A webcast provides the immediacy of important messaging, the personable feel of a face-to-face meeting, and interactive engagement with employees. You can use webcasting to host meetings between management and staff members in remote locations – think of it as a virtual town hall.
Webcasts have a one-to-many format, with a small panel of presenters (usually one or two) presenting to a larger audience where the audience interacts through polling questions and live Q&A with the presenters.
How to Prepare for Your Webcast
When preparing for a webcast, make sure that all the presenters understand:
- The format of the presentation (panel, single speaker, single speaker with a moderator)
- The length of the presentation and how much time should be reserved for Q&A
- The delivery options for slide content (PowerPoint, animations, polls, desktop sharing, video clips, etc.)
Make sure the speakers understand the format and parameters for the presentation. They should prepare and stage their content in advance. Speakers will want to plan for moments where they can ask polling questions of the audience, and have them reply through the on-screen mechanisms. When doing so, speakers will need to plan content to deliver while the audience is responding to the poll so there is no dead air.
Use a Variety of Visuals
Webcast audience are more likely to stay focused and engaged with changing visuals. It is recommended that the content on the screen change every two to three minutes. This can be done by using animated PowerPoint, polling questions, video clips, screen sharing or virtually any other type of content.
PowerPoint slides provide additional information in a creative, compelling way. However, attendees don’t respond well to slides with too much text. Use graphs, short bullet points and animations to keep the content on screen fresh and interesting.
Also, be sure to use the PowerPoint as a cue for what you want to say, not as a script to be read from. Treating a PowerPoint file as a script is a surefire way to bore your audience.
Finally, remember to use your best public speaking skills when presenting online. It’s important to be upbeat and excited about what you’re presenting – smile while you speak! If you’re on video, be sure to look at the camera and maintain (virtual) “eye contact” with your audience.
The Main Event
Your webcast begins the moment an attendee logs in to the session, about 10 to 15 minutes before the actual start time. Make sure that the viewers who arrive early are engaged from the moment they join.
Take this opportunity to play music and display a slideshow of quarterly news, employee anniversaries, pre-recorded videos, or polling questions to give the audience something to interact with while they wait.
Start on time, and end on time.
Take your presentation seriously, but don’t be afraid to have a sense of humor. Information is always received better if it is delivered in an entertaining way.
Poll your audience members to make sure they are paying attention and comprehending the information you are sharing with them. This is very helpful if you are running a training session or some other educational event.
The Q&A Session
Build in time to take questions from the audience during the presentation. When answering audience questions, remember:
- Read the text of the question and who it was from. Audience members like to feel as though they are a part of the presentation.
- Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.” If you’re not sure about an answer, let the audience member know you’ll follow up with them after the session with a response.
- If you don’t have time for all the questions, follow up after the webcast, either live or with a post-webcast email.
While webcasting has a one-to-many format, it is not a one-way street. The best communicators respond to audience input and feedback.
We can help you with every step of your virtual town hall, or a webcast meeting with your work-from-home employees. Reach out to start a discussion.