Thursday, January 15, 2015

It Isn't as Easy as it Looks!

by Marian Pierre-Louis:
Last night I hosted my first webinar for the new Legacy Evening Webinar series. Did you know that Geoff Rasmussen makes hosting look so easy?! It is definitely not as easy as it looks.
From the outside it looks like the presenter has the tough job delivering a scintillating educational genealogy program. Oh, to have been in the presenter's chair last night!
Behind the scenes the host has to make sure all the technical parameters are functioning correctly before the start of the webinar. Then the host greets the presenter and makes sure they are comfortable and know what to do during the webinar. A little testing goes on, where the host and the presenter practice handing off the screen.
Meanwhile hundreds of webinar regulars are pouring into the webinar, often times sending notes to whom they believe is Geoff behind the scenes. While helping Mary Hill get settled in last night I continued to scan the list of comments arriving in rapid fire. It is challenging to keep up with but so very fun to see who's there and where is everyone is from.
The most critical part of the webinar is to press the record button! Without that our Legacy friends and subscribers wouldn't have a replay to watch after the live broadcast. I made sure that didn't get jinxed by simultaneously recording on two separate computers.
The host's job seems fairly simple - say a few words of introduction at the beginning and end and then moderate the Question and Answer session. Admittedly, the intro wasn't too bad. Anything that involves simply talking is my kind of activity.
But at the end of the webinar, multi-tasking goes into overload when the host has to give out the door prizes. This means keeping track of which door prize you're featuring, selecting a winner, making sure to write down the winner's name and posting a link about the prize in the chat box. All at a much reduced screen resolution necessary for the webinar recording. I had my hands full trying to accomplish all this. 
And the Question and Answer session is tricky too. You need to be fast to scan through all the questions without causing the dreaded on-air silence. Of course, the presenter is a great help in this area and I knew that Mary would give good thorough answers leaving me enough time to scan for the next question.
Being a webinar host or speaker for Legacy is fun but much harder than it looks! So the next time you are watching Geoff just remember how easy he makes it look!
Join us on Friday, January 16th, for Webinar Friday when I will take a break by sitting in the presenter's chair with Geoff manning the helm. It will be a special day as we commemorate Legacy's 200th webinar! Come help us celebrate!
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