Webinar Hosts, Speakers and Participants That Make Us Go Hmmmm
Barking dogs and crying babies? Goes without saying. Gate change and all aboard announcements? Been there, done that. The potato chip cruncher? The nose blower? Yes, we’ve all been on that webinar. (Think I still take the cake, though, for the sales meeting which a colleague took from the shower. But that’s another story.) From the sublime to the ridiculous, webinar hosts, presenters and participants are guilty of more than seven deadly sins, but we’re choosing a few doozies for your delight or despair.
Mute me, will you?
Some of the webinars we produce require participant audio lines to remain open. We advise participants to mute their lines when not speaking and that we’ll mute any lines causing audio interference. Most follow instructions. Some forget, and we mute lines. A few, however…. Well, let’s just talk about “Guest 36.” Guest 36 was either participating from a tarmac or having her hair blown out during the meeting, so our operator muted the line. Guest 36 unmuted it. Mute. Unmute. Mute. Unmute. Our operator sent a private note to Guest 36, indicating the line was being muted due to extreme background noise. Guest 36 wondered how she was supposed to know her line was too noisy. Participants, if you’re hearing background noise where you are, it’s you. If an operator mutes you, it’s you. And if you really don’t think it’s you, most webinar software will show you when your line is active. If you’re not talking but your line is, it’s you. Please, as a courtesy to your fellow participants, embrace the mute button.
Raise your hand if you can’t hear me
Speakers are human. Occasionally the power goes out and the connections drop. Coughing fits happen. Lines get flubbed. Sometimes the presenter forgets the medium for a minute. And that’s okay, for a minute. But the presenter who asks – verbally – that participants unable to hear the audio send a message? Okay, in a classroom, a ballroom, an auditorium, you get that “can’t hear you” buzz from the room. But with most webinars, there’s no live visual. So if they can’t hear you over the webinar audio, and they can’t see you either…?? Once, fair enough. Twice, ooookay. Third time? Speakers, remember that your audience is not in the room. Meet the needs of your audience in the medium – post a message to the whiteboard, send a chat, launch a poll.
Duct tape is not an acceptable audio solution
Some companies get an A+ when it comes to engaging remote employees, analysts, clients, investors, prospects, etc., and some get an F. Lots of factors go into those grades, but audio is definitely high on the list. There is nothing more frustrating than being “part” of a meeting in which you can’t hear the speaker, the sidebar conversations or much of anything. If you’re hosting an event and planning to include remote attendees, please, make a choice: do your remote attendees really matter? If so, do it right – a professional webinar production with quality audio. If you don’t have the facilities to produce quality audio, find them. There are professional studios you can use (yes, Intellor Group has a professional production and recording studio just outside Washington, DC) and there is hardware you can buy. (We don’t sell it, but we produce, so drop us a line if you’d like to pick our brains.) If those remote attendees aren’t critical and you don’t have the facilities to support them, please, don’t waste their time.
Glutton for punishment? Come back next month for the rest of the story.