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Warning: Hot Coffee Can Burn You! (Part I)

Posted by James Kenly on
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Webinars the Easy WayDo you remember when that woman sued McDonald's because she ordered a hot coffee, spilled it all over herself and got burned? In addition to a significant financial compensation, the result of the case was that companies serving hot beverages must print on the cup that the beverage is hot and it can cause burns.

If you're like me, and I know I am, you probably thought "Are you kidding m!?!" and put a perplexed look on your face. This reaction is a result of something nearly everyone (with the obvious exception of the woman who sued McDonald's) has -- common sense. And in this case, it is a combination of common sense and an expertise in how hot and cold work.

This article is the warning message on your conferencing "coffee" -- if you don't have an expertise in conferencing, these may not come to mind as common sense, but once you host a few webinars you'll forget the time you didn't know these best practices for ReadyTalk webinars:

1. Your audience cannot see you. You're on the phone and you are manipulating a web-based application that they can see. As a general rule of thumb, if you can't see yourself on the computer, your audience can't see you either.

2. The chat feature is typed, not spoken. If your audience is in "Listen Only" mode, they can still chat -- but only with their fingers!

3. If you are using Broadcast Audio (sending sound over the internet to participants' computer speakers), your participants are not on the phones and cannot speak to you. Hint: Do NOT ask the Operator to unmute Bill's line -- he's not on a line!

4. The private speaker pre-conference is not heard by your audience -- it is private, which also means it is not recorded. This is your chance to chat privately with the other speakers and the operator.

5. If you don't want to answer certain questions, assign a co-worker to screen chat questions and you'll be set up for success.

6. If your participants are in Listen Only mode or listening via Broadcast Audio, don't do a soundcheck as a part of your introduction. "Hi everyone, thanks for being here! So can everybody hear me okay? ... hello? ...is this thing on?"  It is -- they just have no way of speaking back at you!  On a similar note, don't tell call-and-response jokes like knock-knocks either! For whatever it's worth, we appreciate the desire to do this, which is why we conduct a formal soundcheck during pre-conference!

7. If you don't tell people about your webinar, no one will attend. Send invitations, publicize the registration link, share it on social media -- do it all ahead of time!

8. If you have international speakers, you must book an international speaker dial-in number because they cannot dial US 800 numbers. Similarly, if you have an international audience and you are not using Broadcast Audio, you must book international participant dial-in numbers for each country that might be dialing in.

9. Video clip playback is a great option for sharing video clips with your audience -- use it!  If you try to share a video by sharing your desktop and pulling up YouTube, the only way your audience can hear the audio is by you putting the phone up to your computer speakers -- which will make for poor audio quality. 

10. Present ideas in numbers people are used to -- 3, 5 and perhaps best of all, 10!

Don't get burned because you didn't think through your webinar -- keep reading the blog for more great ideas on setting up and running your ReadyTalk webinars and call your Account Manager to set up your event today!


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