A 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.
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.