Dress (Rehearsal) for Success: The Importance of a Webinar Dry Run

Dress Rehearsal checlistA webinar organizer has many responsibilities throughout the webinar life cycle. One of these is setting up Dress Rehearsals, aka Dry Runs, as the live event approaches. Here are some tips around hosting a successful dry run.

Budget sixty minutes for the dress rehearsal meeting. This is the first time your ensemble is reviewing the content online, so it’s a good time to get everyone comfortable with the content, flow, and timing. Is the format going to be Moderator/ Speaker, Panel Discussion, or Interview Style? This is the moment you breathe life into the messaging. The value of the rehearsal is to hear how your ensemble sounds – this is the only way to know how well the content flows, targets key messages, and where you may have dead air or too much content.

Start shaping your messages and timing

Now, you’re sitting around the virtual table brainstorming with your ensemble. The first dress rehearsal is the opportunity to start shaping your messages and make decisions about the delivery method. If you are doing a webinar solo, consider having either a moderator or another speaker. Audiences prefer multiple voices, a dialogue over a monologue. One moderator and one speaker works, two speakers are better, but going beyond three speakers can be challenging.

When you factor in the welcome, audience polls, and 15 minutes of Q&A at the end, you have about 30-35 minutes to divide among your speakers. Remind the speakers that they are part of an ensemble. Encourage them to become familiar with each other’s style and how their content is positioned in order to create a seamless, effortless flow between the speakers.

The Importance of the Sound Check

Remember, the voice is the instrument to connect with the audience. Poor use of sound devices from open microphones and speakers on a computer can bring a webinar to a halt. Make sure you do several sound checks during rehearsals to ensure broadcast quality sound.

Importance of a Webinar Sound Check

Additional tips for dress rehearsal

• Review the agenda (prepare a slide).
• Have the ensemble introduce themselves.
• Cover housekeeping issues:
• How registration is tracking
• Revisit the invitation
• Review the webinar objectives and desired outcomes
• Confirm where the speakers will be on webinar day
• Conduct a sound check
• If slides are available, review the slides from each presenter, reorganize slides as you go along, make changes, and get speaker input.
• Guide the speakers to include a few “real zingers” in their content so the audience says, “Wow, I didn’t know that!” and they have an “Ah-hah” moment.

Never underestimate the value of a dress rehearsal and great audio. For even more tips on how to prepare your speaker for your next webinar see Best Practices for Preparing Speakers and Materials for Webinars.

 

 

 

 

Upload Your 16:9 PowerPoint Slidedeck Today

16:9 powerpoint

 

In order to accommodate wider screens and HD formats, the default size for PowerPoint 2013 slides is now 16:9. The recent ReadyTalk visual enhancements not only support this new format, but the collapsible controls create a bigger more enhanced experience for your presentation. This new format ultimately is a better fit, since it no longer adjusts the larger slides to the older, boxier 4:3 size. 

If you prefer to  keep your slides in the 4:3 format, feel free as the system will continue to support it. If you would like to experience the new change however, you will need to reload your 16:9 formatted PowerPoint into the ReadyTalk meeting interface. To do so, follow the instructions below:

  • If you need to convert your slides to the new version within PowerPoint:

    • Go to Design tab> Select Slide> Widescreen (16:9)
    • Hit Save
  • Next, open your ReadyTalk meeting controls through Quick Launcher or Conference Center
  • Delete your old slides from the Presentation Bar
  • Upload your new PowerPoint deck to your ReadyTalk interface, by clicking the
    “Insert & Manage” button on the tool bar and following the prompts.

Please note, if you have already uploaded a 16:9 slide deck prior to this enhancement, you will need to re-upload your slides again to fully see the change.

How has the new 16:9 format helped your meetings? Let us know by leaving a note below.

Dress (Rehearsal) for Success:

Gather the ensemble for dress rehearsals

In addition to the kickoff call, the webinar organizer has the responsibility of setting up Dress Rehearsals as the live event approaches. Budget sixty minutes for the dress rehearsal meeting. This is the first time your ensemble is reviewing the content online, so it’s a good time to get everyone comfortable with the content, flow, and timing. Is the format going to be Moderator/ Speaker, Panel Discussion, or Interview Style? This is the moment you breathe life into the messaging.
The value of the rehearsal is to hear how your ensemble sounds – this is the only way to know how well the content flows, targets key messages, and where you may have dead air (remove comma here) or too much content.


Start shaping your messages and timing


Now, you’re sitting around the virtual table brainstorming with your ensemble. The first dress rehearsal is the opportunity to start
shaping your messages and make decisions about the delivery method.
If you are doing a webinar solo, consider having either a moderator or another speaker. Audiences prefer multiple voices, a dialogue
over a monologue. One moderator and one speaker works, two speakers are better, but going beyond three speakers can be challenging.
When you factor in the welcome, audience polls, and 15 minutes of Q&A at the end, you have about 30-35 minutes to divide among your
speakers. Remind the speakers that they are part of an ensemble. Encourage them to become familiar with each other’s style and how
their content is positioned in order to create a seamless, effortless flow between the speakers.
The Importance of the Sound Check
Remember, the voice is the instrument to connect with the audience. Poor use of sound devices from open microphones and speakers on
a computer can bring a webinar to a halt. Make sure you do several sound checks during rehearsals to ensure broadcast quality sound.

Did you notice? Your meeting controls changed today

As of today you may have noticed some visual changes to your ReadyTalk meeting controls.

This is the first phase of a plan to create a more modern, intuitive interface that will improve the collaborative meeting experience while preserving the meeting interface for presentation oriented meetings. We think these changes enhance and clean up the meeting controls while giving you more real estate when presenting.

These initial enhancements are designed to create more content sharing space:

  • The Insert and Manage buttons moved into the presentation area.
  • The Previous and Next buttons, the Full Screen button, and the Annotation Tools moved to the content share area. (These tools automatically expand when you hover your cursor on the content share area. Likewise these tools will automatically collapse after a few seconds when your cursor leaves the content share area.)
  • The presentation bar can now be collapsed, giving you more real estate for sharing content. When you are the chairperson or co-presenter, the presentation bar will automatically collapse when another co-presenter shares their desktop. The additional space makes it easier to see what is being shared. 

As you can see in the side by side below and the collapsed presentation view below that, significant space has been saved by moving those buttons as well as providing a more sleek and intuitive layout for chairpersons and co-presenters. 

  sidebyside

slides collapsed

So, why are we doing this?

We recognize that our controls are great for presentation-oriented meetings like product demos, training, webinars, etc… However, that leaves out a lot of users who use our service for more collaborative meetings. The end goal is to allow the chairperson to choose the type of meeting that works for them whether that is a collaborative meeting or a presentation.

Over the next several months, we'll be developing and testing more enhancements to our controls. If you'd like to be involved in this testing we'd love to have you on board! We are forming a customer insights team to help give early feedback on new product ideas and enhancements. Email cit@readytalk.com if you'd like to become a member.

If you have any questions or feedback please leave it in the comments below. For some best practices on utilizing web conferencing for better team collaboration check out the blog. 

How Much Time Do You Spend on Email? You’d be surprised!

time spent on emailHow much time do you spend on email in a day?

The average “office worker,” according to a Mail Online article, spends about two and a half hours every day on email.  If you do the math, that translates to 81 days per year.  Mobile devices contribute to that figure as emails are checked and responded to outside of the office. Conversely, the article goes on to say that 14% or 6.4 hours per week, is spent communicating and collaborating internally.

How else could you be spending that time?

While emails are a necessary part of most every work environment, we can’t lose the human component of collaboration. If we make collaboration part of our every-day workflow, would that make us more connected with our peers? Would our work be more creative? Better efficient?

We recently launched a set of Connectivity Tools designed to make the starting a meeting faster than ever before, especially from the applications you use the most. ReadyTalk for Outlook integration lets you collaborate directly from your Outlook inbox–start, join and invite others to your meetings without opening another application.

Do you feel that you spend a lot of time on email? What tips and tricks help keep the collaboration alive in your business? Tell us what you think, by leaving a comment below.

Need to see more? Watch this 2 minute video to see how easy it is to get setup with the ReadyTalk for Outlook Scheduler.