Friday, 6 January 2017

Giving an Online Presentation - My Two Pence

Over the last year I've been involved in hosting Lunch and Learns for my colleagues. The topic of these talks varies, but will typically be about:

 - Recent Projects
 - Software Updates
 - Lessons Learnt
 - Discussions on new thoughts and ideas

As a host I see lots of the pro's and cons of giving presentations in this format. Here are a few of my observations.

Viewer Etiquette 

As a viewer or observer there are certain things you should think about:
  1.   The obvious here is mute your phone if you're not speaking. Nothing worse then when somebodies dog starts barking mid webex (you know who you are).
  2. If you join the call especially late, consider that a question may have already been asked whilst you were away. I'd recommend saving questions until the end unless about something that has only just started to be talked about. Late comers - save obvious questions until the end.
  3. Wait for a pause before you ask a question, some presenters struggle to get back into the flow.
  4. Read the call details this includes conference numbers you may think you know.

Presenter Etiquette

As a presenter you also have some responsibilities for a talk
  1. Agendas, bios and presentation titles should be specific. People should be able to see if they want to attend from the title alone. The agenda or description is to give people additional context and/or links.
  2. When reading chat conversations, you should always repeat the question as not everyone will be reading the online chat, they may be phone only and chat text may not be recorded for future watching.
  3. Silence is golden. There's a certain shyness to a webex audience. Don't be put off by long pauses. If it's a question time and no one speaks after 30 seconds, presume there are none and continue. 
  4. Live demos will always fail in some way, whether small or magnificent. It is much better to record the demo to play whilst you talk.
  5. Lots of text won't hold an audience. Short and punchy is key.
  6. Leave time for questions

Host Etiquette

As a host you will need to make sure the observers and presenters are maintaining good webex practices whilst doing some key things yourself.
  1. Test connection and have a dry run with the presenters before the webex. 
  2. Make sure the invite is right before you send as there's nothing worse then multiple emails from one person per week that aren't relevant to your day job.
  3. Ask the presenter about how they want questions asked.
  4. Keep all other participants toeing the line, as a host you are responsible for someone giving up their free time. Somebody coughing because they haven't muted, bad connection, inaudible presenter and no recording are all down to the host.
  5. Have a backup host in case of catastrophe. The show must go on.
So these are my do's and dont's for webex/lunch and learns. Let me know if you think anything needs adding!

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