Friday, October 12, 2007

Web Conference Review

I had the pleasure of attending two more riveting web meetings this week. There were a lot more pluses than minuses, but I have several of each to share with you.

The good:
  • Both used live polls to tailor their content to the audience, which made parts of the presentation much more relevant. (For the conference that actually seemed to be changing things during the conference, it looked like the presenter chose which graphs/slides to show while the poll results were up. To copy him, just make alternate versions of audience-dependent slides and show/hide them in your presentation while the audience is looking at something else, like poll results. Don't try to paste in new images - you run too many technical risks.)
  • Both started at 5 after the hour, but scheduled the presentation to start right on the hour. The time change was announced on the welcome screen, so it was only visible after login. The upside of this? Everything got off to a smooth start, and most of the attendants were there for the first slide.
  • Vibrant, energetic, captivating speakers. Speakers who weren't reading off of scripts, speakers who actually cared about their topics and were well-prepared.
  • I learned that Wainhouse Research has proclaimed ease of use the most important factor in choosing new collaborative technology, by an overwhelming margin.

The bad:
  • Made-up words like "rearchitecting"...please, there are so many real words in English that never get used. Try them first.
  • One presenter wasn't familiar with his slides, which led lot of flipping around. This was good in that it kept the presentation informal and friendly, but kind of annoying on my screen. The speaker's talent made up for lots of these gaffes.
  • One presentation was full of what I will affectionately call "Digg content" - a lot of unsupported generalizations and statistics without sources (and sometimes even without graph just compared 75% to 26%). Your audience is already online, and verification is just a few clicks away.
The takeaways:
  • Speak well and plan well
  • Accommodate your audience in content and timing
  • Know your presentation
  • Check your facts and give your sources
  • Make it easy for your participants to attend - send reminders, overstate the login information, overstate your goals
I also had the pleasure of sitting in on a conference call, which prompted the following tip:
If you have questions about your individual contract, role, tasks, performance, hairstyle, etc., do everyone a favor and save them for a private call. I didn't enjoy being late for my next task because a remote co-worker didn't know when her contract expired.

1 comment:

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