Guest Post by
Ana-Marie Jones, Executive Director of CARD – Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disaster. CardCanHelp.org and Dan Cohen, Principal of Full Court Press Communications in Oakland, CA
Recently, we led a live video webinar for the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and their Cal-PACT program. The idea was to take the essence of the trainings we’ve been doing with UCB’s Center for Health Leadership and make a distillized version available to health and public health professionals across the Western states, Pacific Islands and Hawaii. More at: http://chl.berkeley.edu/
The goal was to use our Powerpoint presentation as a jumping off point – and have a robust discussion that linked live video with on-line chat from the participants. You can see the presentation at http://bit.ly/FCP-CalPactSocialMedia.
So, as we settled in like news anchors – getting ready to begin (See photo) a funny thing happened…the live chat feature didn’t work.
What was planned to be an interactive session turned into a one-way conversation. Our challenge – how to keep it interesting and fresh. Here are three things we learned…
Know your audience: Thankfully, we’d surveyed our audience in advance using a google doc, so we knew key questions and their approximate level of comfort with the tools we were presenting. We were presenting material we felt comfortable with to an audience that we “knew.” That allowed us to present relevant content – even though we lacked the real-time validation of live-chat.
Improvising is easy using social media: With live chat down, Ana-Marie suggested using a “hashtag” on Twitter to take feedback and questions. While many on the webinar were unfamiliar with Twitter (we knew that from the survey), we were able to get a handful of helpful comments/questions during the presentation. One asked for specific advice on WordPress, while another instructed our technical team to turn up the volume.
There is always room for improvement: When we debriefed the session, we surfaced a few ways we could have made provided even more value despite being without audience feedback. Ideas included doing a Q&A with each other, or sharing more of our own best practices. That may have made the presentation more robust and even more on-topic with what the participants wanted.
So, onward and upward. We hope to be invited back to try again, but in the meantime we wanted to extend a huge thank you to Jeff Oxendine and the entire team at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health for the invitation. Video from the conference will be posted – and please check back as we’ll re-post this with the link. You can watch for yourself and make recommendations on how we could do it better.