Online Conference/Event README file

Posted

This is a resource I made several years ago when I was co-producing a daily livestreaming show for Learning & Development Professionals called L&D Talk. I’ve revised it a few times since then for other online events and conferences that I’ve been involved with. I just dusted it off yesterday as part of the team creating The Alchemy Lab online eLearning conference as well as a few other online conferences, events, and trainings coming up soon. It seems to hold up.

If you have an online event or show yourself, you need something like this, and you need to send it to every single presenter — and then follow up with them — at least a week before the golive. Use it as you see fit, and hit me up if you need help or have questions about how to run your online event smoothly. I typically send this as a plaintext file.

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Thanks again for agreeing to be a part of [INSERT CONFERENCE NAME HERE]!

We look forward to seeing you in our livestreamed event soon. Please read this entire document beforehand, it’s important to making you look good and ensuring that things run smoothly.

README
+ What you’ll need
+ 30-min before
+ 20-min before
+ 15-min before
+ 10-min before
+ 5-min left
+ Promotion
+ Frequently Asked Questions

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+ WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

√ headphones
√ computer
√ neutral background

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+ THIRTY MINUTES BEFORE: Prep

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1. Lights and Camera come before Action. It helps if your background isn’t a window or light or something bright. Preview from your camera to make sure that what’s behind you isn’t too distracting or embarrassing. Check your lighting and be mindful of any shadows on your face (they can make you look scary). You should be clearly visible and the focus of the shot. If not, change stuff until you are.

2. You might also want to get some water/tea/coffee, change your clothes, clean your glasses/screen, and take care of any other biological or vanity needs.

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+ TWENTY MINUTES BEFORE: Connect

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3. Plug in a wired internet connection (Ethernet, USB, etc.) into your computer (not mobile device) so there’s less to go wrong. If you wanna go all out, check your speed at http://www.speedtest.net/

4. Plug in / connect your headphones (you need these!)

5. Plug in your mic, if needed (external microphone not required)

6. Plug in your camera, if needed (external camera not required)

7. Check that these are all working!!! Check now so you can fix it now, while there’s still time.

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+ FIFTEEN MINUTES BEFORE: Reboot & Mute

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8. Yes, really. Please reboot your computer/device. It’s a sad comment about our beloved technology that this actually helps, but it does.

9. Also mute your cellphone, reminders on your computer, and any other distractions that might want get in on all the fun. If you’re paranoid (like we are), you can use another device such as a tablet or smartphone to monitor your feed as a participant using the general session link. As long as it stays muted, it can be a helpful failsafe to know if anything went wrong.

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+ TEN MINUTES BEFORE: Join

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10. Go to the session link you’ve been provided, and click “JOIN” to join.

11. Say hello. We will NOT be recording yet, but you will be live. Your Host will chat with you for a bit as people filter in, and this is a great time to share some ideas about where the conversation could go. Cue the Host on your final statement, so they know when they hear this that you’re ending. You will be cued by the Host when we go live, and they’ll give you a brief introduction before handing off to you.

12. Ensure that your presentation is ready and sized as you would like on your screen. Provide any Polls or Questions you’d like the Host to paste in and prompt participants with for your session. Plaintext files are the best way to share this with us, because there is no bolding or bullets or formatting of any kind.

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+ TEN MINUTES TO TOP OF THE HOUR: Closing

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- Conclude your presentation between 45-50min after you start. Cue the Host that you have finished your final statement. The Host will then provide some housekeeping notes to the participants. Do not go over your alloted time or we will have to cut you off, and we hate having to do that!

- Please paste your contact information in the chat window (name, email, etc.) and be ready to share & spell your ONE preferred contact method out loud (“I’m at SnapSynapse on Twitter. That’s S-N-A-P-S-Y-N-A-P-S-E.”).

NOTE: Your Host will stop recording upon the close of your session, but remember you are still likely “live and on-air” until you close your browser window.

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+ PROMOTION

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Yes, of course you can help get the word out about your participation in this event!!! Please tell your people via email, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, or where ever else you already have a following. You can post days before or minutes before, or both, whatever works best for you and your audience. Just be sure to use hashtag [INSERT EVENT HASHTAG HERE] and the same link you use to access your session.

You should have already received some customized promotional resources (graphics, text, etc.). If you didn’t see this come through yet, please contact us immediately so we can fix that.

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+ FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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WHAT IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG?
Don’t panic, just calmly mention it. You’re likely still being seen/heard/recorded, even if it doesn’t seem that way.

WHAT IF I GET KICKED OFF?
Sorry! Sometimes these things happen. Just take a deep breath and use the same session link to come back again. Announce in the chat that you’re back, and the Host will bring you back in.

WHAT IF THE HOST GETS KICKED OFF?
Defer to the Co-host if there is one. If not, calmly acknowledge this to participants via video and chat (“Oops! It looks like I’m running things on my own here now. Hopefully someone will come help me here soon, but until then I’d like to continue this session. Thanks for sticking with me here, folks.”). Continue your presentation without any polls or interactivities, you do not have access to run these. The Host will rejoin as soon as possible. If the host has not rejoined by the close of your session, you can wrap-up, sign off, and exit.

WHY DO I HEAR AN ECHO?
Plug in your headphones and turn off any other speakers connected to your device. If you’ve done this and still hear it, just stop talking for a moment and be patient.

DO I HAVE TO WEAR HEADPHONES?
No, you don’t have wear them, but you do need to have them ready in case there is feedback/echo.

WHAT KIND OF HEADPHONES?
Any kind that works with your computer will do. A lot of pros wear them in only one ear and leave the other ear open to hear themselves in the room so they don’t shout. Whatever works for you.

WHAT KIND OF CAMERA/MICROPHONE/GEAR?
Anything that works is great. As long as it’s hooked up right, it doesn’t matter very much.

WHAT BRAND OF BROWSER?
Google Chrome tends to work best. Firefox is also supported. Safari and other browsers are bad idea for this.

CAN I CONNECT MULTIPLE CAMERAS/MICROPHONES?
You can if you can, but take extra special care of things like latency and feedback. This is not for the faint of heart and we cannot provide the tech support for that, sorry.

WHAT KIND OF CLOTHES/MAKEUP/LANGUAGE/ETC.?
Be comfortable but classy. Wear whatever you would to work or a conference. The audience expects to see/hear real people interacting playfully about professional topics. Keep language & content safe for work, so no politics or religion or off-color jokes, please.

CAN I DIAL IN?
No, there is no phone number to call like some webinars, as this is not a webinar. Welcome to livestreaming!

WHERE WILL THIS BE SHARED?
Both the livestream and the recording will be announced on Twitter and LinkedIn, and possibly Facebook. Your help in getting the word out is much appreciated! The full recording and clips from it may also be uploaded to other media such as a podcast or YouTube video.

CAN YOU HELP ME WITH MY TECH SETUP?
Ask nicely (and at least a day or two before your session!), and the answer will be yes! Wait until your session is going live and…probably not. Remember you can always do a web search on the name of the platform and your specific question. Some 15-year-old YouTuber probably has an answer out there already ;)

OTHER QUESTIONS?
Please email us at [INSERT EVENT SUPPORT EMAIL HERE] as soon as you can, and we’ll get back to you just as soon as we can!

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