I never knew how stressful these were!
Previously I worked as an Assistant Headteacher and national consultant/educationalist,trainer, so I am used to talking to an audience, on film, tv and on radio as well.
During 2020, I was asked to film myself a few times for tv news items, symposiums or webinars which became very stressful as I soon learnt my technical equipment was not up to a good standard.
I also found the idea of talking to myself and just a screen slightly odd, even if it was being streamed to a virtual audience but I persevered. Without visual feedback from an actual audience or even one other face, that something else, je ne sais quoi, makes it hard to gauge if your talk is bombing or flying. Suddenly finishing with no wind down was equally discombobulating.
Then you have the hosting, people are relying on you, and this can be completely overwhelming. It hasn’t helped that I’ve been using my old technical equipment which seriously needs updating! I have had to buy lots of new technical ‘bits’ (non-technical word) so listeners/viewers can see or even hear me. SEDS’ webinars are becoming increasingly popular and we aim to roll them out more regularly with established key speakers and professionals (we already have some more lined up), but also showing others ‘issues with tissues’ and educating the public. So, based on my experience of joining webinars and hosting them, I thought I would write some tips:
Ideally engage technical person to help with last minute problems that may occur
If no technical person ask/beg for help
Look at how others do it but realise the easier it looks, the more they have put into it
If recording or keeping CHAT make sure this is clear to attendees
If you tend to fidget (a lot) don’t use a swivel chair, it can be distracting for the audience, probably for your speakers and you will be in and out of shot.
Do adequate planning. Do not rely on others on the day because if they are unable to technically manage it, you are left with nothing but panic. Do try and get in at least 2 others, as you need someone to read the chat, monitor the admissions and one to check the tech. You need to concentrate and try and follow the conversation.
If you invite members with an invitation, very importantly, ensure that they are let in!
Don’t just finish a webinar instantly, the speaker has put a lot of effort in and might prefer to wind down off recording.
JOINING A WEBINAR
If joining a webinar make sure you know how to join, what link do you need, does it work on a ‘phone, mobile laptop or pc?
How to work the speakers and headphones if needed and do you have adequate internet fibre? If you have accessibility issues do you need some sort of assistive software to enable you to join in.
What will you get out of the webinar, what is it that you need to pass on? What ways are there for you to get your point across constructively?
I would advise always joining a few minutes before in case there is a hiccup their end. It does happen then you can be let in late. How do you feel about being late in?
Do you know how to alter your background and make it virtual? Alter your name?
I would exit full screen for zoom
Remove distractions (animals, humans if possible)
Check and update your name. Mute unless invited to speak depending on type of webinar
View options. Have a look at our SEDS youtube site to see how we are getting on!
Find the chat discussion and tiny hand, but if you find that difficult use the cards below which are available to buy from firstname.lastname@example.org
Online Help Cards
Either watch the ‘You’re Mute’ dance on use the card. If in mixed groups, disciplinary groups use accessible language.