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How to Run Great Webinars

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Dan Freeman PLEASE NOTE: We will be doing audio checks every few minutes, but between audio checks we will not be broadcasting. If you do not hear anything right now, please wait for the next audio check. Welcome to How to Run Great Webinars Friday, August 14, 2015


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Use the Chat Space to ask the presenter questions and discuss with your fellow attendees. If you do not see the chat window, please hit the “Chat” icon in the upper right-hand corner. Chat Space Friday, August 14, 2015


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Click on the “Send to” pull-down window beneath the chat space, private chat user “Host.” Need Help? Friday, August 14, 2015


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Q and A Session at the end. Type questions into the chat whenever you have them. Depending on how many questions we have, we may not be able to answer all of them. Note: Make sure your chat is set to “Send to: All participants” when you ask a question. Q and A Sessions Friday, August 14, 2015


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Audio Broadcast: Calling Using Computer (Streaming Through Your Computer Speakers) Two Options for Audio Calling in and Listening via Phone (Note: This is a Toll Number) Friday, August 14, 2015


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To call in, Select the “headset” icon above your chat box to open the “Audio Broadcast Menu.” Then click “I will call In.” Calling in Friday, August 14, 2015


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If you are having audio problems, you can reconnect by clicking “Communicate” > “Audio Conference…” at the top of your screen and then selecting either “I will call In” or “Call Using Computer.” Audio Problems Friday, August 14, 2015


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In Order to Disconnect the Audio Broadcast, select the “headset” icon above your chat box to open the “Audio Broadcast Menu.” Then select the “Disconnect Audio” Button. Disconnecting Friday, August 14, 2015


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Hear an echo? If you are listening to the Audio Broadcast and you hear an echo, make sure you do not have two broadcasts running simultaneously. If you do, close one. Audio quality decreases? If your audio quality decreases, you can try stopping the broadcast and reconnecting by clicking “Communicate>Audio Conference…” Troubleshooting Friday, August 14, 2015


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You’ll receive an e-mail within 24 hours of each session giving you access to full archive, which is an audio/video rendering of the event If you want your own copy of the slides, we’ll post them to slideshare. The URL will be in the follow-up e-mail. Materials and Archive for Today’s Event Friday, August 14, 2015


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Save 10%! Go to the ALA Store: www.alastore.ala.org Enter Coupon Code: LIFM10 Expires: 09/12/2015 Special Offer


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In Order to Disconnect the Audio Broadcast, you must hit the “Stop” Button. Disconnecting Friday, August 14, 2015


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Online Learning Manager, ALA Editions/ALA TechSource Produced and facilitated hundreds of webinars Holds an M.S. in Library and Information Science Dan Freeman dfreeman@ala.org Friday, August 14, 2015


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Poll: What is your level of experience with webinars? Friday, August 14, 2015 I have been a webinar instructor/facilitator. I have attended webinars. My institution does webinars, but I’ve never attended. This is my first webinar.


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Defining a Webinar Friday, August 14, 2015 Mirriam-Webster: “a live online educational presentation during which participating viewers can submit questions and comments” Interactivity not limited to Q & A Purpose not limited to education Though events always occur live, recording can be equally important


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Why Webinars Friday, August 14, 2015 Webinars are convenient: Distance no longer a factor in scheduling No travel time required=easier to squeeze into tight schedules Those who like to be quiet in meetings can do so without the fear of looking bad Ability to record event; make it available later


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Why Webinars Friday, August 14, 2015 Webinars are affordable*: Cost of travel eliminated Many low-cost platforms; some free platforms No printing, no paper You can speak to a big group without the need for a big room and the equipment it requires *If your goals are more ambitious, cost can go up….we’ll get to that soon.


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Webinars vs. In-Person Events: What do You Think? Friday, August 14, 2015 Better? Worse? Different? How? Pros? Cons?


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Webinars vs. In-Person Events Friday, August 14, 2015 The Key Difference: They arent that different. The advantages and disadvantages of each are minor and cancel each other out The disadvantages all have an advantagous flip-side. Bottom Line: If you are comfortable in a webinar format, you can teach and learn just as effectively as you can in person.


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Webinar Cons…and Pros Friday, August 14, 2015 Con: You aren’t staring out at the sea of faces, so you don’t really know how engaged your audience is Pro: Less pressure Con: There is a camraderie factor with in-person sessions that doesn’t exist online Pro: People are there for the stated purpose only; no side chat, fewer distractions, more focus


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Webinar Cons…and Pros Friday, August 14, 2015 Con: People are not as engaged with your material because they don’t have physical documents with them. Pro: That isn’t really true. Con: Some people are more comfortable than others with the online format. Pro: For those people, there is an additional layer of learning going on and they are likely to leave more comfortable than they came.


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How to Choose a Platform… Friday, August 14, 2015


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What do you want to accomplish with your webinars? Friday, August 14, 2015 Just hold meetings? Teach to small groups? Teach to large groups? Hold events for your staff or consortial members? Hold community-wide events? Start small with plans to expand into something bigger?


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You cannot choose a platform before you have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. Friday, August 14, 2015 Hold meetings, have focus groups, talk to everyone you can talk to… Make sure all interested parties have all bought into: Size Scope Purpose Ambition Budget PUT IT IN WRITING!!


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A Side Note… Friday, August 14, 2015 A lot of this stuff sounds obvious, but please don’t discount it. Running a webinar includes lots of small but crucial steps Check out The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande.


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How to Pick a Great Platform Friday, August 14, 2015


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Step 1: What features are essential to you? Friday, August 14, 2015 Capacity (more on this in a moment) Video with webcams neccesary? Is VoIP with headsets good enough, or do you need for people to be able to call-in? Is it important to be able to load documents in multiple formats (PDF, PPT, MS Word, etc)? Related: Do you need to impress the audience?


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Be sure to consider which features you want, but do not need. Friday, August 14, 2015


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Step 2: Determine whether free is an option Friday, August 14, 2015 How big is your audience? If your audience is small enough for free platforms, how likely is it to outgrow that platform? Do the free platforms have the features you need? How important is technical reliability?


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How much do you need to impress your audience? Friday, August 14, 2015 How big is your audience? Who are the people in your audience? How formal is your presentation? What’s the purpose? Teaching? Trying to justify funding? Just a meeting


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Consider a free-trial Friday, August 14, 2015 GoToMeeting Instant Presenter ON24 Adobe Connect


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Things to remember about free products Friday, August 14, 2015 Technical support is minimal at best, probably nonexistent. You might not have access to your recording…make sure to find out in advance. If a for-profit company distributes a free product, the free product is the lowest priority in terms of resources, bandwidth, etc. Free products are subject to disappear or completely change their interface without any notice This makes practice sessions even more important! You and your audience might be subject to promotions when using free products—examine whether or not this is the case before using them and weigh whether or not it matters. But most importantly…


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Free products are a really good deal! If you can use them, you should! Friday, August 14, 2015 There are a lot of free products that are really good! If you are getting started with webinars and you aren’t sure where your webinar program is going, minimal commitment Obvious benefit to your budget You will look very smart to your boss or your board or whoever you are trying to impress If you are trying to justify funding, using a free product underscores the worthiness of your funding; shows you are anything but a frivolous spender


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Exploring a couple of free products: This is not an exhaustive list. Friday, August 14, 2015


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Google Plus Hangouts Friday, August 14, 2015 Pros: Cutting edge; has tons of bells and whistles, interface really impressive Technical reliability very solid for a free product; backed by Google’s power Has pretty much every feature you can imagine: Video, Screen Sharing, Chat, Ability to share YouTube videos live


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Google Plus Hangouts Friday, August 14, 2015 Cons: Always a work in progress so the interface and features change constantly So many bells and whistles that there is a bit of a learning curve, and all users must have the same basic knowledge to use…bad for low-tech users. You must join Google+ to use.


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Google Plus Hangouts Friday, August 14, 2015 The Hangouts-On-Air Feature Broadcast your hangout live on the web so anyone can see It appears like a YouTube video, you can just embed it in your webpage It gets instantly recorded and stored on YouTube. Check out American Libraries Live


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Google Plus Hangouts Friday, August 14, 2015 Bottom-line: Really good for small conferences Really good for webcasts Don’t use it if you need to assemble a huge group If you are using to impress someone, make sure you have a really good handle on the technology Hangouts On-Air a really cool and unique tool with incredible potential


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Anymeeting Friday, August 14, 2015 Fee-based service that includes a small-capacity free service.


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Anymeeting Friday, August 14, 2015 Pros: Gives you pretty much all the features you would want in a premium product Free product is truly an unlimited free product…not a free trial or severely limited version of the paid product They make their use and placement of ads very clear


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Anymeeting Friday, August 14, 2015 Cons: Any way you slice it, the ads are a distraction. You don’t get your recordings with the free verson.


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Anymeeting Friday, August 14, 2015 Bottom-Line: A very impressive free product. HUGE capacity for a free product Great set of features


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OpenMeetings Friday, August 14, 2015 An Open Source Tool Code is open—users can modify the product itself 100% free (donations always suggested) Collaborative document editing, whiteborard drawing


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OpenMeetings Friday, August 14, 2015 Disadvantages Constant changes, constant bugs Security concerns with open source No customer service


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Step 3: If free isn’t an option, start exploring fee-based products Friday, August 14, 2015 Start by asking how much you want to spend and how much your willing to commit Think about price in terms of capacity, because that’s the first thing that’ll become a deal-breaker Explore what’s out there; don’t limit yourself to the big names. Wikiepedia has a great resource for features: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_web_conferencing_software


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Friday, August 14, 2015


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Contact the Company Schedule a Sales Pitch Friday, August 14, 2015 The sales pitch will allow you to see the product in action. The sales pitch will allow you to ask questions of the company reps. The sales pitch will give you the experience of being a webinar attendee—it’s great practice!


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The Sales Pitch is Extremely Important Friday, August 14, 2015 It will probably be a pain to get everyone to agree on timing, but it is well worth it. It’s more than due dilligence; it’s a neccesary component of buying a product. It gives you the opportunity to get multiple sets of eyes on the platforms. Equivalent of a test drive.


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After the Sales Pitch… Friday, August 14, 2015 Get all stakeholders together for a debriefing Think of it like a focus group (If applicable): Put it to a vote. No consensus? Get more sales pitches; considering bringing in outside voices. Patrons Involved with the Library Faculty IT Staff Don’t rush it! You can get more sales pitches.


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Once You’ve Made Your Decision… Friday, August 14, 2015 Start training; get as many staff members involved as possible You can’t have too many staff members trained to run a webinar Use the documentation and training provided by the platform—it’s probably really good! Run as many mock sessions as you possibly can If you can, run short mock sessions and run them frequently


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The Mock Session Friday, August 14, 2015 As you begin to experiment with your new platform, the picture of your ideal session will emerge Document that and recreate it Get as many people involved in the mock sessions as you can Have people participate in all roles—presenter, attendee, host, etc.


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Practice, Practice, Practice Friday, August 14, 2015 The technical aspect of running a webinar is always going to be a series of many small steps. It’s not likely that any of these steps are going to be a huge challenge, but there are going to be a lot of them and they will all be essential. You need to be able to complete these steps without thinking about it so you can focus on your content, not the technical steps. Before you actually do a live session, you should practice enough that you can launch and prepare the session without looking at a cheat sheet. That being said…


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Make Cheat Sheets! Friday, August 14, 2015 Having documentation is absolutely essential: It gives you a checklist of everything you need to do to launch so you can think about it less It is a training tool so you can ensure that others will be able to run an events If there’s some emergency and an untrained person must run the event, the show can still go on


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Take Note of the Pre-Event Features Friday, August 14, 2015 Registration Page Registration form—what information do you want to collect? Reminder/Confirmation E-mails? Write a template. Register as an attendee to get the experience.


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Take Note of the Post-Event Features Friday, August 14, 2015 Easy to ignore but important Does the platform give you the ability to send a follow-up email Write a template for you follow-up e-mail? Is there a survey tool? If not, create an account at SurveyMonkey


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Building Good Documentation Friday, August 14, 2015 Create the documentation with the person who has no experience in mind Use checklist format Use screenshots when possible.


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Running the Event: 1 Person or 2? Friday, August 14, 2015 The ideal way to do it: 1 Presenter, 1 “Producer” Producer is responsible for technical aspects: Launching event; ensuring all settings are correct Handling audience techinical questions Troubleshooting


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Develop a Plan for Tech Problems Friday, August 14, 2015 You need two types of tech problem plans: A plan for the common problems individual attendees may experience It may take some time to figure out what these are A plan for a major disaster


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Develop a Plan for End-User Problems Friday, August 14, 2015 It might take some time before you can figure out what the most common problems are going to be, but you can get a good grip on that by running lots of practice sessions. Write a script(s) that you can paste into chat. Here’s one of ours: Sorry you are having a problem with your audio. I'm assuming you are listening via the audio broadcast. If you're audio got interrupted, wait 10-15 seconds, and it should come back. Be prepared to deal with people who are angry/stressed/panicky The best approach is a customer service approach, even though the people attending probably aren’t customers.


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Develop a Plan for the Disaster Friday, August 14, 2015 Disasters can take a lot of forms, but the bottom line is that we’re talking about a situtation where your event gets severely disrupted or terminated. The first step in building a disaster plan is accepting the possibility that this could happen. You can mimimize the possibilty, but not eliminate it.


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Develop a Plan for the Disaster Friday, August 14, 2015 Before deciding what you will do, examine what you can do: Does your platform give you a way to gather the e-mail addresses of all participants? If so, get that together as part of your preparation. If the event “dies”, can you quickly relaunch? Given the size of your group and significance of your event, what’s the possibilty of rescheduling?


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Develop a Plan for the Disaster Friday, August 14, 2015 Develop template e-mails to send to participants: We just crashed; please re-join We will need to reschedule Keep in mind that people are generally pretty understanding when these technical problems occur.


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Questions? Friday, August 14, 2015


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Delivering an Awesome Presentation Friday, August 14, 2015 Our scope today is webinars for librarians In your follow-up e-mail, you’ll get access to Maurice Coleman’s webinar on presentations (more general).


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How Long Should Your Presentation Be? Friday, August 14, 2015 Ideal length of a webinar: 60-90 Minutes Not enough time to cover everything? Break it into multiple sessions rather than stuffing it all into one long session. Warning: If you make your session longer than 90 minutes, people will disengage!


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Start with a quick technical intro Friday, August 14, 2015 Spend 1-2 minutes going over the interface Outline the most common technical problems; how to troubleshoot and who to ask for help Include info on how to participate via chat…not as obvious to some as to others. Explain the benefits of the webinar format (recording, chat, Q and A, etc…)


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Get Right to the “Meat” of Your Topic Friday, August 14, 2015 Avoid long preambles; introduce yourself and your topic, then dive right in This illustrates a key difference between in-person and online presentations—there is less socialization, people are there to get down to business Because you have less ability to charm people than you do in person, you want them to get their “money’s” worth


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Engaging a Webinar Audience Friday, August 14, 2015 Your ability to know that the audience is engaged is different from what it is in-person. Best strategy: assume they are engaged and proceed accordingly. Keep in mind that every audience has its own personality and the chat space is not neccesarily an indicator of people’s engagement.


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Engaging a Webinar Audience Friday, August 14, 2015 Get your audience involved from the start—that means before the event even begins: Pre-event surveys/readings polls Opening the event with a poll or an open-ended question Using the “warm-up” time to encourage attendees to chat amonst themselves.


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Engaging a Webinar Audience Friday, August 14, 2015 Always ask your audience about their level of experience with your subject matter. This will get them talking, since they are there to learn about this topic regardless of experience You need to know where they are coming from; even tiny snippets of info are valuable.


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Remember that You’re Talking to a Library Audience Friday, August 14, 2015 Use library-specific language and anecdotes, even if your training is about something that isn’t library related. Encourage the group to talk about their jobs. Ask them where they work. What type of library? Talk about your own library experience (as it relates to the topic) as much as possible


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Build Interactivity Exercises and Tools into Your Event Friday, August 14, 2015 Polls Exercises Open-ended Questions


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Avoid Silence Friday, August 14, 2015 Talk while people are engaging in an exercise or filling out a poll Don’t wait until everyone has submitted their answers to comment; start right away


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Always do Q and A Friday, August 14, 2015 Ideally, add a break for Q and A in the middle of your event Make sure you have a strategy for handling questions beforehand (producer or no producer) Keep an eye on the clock


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The Visual Component of Your Presentation Friday, August 14, 2015 The visual component of a webinar is usually a slide deck This is much more important in a webinar than an in-person presentation Without slides, it’s just a voice


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Building Your Slides Friday, August 14, 2015 You don’t need design sense and you don’t need artistic ability. Base your slides on your outline Include images to keep it interesting (more on this in a moment)


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Building Your Slides Friday, August 14, 2015 While most webinar platforms will recognize PDFs and Word Docs, it’s best to work in PowerPoint because: PowerPoint is universal (more or less) It’s easy to export to other formats from PowerPoint Stick with “common” fonts


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How Many Slides? Friday, August 14, 2015 The number of slides you use will vary heavily depending on your presentation style A general guidelines is one slide per 90 seconds, but your results may vary! Think of your slides from an attendee perspective—do you have enough to keep it interesting? Using charts and graphs? Slow down!


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Images on Your Slides Friday, August 14, 2015 Don’t go too text heavy—use images, even if its just ClipArt There are TONS of sources of free images on the web: Wikimedia Commons FlickR (check CC license) OpenClipArt.com You don’t need to spend a ton of time worrying about relevance, colors, etc.


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Using Screen Sharing Friday, August 14, 2015 Use it; don’t abuse it Great tool for demo’ing software, websites Not a great tool for sharing your slides Mind the lag!


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ALWAYS do a Run-Through Friday, August 14, 2015 Too short? Not a big deal? Too long? Cut the fat! Cut your intro, cut your preamble, cut audience interaction activities (but not all of them)


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Assessing Your Event Friday, August 14, 2015 Simple, easy and very helpful Most platforms have built-in tools Many free tools available; I recommend Survey Monkey Include a survey in your follow-up e-mail


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Assessing Your Event Friday, August 14, 2015 Multiple choice questions: How useful was this event? How effective was the instructor Open-Ended Questions: How could this event have been better? Were there areas not covered that you felt should have been?


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Assessing Your Event Friday, August 14, 2015 Don’t take it personally! Remember, people are anonymous, so they might be mean! Filter out the meanness and focus on the actual substance behind it. If you are really sensitive, have a colleague study the survey results and convey them to you, but… Whatever you do, don’t ignore the survey!


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Putting the Assessment Into Action Friday, August 14, 2015 When you view the survey results, try to jot down immediate notes about how you can translate them into actual change in your presentation Keep your notes with you when working on revisions or a new presentation


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Closing Thoughts… Friday, August 14, 2015 Always wrap up with some closing thoughts They don’t need to be profound; just avoid the sudden ending


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My Closing Thoughts… Friday, August 14, 2015 Webinars are here to stay; the technology will change. The ability to run a webinar is a marketable skill that will only grow more important You can teach/learn just as effectively online as you can in person


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Questions? Friday, August 14, 2015


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Contact me anytime with questions, comments, etc. Dan Freeman dfreeman@ala.org Friday, August 14, 2015


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