As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses had to adopt remote working conditions to continue operations. For the most part, productivity seems to have remained high with the acceleration of virtual meetings. It looks like many companies will continue offering at-home work opportunities moving forward.
Therefore, live webcasting will continue to be an essential element for hosting larger gatherings and presentations including town halls, annual company meetings, and other events that would otherwise be held in person. For these events, you would usually have a team working with you and be able to rely on the infrastructure of the venue for much of what you need. The new reality is that you will now likely have to rely on a virtual team and virtual environment to hold these types of events.
What elements of a webcast should be considered?
Naturally, as a business leader, you’ll be keen to provide the same level of professionalism via webcasting as you would in person. This is imperative to getting your message across and ensuring the audience stays engaged. To help guide you, here are some details to help you look and sound your best for an unforgettable broadcast.
Good audio is the most important element of a presentation. You can have lousy video or now video at all but if the audio is bad your ability to communicate can be severely affected. If you’re hosting a meeting with a couple of people on Zoom, you can probably get away with the microphone embedded in your laptop. Modern laptops have fantastic mics and, for the most part, will do a good job.
However, if your laptop is older or if you’re working on a PC, or if you’re hosting an event where professional audio is key, you should invest in an external USB microphone or a microphone headset. Good quality sound ensures that your message is delivered clearly and reduces the chance of poor quality or low-volume audio, which never provides a pleasant experience for your viewers.
The most crucial lighting tip is to remember that light should always shine on you from the front and not the back. If you’re using separate lighting, place it behind your webcam to put you in the best lighting position. You can order portable lighting kits to quickly improve the quality of your broadcast. You also want to ensure that the lighting isn’t too bright as it will wash out your face and make it harder for your audience to concentrate.
Unfortunately, not everyone can pick and choose where they operate when working remotely. You might be forced to work from a room that isn’t ideal for broadcasting. However, if possible, try to find somewhere quiet away from distractions, such as deliveries, pets, or family members. If you’re in the office, find somewhere that will have less human traffic or people passing behind
Given that most of us have had to experience remote working challenges, most people understand occurrences such as a child running in the room or a dog barking. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your best to be positioned somewhere that ensures your live webcast remains professional and focused on the topic at hand.
I can’t tell you how many times the door bell has rung more than once during a presentation. I now put a note on it to just leave the package when I’m on an important call!
As a rule of thumb, your backdrop shouldn’t be distracting. You want your audience to be focused on what you’re saying, not the cute dog pictures on your bookshelf. Some video conference software lets you blur your background or add a fun background image. If you plan on going for the latter, keep things tidy and professional. Nobody wants to look at you on a beach for an hour.
If you’re holding a major business conference, investing in a professional backdrop might be a good idea. These are large sheets that you can prop up behind you that either advertises your business or keep things neutral.
If your webcast is from the office and you plan to have guest speakers, it’s a good idea to invest in proper stage settings. Doing this will create a more comfortable environment for the speakers and a more natural look for those watching. Also, it looks excellent to wider audiences if you plan to upload the webcast on Youtube or other platforms.
- Internet connectivity
Ensure that you have a good internet connection before the event starts. You should run some tests beforehand and check your internet speed to ensure that everything will run without interruption.
What should you avoid?
There are some common mistakes you should avoid if your webcast is to be a success. If it’s your first time, it’s natural that there are some hiccups, but the aim is to minimize them to make the online experience as professional as possible.
- Sending wrong links
We can get bogged down with emails and calendar events, so it’s easy to accidentally send your attendees the wrong link. Ensure that the link works by sending it to yourself and your team first. If you’re using a web streaming service like LiveMeeting to broadcast your event and add functionions like voting, polling and questions, make sure you share the right URL for the event, not the URL for the Zoom call with the host/panel. Zoom bombing is a real thing it’s good practice to keep the Zoom URL tightly held.
- Not practicing before going live
Do some practice runs before going live to ensure everything is in working order. Get someone from your team to help you check whether the sound and lighting work and whether your location is suitable.
Practicing also allows you to work on your introduction and other presentation details, cutting out what doesn’t work in the process. It’s important to look directly at the camera as much as possible to maintain eye contact and avoid looking shifty.
- What software should you use?
For the most part, popular webcasting software such as Zoom and Skype will work, especially if you are presenting to a smaller number of people, such as a town hall meeting. However, if your event is for a large audience, you might have some difficulties, as they can have issues handling large numbers.
Instead, you could opt for webinar software, which enables you to present to large audiences with better connectivity. However, this type of solution offers fewer interactive tools.
Whichever software you choose, ensure that it’s capable of handling the number of people you plan to present to.
Host a professional webcast with a fully managed solution
Although these tips are simple on their own, they can add up to a big nightmare if you struggle with technology. Even the best do-it-yourself platforms can prove cumbersome to operate while simultaneously streaming, so to ensure a smooth-running webcast that takes all the worry about tech away from you, call in a professional production team for the best webcasting experience possible.
The LiveMeeting team will provide all audio, lighting, and visual elements you need to look and sound your best, along with the technical infrastructure we fully manage, so all you have to do is focus on hosting your event.
Give us a call today to discover how our streaming solutions help provide an excellent webcast experience for you and your attendees.