Thursday, August 29, 2013

Read Part Two of my article, "No Second Chances, Part 2: Best Practices for Live Events"

Part two of my Streaming Media article, No Second Chances, Part 2: Best Practices for Live Events - Streaming Media Magazine, is now in print and online. The second installment looks at different ways to make the overall webcast experience engaging for your online audience using a variety of different video production techniques interactive tools. Live events have changed dramatically over the last few years with the evolution of enterprise video platforms and the rise of virtual events and live webcasting. Today, companies are now incorporating new and innovative ways to engage their growing online audiences.

Webcasting tools have become easier to use, and, with the development of interactive and social media tools, they’ve evolved from one-way broadcasts into two-way conversations. But just because you have myriad bells and whistles at your disposal doesn’t mean you have to use every one for every event. As I said in Part 1 of my article, “the key is to use the right technology to make it easy to reach the live audience and virtual attendees and provide them a quality and worthwhile experience.”

Here's a brief excerpt from part two:


We’ve already established that you need the right team with the right tools and the right capabilities at your live event venue. But what are the secret tricks to creating an engaging experience for your audience with streaming video, audio, graphics, and real-time interaction to move them from passive viewers to active participants?

If you only take away only one thing from this article, remember this tip: Don’t let your online audience be an afterthought. You need to cater to their needs by making their experience as engaging as the live audience’s, but in a different way.

Waiting for the big event to begin, in person and online (Photo credit: Harvey Woo)

Look no further than popular culture to see what "American Idol" has done to capture its live audience. The producers were deliberate with their intent, because they knew that the real show was on the screens of millions of TV viewers; it was not for the hundreds of people in the live audience. They didn’t skimp on production value, and, from the start, they introduced an audience response text-to-vote system that gave the audience the power to influence the outcome of the show.

Just think: What if you put that capability into the hands of your online audience? We’d be able to vote off every boring presenter known to mankind!

Corporate communications departments are seeing the shift as well. Donn Kanagaki, senior manager of IT communications at Kaiser Permanente, oversees the employee outreach events for the CIO and senior IT leadership, which incorporate a combination of a live event, webcast, WebEx, and telephone bridge in order to reach more than 6,000 employees across five time zones. About one-third of the IT employees are able to attend the event live via webcast, but the online numbers are growing. Kanagaki says, “We have to recognize that the majority of our employees that participate are watching online, so we need to look at ways to better engage them.”

While Kaiser Permanente CIO Phil Fasano addresses an in-person audience of several hundred, the live webcast reaches thousands of employees who can watch the event online and submit questions directly to the CIO and senior leaders. 

In the words of Marshall McLuhan, “The medium is the message,” and the message can be delivered more effectively using the latest interactive technologies. You may have to use a hybrid approach with a combination of tools based on the capabilities of your webcast or webconferencing platform. Beyond content design, it really does come down to pushing the limits of any platform and streaming technology to achieve the best two-way experience for your attendees and yourself.


The plain and simple fact is that no technology, however great it is, can make a boring presenter better. You have to design your presentation to the right audience using the best set of tools and production value to carry your message. But beyond any technology, presenters need to connect with their audience.

All the great presenters, from Steve Jobs to Gary Vaynerchuk to Isabel Allende, use storytelling to convey their messages. People respond to personal stories because they convey emotion and a universal message.

According to Tim Schmoyer, producer of The Reel Web for and one of the most diversely skilled and knowledgeable people in the online video space, storytelling is important and the best way to get your message across. “Stories are something that everyone enjoys and appreciates, and there’s an emotional connection to stories,” says Schmoyer. “What we really believe in is that stories are much more compelling, especially if you can tell a story that answers the ‘why?’ question.”

Continue reading the full article at: No Second Chances, Part 2: Best Practices for Live Events - Streaming Media Magazine

My thanks again, to the many people who I have worked with over the years to help me learn what works best for live events, and what doesn't work so well. Also, my thanks to the many clients I have worked with who have trusted me to produce their live events. I also want to thank the following people for contributing to this article, including: Nick Balletta, CEO of TalkPoint, Donn Kanagaki, senior manager of IT communications at Kaiser Permanente, Tim Schmoyer, producer of the Reel Web for, Casey Wilms, product manager at Zencoder, Mike Folgner, CEO and co-founder of SnappyTV, Harvey Louie, technical director, producer, and consultant of the webcasting company Event Compression Group, my good friend and creative partner Harvey Woo, owner and creative director of Professional Sound Productions, my production manager and traffic controller  Steve Dung, owner of Visions Plus video production services and my IT partner and colleague James Adams, Manager of Virtual Event Delivery at Kaiser Permanente.

My thank you's could go on and on, so I'll cut it short, and finally extend my thanks to my trusted crew and "A" team for your professionalism and support, you know who are... (Sammy, Dwight, Dominic "Baby Dom", Marcia, Brad, Tom, Alfonso, Jason "JJ", Rachel "Ray Ray", Harold "Dirty B", Luke, Ricker, Lorin, Paul and Weyman "The Pro Sound backbone", and the Young Guns, Sam, Matt, Brandon and Josh, and again, Harvey.)

This article appears in the August/September 2013 issue of Streaming Media magazine as:  No Second Chances, Part 2: Best Practices for Live Events.

Businesses are increasingly depending on live event streaming. For expert tips on how to pull them off like a pro, read the second part of our series.
by Larry Kless