Hopefully a warning bell is going off in your head right now. Unfortunately, I often run into speakers and webinar producers that treat large webinars with hundreds of attendees like a small internal company meeting. I can’t blame them really. If your technology platform has lots of cool features, it’s tempting to use them all, and sometimes all at once – kind of like piling your ice cream sundae with every delicious topping available at the condiment counter. Unfortunately, that typically leads to a terrible stomach ache.
While you can get away with cool, and very appropriate, features like multiple live streaming webcams and screen sharing in your team meeting of 10 staffers, the 500 attendees in your webinar likely will not have the same pleasant experience.
Here are 6 tips on how to have an engaging and interactive webinar without hoarding bandwidth and frustrating your attendees.
- Trade in the live webcam for a nice headshot of your speaker
- Streaming webcams are bandwidth hogs. Simply upload a jpg picture of your speaker into a Share pod. Besides, many speakers are camera shy or do not know how to perform for the ‘tv’ – some speakers tend to look down at their notes the majority of the time instead of into the camera or they like to move around the room (neither translates well on camera).
- Upload your PPT slide deck or PDF into the room instead of screen sharing
- Using a Share pod to upload your PPT or PDF into the room will reduce bandwidth stress and ensure everyone is on the same page as a delay with screen share can occur for some attendees.
- Consider using Q&A instead of Open Chat
- Using the moderated Q&A option reduces the volume of chat and therefore the bandwidth strain. In addition, open chat in large webinars can distract from the content both visually (with hundreds of chats flying by on the screen) and mentally (taking up mindshare). Not to mention that the audience will sometimes hijack your event and start having their own conversations with each other! However, open chat is a great interactive tool for gathering feedback, brainstorming or asking an open-ended question. For this, it is recommended you bring the Open Chat into the participant area and cover the Q&A until the exercise is over and then take it away.
- Disable raise hands option
- Unless you have a very specific reason for using this feature during your webinar, we recommend you disable this feature for the duration of your event. Several other emoticons will remain at your disposal throughout the event, such as agree or disagree.
- Close polls when you’re done
- Polling is a great interactive feature that is perfect for a webinar setting. To ensure your polls don’t continue eating up bandwidth when you are done collecting answers, be sure to close the poll as this will keep the poll(s) from continuing to use up bandwidth.
- Move the Attendee pod into the Presenter Only Area
- Use this backstage option to move the Attendee pod into the POA. This not only keeps the attendee list private while allowing the hosts and presenters to view and manage the Attendee pod, but also conserves bandwidth and cpu load.
As you prepare for your next webinar, keep your audience size in mind while you come up with creative ways to engage your audience in a bandwidth neutral way.