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There is a lot of work that goes in behind the scenes to plan, prepare and pull off a successful webcast session. During the actual presentation itself, a successful webcast seems to move from start to finish seamlessly – with minimal (if any) technical difficulties, a fully engaged and participating audience along with a host or panel of hosts that are properly prepared to present their material. The following is a six-point checklist that all webcast hosts should use to ensure everything is in order before the start of the event to increase the chances of achieving this type of flawless result.
Have you sent a pre-event reminder?
All webcast hosts and planners need to make sure that an event reminder is sent out to all hosts, presenters and participants. It is recommended to send a reminder at least one week ahead of the event to give participants advance notice. This could also serve as an effective way to boost registration as it will remind those who have not yet registered or signed up to do so.
If it is not feasible to send out a reminder a week ahead, you should at least send one the day before the event. When possible, it is best to send both – a reminder one week and one day before the event. There are certain enterprise webcasting tools, such as those offered by BlueJeans that provide the option to send out reminders automatically to your list of invitees. This will ensure that everyone involved is reminded of the event and has made the necessary arrangements to log in at the scheduled time, per The Muse.
Do your participants have access to an agenda?
Do not wait until the webcast event starts before you distribute agendas to your attendees. This document should be made available to them as soon as possible once the presentations and presenters are secured and a timeline is finalized. In addition to ensuring that everyone is prepared and the webcast session flows from start to finish as scheduled, sending out an agenda days or even weeks before an event can further stimulate the interest of your prospective participants.
They will know exactly how much time will be required and exactly how that allotted time will be spent throughout the session. The Harvard Business Review recommend getting input from team members when creating the agenda, selecting topics that affect and will engage the attendees and ensure that you have allotted an appropriate amount of time for each topic discussed.
Do the attendees know how to access the webcast?
It is nearly impossible to log into a webcast when you have no idea how to access it in the first place. As the webcast planner or host, you are more than likely very familiar with the system and how to log in and use it successfully. However, are your attendees as knowledgeable and skilled with the system as you? Before the event, it is imperative to make sure that your invited attendees have the walkthrough instructions they will need to access the webcasting system and log into the session successfully. Provide any applicable website links, dial-in numbers and access codes in your pre-event emails and other forms of communication.
Invite them to reach out to you if they have any questions about logging in. This will allow you to have a jumpstart with working out any technical issues or glitches that may arise with participants who are not able to log in for one reason or another.
How will you keep track of time during the event?
As mentioned above, sending out a well-developed agenda allows participants to see how much time will be spent and how that time will be spent throughout the event. The next step is to focus on how you will ensure that everyone sticks to the schedule. It is important to review the schedule and proposed timelines with everyone involved behind the scenes – perhaps during a pre-event briefing or webcast agenda review. This will give you the opportunity to remind each presenter and host of the pertinent need to keep track of their timing to ensure they do not go over the time allotted for their contribution.
What is your event follow-up plan?
It is very easy to become so focused on planning and preparing the webcast that you forget to have a plan for what to do after the event. An effective follow-up plan will allow you to keep your attendees engaged, informed and even interacting long after the event has ended. One idea is to have a list of the references and materials used throughout the webcast that you could perhaps send out to the attendees via email after the event. You could also send them “Thank You” messages via email or regular mail. Make sure that you provide them with a survey that allows them to give you honest feedback on the event. This feedback will come in handy when it is time for you to plan the next webcast to ensure that everything runs as smoothly and successfully as before.