What NOT To Do on Your Next Webcast


Imagine you’re hosting a webinar with a whole lot of important people involved, and something goes SO wrong that you fear losing your job.

This is one lesson you can learn from someone else’s epic faux pas.

The webinar production team didn’t get the call I’ll spare you the story of the company’s politics. Suffice it to say that the writers of Game of Thrones might have found another storyline.

The challenge? The company is going to have a HUGE PR event using web conferencing, and the marketing department didn’t want to use the production team who did nothing but produce webinars all day long.

Every important person in the world was invited The webinar was to be a big PR event. The PR team had invited and confirmed the attendance of analysts, journalists, and influencers. Part of the stunt was that the company’s CEO and VP of Marketing were to sit at a desk… perched from a sign in Times Square (yes, NYC).

And then very smart people did a really dumb thing. The marketers who put the event together were not stupid. It was a killer PR idea. They did all the right things… except one.

They used the wrong tool for the job

For this event it was decided to use an external audio conferencing number. No problem so far.

You know how in many companies you get a standard-issue audio conferencing number assigned to you?

That’s what they used. And it supported a maximum of 96 connections. Oops.

The fury of Hades came bubbling up

Attendees could get into the web conference. Unfortunately a bunch of company employees were already taking up slots on the audio line, so it didn’t take long to run out of telephone lines.

The web conferencing Q&A went wild.

The marketing department called the event services department, and the latter quickly provisioned the correct audio type and used “chat to all” to get it out to the audience.

How this relates to you and me

There’s a high likelihood that you have the same problem in a different way. Here’s how:

What IT departments buy for companies are meeting platforms. Meetings are for smaller groups collaborating, team meetings, sales demos, etc. They do this because that’s the most frequent use case.

But when it comes to doing a webinar or training session, you do things differently (you do offline, too!).

Consequently, the more advanced conferencing companies build variations of their products that have more advanced features, and those features are configured for subtle-but-important differences in how we communicate, share, and manage.

By analogy, you can use Microsoft Word for creating editing some pictures and publishing a newsletter, but if you go to the team in the organization responsible for communications, you’ll probably find the team using Adobe InDesign and Photoshop (or other advanced tools).

What I see over and over and over again is organizations that use a meeting solution for webinars and training sessions.

And then wonder why they’re struggling to really rock the house.

The bottom line

You are smart. If you’re like most people, your job isn’t to keep up with the hundreds of vendors and their various web conferencing, webcasting, and virtual classroom solutions.

Just know that at some point you might want ask your IT department what it would take to be better equipped.


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