The following checklist covers the fundamental technical and practical aspects of preparing for a live (streaming) webcast. It assumes that the webcaster is working in tandem with a third party to stream the webcast to participants. This advice was compiled by Brad Scholz, creative director at MossWarner (mosswarner.com), a sales communications firm specializing in meetings and events. Preparing the Participants
- Arrange to send participants webcast reminders a week in advance and on the day of the webcast.
- Provide participants with any pre-event materials they might need.
- Inform the participants of the agenda and objectives of the webcast.
- Provide information about any necessary software components (e.g., Java, Flash, QuickTime, Real Player, etc.) that will be required for the webcast, along with instructions for how to download them.
- Capture contact information from participants for later follow-up.
Preparing the site
- Lay out the ground rules regarding Q&A, and be sure to cover both when and in what manner the questions will be asked
- Ensure the room is free of background noise (such as loud air conditioning).
- Check that microphones are working and properly mixed so that voices are clear.
- If you'll be streaming live video, ensure that the lighting and backdrops are set up to show the speakers well.
- Be sure video cameras and video-capture hardware are working correctly.
Preparing the Technology
- Have backup cameras and microphones available in case of an emergency.
- Configure and test the audio and video settings, and the network connections, between your site and the hosting service.
- Be sure to verify the URL, port assignments and access passwords to the media server from which you will be streaming.
- Embed a title, description and copyright information into your feed.
- Allow for different participant connection speeds.
- Open up your firewall to allow the streaming content to come through.
- Make arrangements to archive your webcast for future viewing.
Preparing the Presenters
- Finalize the agenda and inform all speakers of such before the webcast..
- Designate a host or moderator for the webcast.
- Ensure that the host prepares speaker introductions and schedules the handoffs from one speaker to another.
- Give the speakers ample opportunity to rehearse their material.
- Advise the speakers to wear camera-friendly clothing and accessories.
- Time a dry run to estimate the duration of your webcast, including time allowed for Q&A.
- Have backup scripts, presentations and notes available in case of technology failures (video and audio) or logistical snafus (presenters are delayed or unavailable).