The use of webcasts has increased dramatically due to their cost-effectiveness and time-efficiency. However, event professionals need to consider tools to ensure they’re maximising the success of the webcast by keeping their online audience just as engaged as those in-room. Here are some tips on how to create webcasts that will keep attendees focused on learning, not on checking their e-mail.
Because webcasts are relatively easy to produce, inexpensive to host, and bring geographically far-flung participants together with the click of a mouse, they have become ubiquitous in the world of corporate events. But when poorly designed and executed, they run the risk of failing at the very thing they are designed to achieve—increasing reach and audience size. A disembodied voice accompanying a deluge of uninteresting slides becomes an open invitation for participants to check e-mail, complete charts, read their Twitter feed, or surf the Web, while remaining somewhat tuned in to the content.
To overcome the passivity that is inherent in a webcast format, it’s critical to design and plan for interactivity so that participants engage directly with the content you want them to absorb.
Here are some best practices for keeping your webcast audience engaged.>
1. Present with your webcast audience in mind
The long established way of delivering content at corporate events involves a speaker presenting on stage accompanied by slides. Event planners need to refresh this format to ensure both online and in-room audiences are catered for.
Here are a few tips to update your presenting style:
- Address your webcast attendees throughout the event.
It’s best practice for the MC to include the webcast audience when welcoming the event attendees. If there is an event hashtag to be communicated, ensure the webcast attendees are encouraged to join in as well. Lastly, throughout the event, ensure you continue to acknowledge your online audience.
- Eye contact is still important.
Let your presenters know where the cameras are prior to the event and ask them to look into the cameras every now and then to mask the effect of eye-contact with online audiences.
- Keep your webcast audience on track
Make sure your webcast attendees have access to the same documents as your in-room audience. Staging Connections’ webcast platform allows you to upload a variety of downloadable documents to ensure your webcast experience mirrors the in-room one for your event attendees. If you plan on referring to these documents throughout your presentation, give your webcast attendees ample notice so they have time to download and can use them when referred to. Similarly, if you reference information from a document, remind your presenter to clearly instruct the webcast attendees what document you’re referring to so everyone’s on the same page.
2. Get your audience talking
Almost every conference, exhibition, awards night or gala dinner you attend these days are encouraging the use of social media. If event attendees are posting on social media regardless, your brand may as well jump on board and reap the benefits of the amplified exposure and user-generated content. As a web based channel, it is also the one element of your event in which both in-room and webcast audiences will have the same experience with. Hence, encourage social conversation so your webcast audience can feel just as involved and contribute to the event. Staging Connections’ webcast platform allows event professionals to embed a live social media window into their webcast skin, displaying a constant feed of social posts surrounding the event’s hashtag. Typically, social events such as gala dinners, charity nights or awards night which are webcast live have a better uptake of the social media feature. This also holds true for the Chat feature.
If social media isn’t the right dialogue for your event demographic, the alternate solution is a Chat feature which can be also be embedded into the Staging Connections webcast skin with the added benefit of moderation. Naturally, the chat feature is only available to your live webcast audience, but it’s a useful tool for encouraging discussion, whilst also providing them with an exclusive experience. A novel way to engage your webcast attendees is to use the Chat feature for competitions and quizzes with the first correct answer as the winner.
3. Interactivity via live audience polling
A clever tactic for keeping your audience engaged throughout your event is by asking them questions. Polling your audience has a myriad of uses and benefits rendering it a universal audience engagement tactic no matter the style of your event. The questions can be used as ice-breakers, for knowledge testing at the end of a session or even for voting on Best Dressed at gala dinners. Event Poll is a live audience polling platform exclusively offered by Staging Connections which can be embedded into your presentation slides as well as Staging Connections’ webcast platform. It allows both your in-room and webcast audience to respond to questions in real-time using their mobile device or desktop with the answers displayed instantly on screen. We’ve previously explained 25 reasons why event professionals love Event Poll so to ensure you’re also getting the most out it, here’s some helpful tips:
- Introduce Event Poll at the beginning of your event and be sure to include your webcast audience and explain how it works and how they access it. An effective way to check all attendees, both in-room and webcast, can use Event Poll is to ask a simple ice-breaker question such as ‘Where have you come from today?’.
- Ensure you alternate taking questions between the physical and webcast audience. Do not ignore the online audience! Doing so will alienate them. This is where using the embedded live audience polling platform, Event Poll, comes in handy as all questions are displayed in the one location, regardless of the askers location.
- Allow time to discuss the results of each poll and any follow up questions that may result, time permitting of course.
4. Best Practices for Slides for webcasting
Event professionals should consider the design of their presentation slides to ensure it caters for webcast audiences. Staging Connections’ webcast platform gives you the option of housing only the live recording within the webcast skin, or both the live recording and synchronised presentation slides side-by-side. If you have opted for the former, than the below points provide a helpful guide for designing slides that work for webcasting.
- Review slides for readability - Regardless of whether you prefer to use PowerPoint, Keynote, Google Slides, or Prezi, you’ll want to make sure that your presentation slides are easily readable. For maximum readability, contrast is the key. We recommend sticking to either to black text on a light background.
- Use images that illustrate your point in a dramatic, memorable way (graphs, pictures, drawings, etc.)
- Don't rely on too much text, and whatever you do, don’t read slides aloud word for word.
- Use a maximum of three or four bullet points per slide.
- Use your pointer to highlight key points on the slide.
Why event professionals choose Staging Connections for webcasting
By planning ahead and implementing a variety of engagement tactics tailored for webcast audiences, you’ll maximise the effectiveness of your event. Staging Connections offers Australia’s most customisable webcasting platform that can be custom designed to look like an extension of your brand. On top of its flexible design, many event professionals choose Staging Connections for webcasting due to the variety of embedded features available which have been included purely for the purpose of enhancing the experience for webcast attendees. When webcasting your next event, ensure you consider incorporating downloadable documents, social media, online chat and live audience polling into your presentation to maximise engagement.
Interested in webcasting your next event or taking your event webcast to the next level? Our team of event experts have the ideas to take your event where it needs to go. Speak to a Staging Connections representative today by calling 1800 209 099 or send an online enquiry.
This article was written by General Manager of Digital, Tim Chapman.