Guest Author: Marc Gutman, Lighthouse Conferencing
Let’s face it. The location of our global workforce is changing. Not all of us work in an “office” these days. More and more companies are turning to work-at-home employees and more and more employees are electing to work from home. Even if we are office based we are living and working in a mobile and virtual world. We’re on the road, covering for our spouse when needed, and often times we elect to work from home in order to get more done without all the typical office distractions.
We are also seeing more and more of our customers and partners conduct webinar hosting from their home. This presents (pun intended) a specific set of concerns and challenges. In addition to our normal webinar checklist. Here are some tips on hosting webinars from the home office:
- Take the home landline off the hook – My wife loves the landline. She also loves old fashioned style phones. So we have a really cool, retro style phone that has a really cool, retro (ergo LOUD) ring. If that thing were to receive a call during a presentation my archive would be toast. Since we use a VoIP service at home, I simply unplug from our router to avoid any disturbances. Before we had VoIP I’d take the phone off the hook and wrap in a blanket so I wasn’t disturbed by the fast busy of the phone.On this note, prep for any other unexpected sounds. I use a Plantronics headset and it has a cool feature that it will beep in your ear when you’re away from your phone. However that feature is triggered by a speaker on my phone that hears the ring. It doesn’t differentiate between a ring or a voice and the headset will beep if using the speakerphone. I know to put the headset in a drawer if presenting from the speakerphone. Be aware of any other little sounds that can diminish and distract from your audio quality. Turning your cell phone OFF – not just muting – is also a good one to remember. I’ve had my phone “quack” in the middle of an event and it’s more embarrassing than funny or endearing.
- Put a sign on the front door – I always tape a note on a full sheet of paper in big letters that says “IMPORTANT MEETING IN PROGRESS. QUIET PLEASE. DO NOT KNOCK OR RING THE DOORBELL. THANK YOU”. This has worked in preventing any unwanted doorbells or disturbances.
- Beware of dog – I have the world’s greatest dog. A sweetheart Golden Retriever named Lucy that sleeps at my feet as I work. She doesn’t say “boo” ever. Sound like your dog? Well, not too long ago I was on a webinar presenting from home, Lucy sleeping at my feet and out of nowhere she starts hacking and coughing. I was mortified and certainly rattled as I tried to get her out of my home office and out of earshot of the phone. Now I make sure that the dog is outside at the least, with the neighbor, or I arrange with my wife to take the dog for a walk during my hour presentation.
- Alert loved ones so they stay loved ones – work the schedule with your spouse, kids, roommate, whatever. Let them know you have an important call and need them to be gone for an hour and twenty minutes. Don’t trust your kids to be content with watching a movie on Netflix. Right when you think they’re fine they come in during your presentation crying for a Go-gurt. Trust me, it’s happened.
- The camera doesn’t lie – If using video, really think about your background. Do you want your audience to see the weird piece of art your grandma gave you? Is the tastefully done nude appropriate for your presentation? Even Though you’re working from home you’re still representing your company. If you can’t rearrange your camera to capture a good background consider purchasing or building a background. Light blues look great.
Lighthouse Conferencing is a Adobe Connect strategic partner that offers everything from creating a reservationless conference call to audio and web conferencing. Find and learn more about Lighthouse Conferencing at http://www.lighthouseconferencing.com/, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
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