How to Set up and Host Live Webinars

We run a monthly podcast for one of our clients which has become fairly popular in it’s respective industry. This is a relatively new ability we’ve learned and as with everything we do, we’re happy to help others learn to do it as well.

To be clear, when we say webinars or podcasts we mean live audio and video feeds (much like radio if it had view-able PowerPoint slides!) which are broadcast over the internet for everyone to view. We record these broadcasts as we do them and give that recording to viewers afterwards and post them on YouTube or SoundCloud.

Create you own webinar

Very recently we got a tweet from a sports coach wanting to start holding webinars and we answered. We arranged a Skype chat, walked them through the programs and techniques we used and introduced them to other possible solutions we found along our journey of developing a quality podcast.  Here’s a summary of our advice.

Our process

We use a combination of the program xSplit and the website UStream:

  • xSplit – recording a webcam or a computer screen is a simple process today, but controlling that recording is an entirely different thing. The FREE program xSplit provides users with multiple “scenes” which operate like a powerpoint presentation. Each “scene” is like a slide in powerpoint and can be customised with images, live screenshots, webcams and more. It also takes audio directly from your computer and microphone, if one is attached. The program can broadcast to multiple sources and can directly record to your computer as a separate option for making videos. While it is only Windows OS compatible (so no support for Mac computers) it provides a lot of flexibility and control to the user.

  • UStream – when you are broadcasting you need a destination and a place for that broadcast to be viewed by others. We use our paid account on UStream with ads removed to broadcast our live viewing. UStream gives us a way to communicate with our viewers as well via a text based chat beside the video as it plays.

This set up makes it easy for viewers to watch as we just need to send them the link to our UStream account while we take care of the broadcasting and content. With other solutions you may need to download programs, make accounts or have to send attendees passwords. We have tested some of those solutions and for a wide audience and age range they proved too hard and presented barriers to attendance.

Other solutions you could use

Many of these solutions add a level of difficulty for either us or our viewers to join a webinar that we broadcast. However they may suit your needs better than they suit ours:

  • Google Hangouts – the Hangouts system created by Google is amazing. It allows you to broadcast your computer screen or your web camera to a live stream (then instant recording) on YouTube. For others to view directly they can watch from YouTube. If you’d like to chat to viewers however they would have to join your Hangout and thus disrupts many of your functions. You would have to mute each attendee if you want to talk and then you could communicate with them via text chat. It works but is cumbersome in it’s design. On the other hand it is a free solution without ads and  is simple for basic internet users to learn.

  • Downloadable webinar technologies – there are meeting simulators that can be used effectively to run webinars such as GoToWebinar or Anymeeting. These solutions are often paid, require you and your attendees to download a program and are designed primarily for corporate use. They will take some training to use (especially for your viewers) but the technology is great. If you’re a businessman looking to run online meetings or training sessions this solution is a great way to go. [only problem with Citrix GoToWebinar solution is the meeting invite does not adjust timezone to the recipient’s calendar]

Now that you’ve got access to the tools, you can start exploring the world of broadcasting and build yourself a webinar! If you’re less technical, or would like to put all of your effort into the quality of the webinar, we’d be happy to take the broadcasting task off your hands. Contact us for more details on these technologies or for a quote on what it would take for us to set up and run your webinar.

Online event PR – how to do it on a small budget

We’re working for a lovely creative client, Global Culture, who design t shirts and gifts with a New Zealand “kiwi humor” twist.

Global Culture NZ World Star Wars Day t shirt designs

Their designer, Russell came up with some fun Star Wars designs and we suggested promoting them around the May 4th, World Star Wars Day event.  [May the Fourth Be With You – in case you didn’t get the oblique reference.]

Here’s how we did it

  1. Create landing page on our website
  2. Amend Facebook to include a new page header; start liking and commenting on Star Wars associated sites
  3. Run a competition using the Wildfire app to promote winning free t shirts
  4. Tweet a competition to win free t shirts
  5. Set up Google Alerts for Star Wars Day and using these leads, comment on other people’s blogs and news items back to our site

The stats go up to 2nd May – so there was more to come.

During the process we found a great blog post we found from UPrinting – Entrepreneurial lessons from Star Wars.   Worthy of your time for a quick read.

5 Tips On How To Beat A Video Conference Interview

Interviews are always a nervous ordeal but more often than not a well-prepared candidate will always rise above the rest of the pack and successfully take the job. That said, many candidates make the mistake of preparing for a video conference interview in the same way as a face to face interview which can leave an interviewer unimpressed. Here are my top 5 tips to help you beat a video conferencing interview:

1. Remove all distractions

If your video conferencing interview is taking place at your home then make sure you deal with any possible interruptions before the interview. If Fido has a tendency to barge into the room every now and again, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind playing in the garage for a while until the interview is over. Similarly, if you have kids who tend to be quite loud, it will make you and your interviewer lose concentration as well as making you look much less professional. Get hold of a babysitter or have them spend the day at your parents or friends. Whatever you do, just try to be alone when the interview takes place.

2. Look at the camera

Just about every interview guru will tell you to make regular eye contact with your interview and a video conferencing interview is no different. This can catch out many interviewees since it is a common habit to look at the computer monitor instead of the actual camera. The camera is transmitting the picture and therefore if you don’t look at the camera it will look like you are looking away from the interviewer thus giving the impression that you are not interested in the interview. If you find this particularly difficult to do then try putting a picture behind your camera which will make it feel like you are talking to an actual person when you are looking at the camera.

3. Proper grooming

When doing a video conferencing interview it is easy to forget that you are being interviewed for a potential job offer. You may be at home but that does not mean that you can take part in the interview in your favorite carrot fit jeans with a T-shirt that has some a funny comment on it. Make sure you dress like you would if you were participating in a face to face interview as it will make you look more professional as well as making you feel more confident.

 

4. Set the scene

When carrying out a face to face interview, you go to the interviewer which means that the interviewer will make his decision based on you and you alone but on a video conferencing interview, the interviewer will be able to see you and your room, therefore, your room should also give a professional feel. I am not saying that you should completely redecorate but make sure all dirt has been cleaned and the room looks well organised. In addition to this, temporarily remove any posters which may embarrass you during the interview although sensible pictures and paintings can help create a more sophisticated atmosphere. This will help to give a positive first impression and will start the interview on a good note.

5. Practice makes perfect

Rehearsing your answers to popular interview questions as well as general interview techniques is essential for a successful interview but a video conferencing interview brings with it its own challenges and therefore more factors need to be added to the mix when rehearsing. You will need to get into the habit of talking out loud when nobody else is in the room so set up your own video conference system prior to the interview and ask your friend to interview you. After the interview ask your friend to give you some feedback.