When you are preparing a webinar, there are so many things to sort out - the technology, the marketing, and of course the content. With all that to contend with, it's easy to overlook the physical space where the webinar is going to happen. But 'getting the room right' can be the key to a successful broadcast.
So, having recently become involved in webinars myself, here's my pre-webinar checklist:
- If you are in an office environment, have you made everyone nearby aware that a webinar is taking place? A note on the meeting room door should prevent many an inopportune interruption (try saying that three times fast!).
- Again in an office environment, have you booked the room? The last thing you want is another group barging in because they have booked it for their 3pm team catch-up.
- Is there enough physical space in the room? If one of the participants needs to leave the room suddenly (for example if they are having a coughing fit), can they do so without clambering over anyone else?
- What about background noise? Clunky air-con or even an overworked laptop fan close to the mic can cause issues.
- Does the room have wired internet, and if so, is it being used? It's better not to rely just on wifi if possible.
- Are there enough power sockets in the room? If devices are not going to be plugged in, do they have enough charge to last for the entire length of the broadcast and then some?
- Are mobile phones on silent, or if possible turned off? (Even a vibrating phone can distract a speaker.) What about other devices that can make noise unexpectedly, such as laptops that ping when an email comes in?
- Have you used all the devices for a webinar before? It may be that you need to download a plugin to launch the requisite software - and you don't want to be doing that with 30 seconds to go...
- Do all the speakers have a glass of water? And are these in a sensible place (easily within reach, but not liable to destroy a laptop if knocked over)?
- Is a fire drill scheduled to take place during your webinar? Sounds unlikely, but it might be worth double checking.
- Finally, has everyone been to the toilet? Nerves can do funny things...