Preparing for a Live Webcast

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
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  • Inform the participants of the agenda and objectives of the webcast.
  • Send participants all pertinent information on how to access the webcast, including date, time, URL (with a link), password or access code if needed, and any special system requirements.
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    • 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.

     

    • Lay out the ground rules regarding Q&A, and be sure to cover both when and in what manner the questions will be asked

    Preparing the site
    • 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.

     

    • Have backup cameras and microphones available in case of an emergency.

    Preparing the Technology
    • 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).