Webinar Double Vision By Kimberli Allen

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You read that right.  Webinar dd-oo-uu-bb-ll-ee vision.  If you are managing webinars, trainings, meetings or events of any size where simultaneously seeing what your audience is seeing online may benefit them you may wish to consider logging in to your event with a second screen.

“Second screening” is a term I learned last year while attending Digital Hollywood in Southern California with Patty Rappa.  Of course, I have been “second screening” for the entire 11+ years I have been working in the virtual collaboration industry but I had no idea it had a name.  I know my colleagues who also attended Digital Hollywood will probably get a laugh out of that.  Since joining the WebEx Communications team (prior to WebEx being purchased by Cisco Systems) in 2002 it has always been a personal best practice to log in to any online event with two computers, sometimes three.

In keeping step with the mindset that we must meet the needs of our virtual audience first in order to keep them engaged, this is one piece of the webinar puzzle you can plug in prior to kicking off your webinar.  If you simply log in to your virtual platform ( i.e. WebEx, Citrix, On24, Adobe, OmNovia, Fuze Meeting, Maestro) from your main computer which will be managing the event then log in to the event with a second computer using an alias such as “Virtual Assistant” or “Computer #2” you will be able to experience on your second computer what the virtual audience is experiencing.

I am always asked whether or not a webinar manager needs a high end second screen such as another complete computer system or ipad in order to properly manage the virtual event and the answer is no.  In my virtual office I have access to 5 computers and an iPad because I manage so many events.  However, you do NOT need a high end computer as a second screen.  You can often purchase a used netbook or something similar for less than $90.00 to use as a second screen.  I even have one client who second screens using a larger interface mobile phone that has internet access.

Imagine being logged in to an event with over 100 people, maybe 1000.  Your presenter is on slide 17, you are on slide 17 but you are managing the chat from the virtual audience and you are receiving chat questions saying the slide deck is still on slide 15!  Clearly the presenter slide deck and the audience view are not in sync.  We all know bandwidth is an ever changing and sometimes mysterious element to the virtual world.  However, if you are managing the event and you are logged in to the event as an attendee you may be able to help the attendee figure out whether or not they are having a bandwidth issue or there are really technical issues with the presentation.  If you can experience what the audience is experiencing at the same time you may be able to wrangle the presenter back in and help the presenter talk through the delay (if there is one) or “talk” (chat) through the technical issue with the attendee all the while the presentation moves seamlessly from beginning to end.

Presuming you are recording the live event, a clean recording with no technical issues on round one is always a bonus, but that is an entirely different blog post.  Stay tuned!!

Join me in having webinar double vision for your next event.

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