It’s always fascinated me how many people show up early for a webinar. Schedule an event for 2pm and some people will start arriving at 1:30pm while others join exactly at the top of the hour.
Calendar reminders are often setup to remind you 15 minutes before your next meeting. For any large webinar, you can expect a first rush of participants 15 minutes prior to your start time and it’s good to be prepared for them. Adobe Connect provides for several ways of dealing with early participants. You can place the room on hold or block incoming attendees if you’re still setting up the room. By doing this though, I feel that you’re missing an opportunity to start engaging with your participants. Whenever I see a message that the session hasn’t started yet, I move on to some other activity – and there’s a chance I might forget to return. Besides, using ‘Prepare Mode’ gives you the ability to continue setting up additional layouts and upload content in the background without anyone knowing.
Creating a virtual lobby in your Adobe Connect room enables you to bring the early arrivals directly into the room. A lobby is an opportunity to get people excited, engaged, and even entertained. Nearly every large in-person event I’ve attended uses music to ramp up the excitement before the speaker takes the stage. A virtual lobby can use this same concept by playing an MP3 file or even video. A self-running looping presentation can be used to let everyone know how to participate in the event or to promote what they’ll be learning about during the session. Chat pods and polls can be used to help everyone get used to participating and engaging.
You have a captive audience when participants arrive early to your room. Whether it’s a large webinar, a meeting, or a virtual classroom, it only make sense to see that audience as an opportunity to engage. Don’t lock them out – invite them into your lobby and create an atmosphere that will build excitement for the upcoming content.
In the video below, I walk through the process of creating a lobby layout from scratch and some of the content I like to include in a lobby layout.