19 Tips for Effective Online Conferences
I was recently asked about my recommendations for conducting effective online conferences (virtual conferences). They had attended the conference Learn Trends online for free. This conference has been run for a few years and is tentatively scheduled for November 15 to 17 this year.
This is my attempt to collect some of what we have learned in recent years that make these conferences. There is some good information back online lectures and conferences in person, be an insanely great professional Conference attendees Conference online formats, and preparation of the Conference.
Assigning people to roles. For us we have someone who is a global producer (there are actually three of us, but well separated), moderator of the session, recording engineer, speaker preparation person.
Technical issues. Prepare to technical issues and deciding what to do about it. We’ve used Illuminate as our webinar system. Having problems with firewalls. So we ask everyone to try until they find a place where they can connect. This means that some people need to attend from home.
Communicate all the details with great detail. No matter how much you feel his obvious what to do, there will be confusion. This is especially true with information such as software testing virtual meeting, join the sessions, protocols during the session, time zones, etc.
Closely related to the above, make sure you have a way / place well known to post your questions and some assigned to answer these.
Make it obvious where to access resources from the speakers. For us, we create an issue associated with the session contents and attachments or that.
Calendar of sessions and design online is difficult. Most presenters are not used to design online, so it’s important to help them plan their sessions to be effective. It is essential to have interaction and time of Q & A. Some of the best sessions are very effective means of capturing the wisdom of the attendees. Even the duration of the meetings is a challenge. Long sessions can try to get too much content and often lose strength before short Q & A sessions often means really shallow. This is where a person well prepared with a good moderator can really help.
Open discussions have worked, but they are risky. I often find that meander too much. Of course, in general, I’m more comfortable with targeted learning objectives. By the way, if you’re going to try moderator has a great and interesting audience.
Engaging outside the sessions is a challenge. People do not read things, or engage in discussions face sessions. No matter how hard we tried, it is very difficult to get an audience to do something ahead of when the sessions start. It is even difficult to get involved through discussion forums outside the sessions. It is best to design things in the discussion forums are an added advantage and have some questions set to spark debate. But do not count on great participation.
Be sure to have breaks between session’s blocks. The conference staff needs it, but so do the audience, even if you think you will pick and choose the sessions.
For us, the definition of time for meetings is difficult. There is no way to choose the time intervals in which there is an ungodly hour somewhere in the world. I’m not sure we’ve ever noticed a response.
Text chat works very well during the sessions as a Channel Back. Promote and ensure the moderator and / or presenter woven into the session – View Backchannel multitasking. Also, make sure that the presenter is not distracted by the chat. I always encourage the speakers to ignore it and go (as moderator) to let you know when there’s something I’d like to discuss. And I’m not a big fan of using multiple tools back channel that effectively divides the discussion. Just keep in the webinar tool.
Inject fun into the event. Nancy White jumped to lead a round of Peach Kucha using slides that had never seen before. Spontaneity and fun spirit lifted energy levels. Need fun stuff splatter everywhere? Moderators can help this greatly.
The speakers on a common topic should get to know each other and exchange ideas on their approach before the session.
Photos of speakers make it real case. They have photos and descriptions of the sessions on the first slide of each speaker.
Thanks to Scott Ski bell, recorded sessions directly from the web, that is, out of Illuminate and produced great recordings. This helps a lot.
We tried a couple of different icebreaker. Interaction webinar to learn the tool is always a good idea. Sometimes a kind of introduction to break the ice with audio can be good. Especially if you want audio input. Many free text chat, but they do not like to talk online.
Be careful with screen sharing and video. They require a lot of bandwidth that often make the presentation does not work for a lot of attendees. Much better to use screenshots.
Some people take light line commitments. Several presenters never appeared. Some volunteer moderators disappeared when we try to define time for them to cover.
Online conferences have the advantage of being able to have really introductory and advanced topics that will appeal to a narrower audience.