be in frequent communication with your presenters. For both, they will need similar guidelines. Dress-code, a neutral background (preferably without a window behind them), a quiet surrounding – and of course they need to have their slide deck ready.

One tip that we’ve found very successful to make both types of sessions look streamlined is to have the same theme on the slide decks for all presentations. It doesn’t have to be fancy – in fact, it shouldn’t distract from the speaker’s presentation. A simple grey background, a teal ombré, or even black would be fine – and don’t forget the event logo!

You also want to leave a space for the presenter’s webcam on the slide deck. A square in the lower or upper right corner is typical. If you prepare the slide deck theme for your presenters, you can ensure a great-looking session. 

 

Make sure they know the schedule

For pre-recorded, you’ll want to make sure that the presenter knows the due date for sending you the recording. This way, they will have lots of time to prepare their slide deck, set aside an hour or two to do the recording, and polish it if necessary. Most speakers are used to live presentations; this will likely go pretty smoothly.

  • You’ll want to take tip 1 into account here, though – keep in contact with your speaker to make sure they know the date is coming up and ask if they have any questions.

For live streamed sessions, you’ll want to schedule a walk-through with the presenter to make sure they are comfortable with the live stream service you have chosen. This typically only takes about ten minutes as most live stream services are made with us in mind. You should schedule this for a few days before the event so that the how-to is fresh in everyone’s minds.

As long as your speaker has all of the information that they need and you know that they are prepared, you will both feel less pressure on the day of the event. If you and they are less stressed, the event will be a breeze!

 

Utilize your resources

Depending on the online event platform that you’ve chosen, you’ll have a variety of resources at your fingertips. With vConferenceOnline, we provide a full library of how-to resources that guide you step-by-step through creating and setting up your event. We also provide a project manager who will be available by phone and email leading up to and during your event to make sure that everything goes smoothly for you and your event is a hit.

Your job is to bring the ideas and the materials to the platform – our job is to make sure that your event is fantastic and your audience looks forward to the next one! With that in mind, ask any questions you have for your event. We’ll be happy to help out and even give you ideas for how to make it even more successful. With nearly a decade of online events under our belt, we have lots of data and a bevy of analytics in our pockets.

If you keep these three tips in mind, you’re sure to make both live and simulated live sessions look fantastic to your audience; your speakers and audience will have a great time discussing the topics, too!

And always, if you have any questions, feel free to email us!

Talk to you soon!

Sessions, Content and Your Attendees

Some keys to great virtual conferences, webcasts and e-learning courses.  It’s all about the presentation and a great environment to take it all in.

For your event, you will be working on determining the best possible mix of how-to and promotional materials.  It’s this mix that will drive the success of future events, will drive expectations of this and future events and will help your attendees make the most of your sessions…

“But wait, I’m not selling stuff at my event!”

Sure, you might not be selling goods and services directly, but you are selling, at the very least, your event.  Your services.  Your next event.  Your content.  You are “selling” because you have to convince people it’s worth it to spend their time on your event.  It’s critical to keep in mind that you have to earn their time and attention.  They call it “spending time” and “paying attention” for a reason after all. 

A couple of quick tips on putting together sessions.  

Speaker Intros, Bios and Contact Info
Speakers should focus on the meat of the session.  By this I mean that speakers should avoid bragging about their accomplishments, should avoid talking about their products (unless the session is clearly a demo-based session of course).  Instead, consider having an event host that talks about and introduces the speaker.  Spend 60-90 seconds at the start of the session to outline the presenter’s qualifications and their background, projects and how to contact them (and whether they’re available for consulting/gigs/etc.).  

At the end of the presentation, consider coming back in the session and thanking the speaker, again offering contact info.  Using these two informational points (the intro and exit points), you can show that the speaker is authoritative, you give the audience a handle on the presentation so they know what to expect.  In addition, the audience knows you won’t be talking forever about the presenter, it’ll be a quick intro, then into the meat of the presentation.  It let’s them know they’re not wasting their time or attention. 

Content (content, content, content)
It’s far better to have an information-packed 20 minute session than a too-long-for-the-content 60 minute session.  Attendees are much more concerned with excellent information, tips, experiences and real-world information than they are with filling an allotted time slot.  Make sure your speakers are keeping presentations on track and that the attendees can take in and use the information as quickly as possible.  

In today’s “short attention span theater” type world, it’s critical to give points that can be used immediately, while also giving direction and food for thought type guidance for looking a bit more to the future.  

It can also help to follow the rule of:

  • Tell them what you’ll be telling them
  • Tell them what you want to tell them
  • Tell them what you told them

This lets you present what you’ll be talking about – then the topic at hand.  Wrap it up with a summary and touch on the key points and attendees will have a great opportunity to really ingest the information you’re presenting.  

It’s About the Attendees
No matter if you’re producing a virtual event for sponsors, for continuing education, best practices, tips, tricks or something else entirely, it’s about the attendees.  They need to be able to get the most from your content and speakers.  If you don’t have attendees for your virtual event (webcast, webinar, virtual conference or online learning course), you’ll have a hard time continuing with the virtual event in the future.  

Content (and presentation) truly is king.