Many people are for the first time "working from home". Of course for many of my friends like Adrian Miller of Adrian's Network or Vik Rajan of Video Socials, it's not new for us, it's how we live. Beyond just a casual video conference with friends or business colleagues you can also use LIVE video to host online events and keep in touch with your customers and more.
I know there's some of you who are going OUT OF BUSINESS. The burden of having no customers is crushing. My heart's with you. Many of you are in survival mode and not even ready for online video meetings. Remember to check out our list of some Covid-19 corona virus related resources here.
For those who are in survival mode and are fighting on, which is most of you, here's my quick and dirty guide to how and why to host online events.
- Start by hosting a test video chat with 2 or 3 friends or colleagues. Nothing formal, just "for fun".
- Use this to test your computer system, to be sure you know how to work your microphone and camera.
- The experience on your phone is going to be different then on your computer so know how to use both.
- The phone is nice, but using the computer you have more options to control things.
- You can dial in with your phone, just like you would call your mom or brother, but it will be audio only.
- So if you must use your phone, use the video conference provider's app so you can leverage the full power of video, chat and other features.
- Be sure you have light facing YOU and behind your camera. If you have light facing the camera, you won't be seen as clearly, play around with it a bit.
- It's best to use ear buds or a headset for the best audio experience. I don't do this, because my speakers and microphone are setup correct. If things are not setup correctly you'll hear a high- pitched echo, which is due to what's called "feedback".
- Also if someone else is accessing the same conference you'll get feedback as well, by having 2 or more computers (or phones) dialing into the same conference if they can hear each other.
So that's a few very high level things to keep in mind. But a quick Google search and the help menu of many of these online systems will give you all the help you need.
So now that we've got that out of the way, what are some systems you might want to use for your first online video meeting. There's no ONE right product to use, but here's a few to consider. Remember there's so many different options and ways to do an online meeting.
Meetings vs Webinars
Special note: There are online "meetings" and online "webinars". Online meetings are often used for business meetings with people you know and who you don't really mind all talking and being seen on the same call. An online webinar often refers to you and/or a few panelists speaking to lots of people how are only listening. As you pick the tool to use, note this difference. If you and 1 or 2 of your employees are going to give an ONLINE SEMINAR, you want to use the "webinar" feature of these brands. If it's you and 10 of your employees or colleagues you can use the "meetings" feature.
Don't go by what's CHEAP or FREE.
Use which one has the features you need, is easiest for you and your guests to use.
Best liked tools:
- Zoho Meeting
- Webinar Jam
- Blue Jeans
- Loom (favorite of Lou Bartone)
- Uber Conference
- Adobe Connect
- Amazon Chime - appears to be for meetings but not webcast/webinars
- Microsoft Teams (for team meetings not webinars)
- StreamYard - ultimate live streaming tool, for adding captions, hosting multiple speakers and more
- Live Webinar
Check out Matt Ward's "How to Network Virtually" online conference
VideoSocials.Net - video blogging with others.
Successful Host Online Events
I've hosted what seems like hundreds of online video events. They look easy to do but only if you prepare.
- Prepare a summary script to guide you important things to say, names to remember and etc
- Have an outline to guide you through the discussion
- Do NOT READ but it's a guide
- Remember, don't stare at the computer screen look at the VIDEO CAMERA LENS
- An online video event should be engaging for the audience, people get easily distracted
- Keep things flowing
- You can use slides to give some structure or just video of the presenters
- Test the technology. Some of your cohosts or speakers might not be familiar with the technology or have glitches
- Have fun and remember the more you do this the better you'll get
I's important to capture attendee information. Most of the services give some way to capture the name, email and other details of who is registering for your event so that you can be in touch with them (market to them) afterwards.