How to Run a Successful Livestream Meeting

In today’s increasingly digital workspace, in-person meetings have been almost exclusively replaced by their virtual counterparts. The normalization of online workflows and collaboration has birthed a slew of modalities for hosting digital communications, ranging from simple and intuitive to complex and overwhelming. Hosting a meeting is no longer as straightforward as herding staff into a conference room or meeting hall. It involves choosing a platform, making sure that employees know how to access the meeting, syncing audio and video tools, and hoping that there won’t be any inexplicable technological mishaps.

If you’re planning to host a virtual meeting, consider livestreaming the event. Depending on your circumstances, livestreaming can mitigate a few of the potential pitfalls associated with videoconferencing. Ultimately, running a successful livestream meeting relies on proper goalsetting, intentional setup, and streamlined execution.

What Are Your Goals?

Unlike videoconferencing, livestreaming is primarily designed to provide a consumption-based digital experience. This makes it a natural choice for events where there are a limited number of presenters and a wide audience, such as large meetings, concerts, online classes, or influencer content. Typically, they’re not intended to be super collaborative or interactive, so it’s important to consider the goals for your meeting before you decide on a livestream approach.

Videoconferencing Goals   Collaborative, discussion-based environmentSmall- to medium-sized group of attendeesThe information is designed to be interacted withReal-time feedback is desired and encouragedLivestreaming Goals   One or a few presentersLarge viewing audienceThe information is designed to be consumedNo real-time feedback is desired or required

If your goals are more aligned with videoconferencing but you attempt a livestream, you may be frustrated with the lack of interaction and the feeling that the experience is very one-sided. On the other hand, if you attempt to coordinate a large presentation or event through a videoconferencing platform, you may run into paywalls, time restrictions, limits on the number of attendees, and a sense that the experience feels a bit more like a free-for-all than a cohesive presentation.

Choose Your Platform Wisely

Livestreams do offer some functionality when it comes to multiple presenters and opportunities for audience participation. Most platforms will allow you to designate certain attendees as presenters and certain attendees as view-only. This makes it much easier to maintain control of the event and manage the user experience for a high-quality presentation. You can also choose from several different options for audience chat engagement. If you’re streaming to a platform such as YouTube, Facebook, or Vimeo Livestream, your audience will be able to offer input and interact with each other in the comment section as the event unfolds.

While this approach is suitable for some event styles, comment sections can quickly become unruly and disorganized, and you may desire additional control over the chat experience. Moderated chat apps pair seamlessly and naturally with livestreaming. A moderated chat can embed directly into your livestream webpage and allows your designated host to review comments before they are published, effectively weeding out off-topic, distracting, or disruptive content and commenters.

Don’t Skimp on the Setup

To ensure that your livestream meeting runs smoothly, check, double-check, and triple-check your technology well before the event is scheduled to begin. Run audio and video checks through the specific platform you’re using to make sure that all of your settings are configured properly. Record yourself speaking normally for about 30 seconds and listen for detectable quality issues. Additionally, you should livestream a sample to a separate device, preferably in a different location and on a different network. This will ensure that there are no glitches in the livestream process itself.

For an extra dose of security, designate a troubleshooter during the event itself. This person’s job will be to monitor and address any quality concerns that arise during the event, like audio and video malfunctions or connectivity issues. This individual can also troubleshoot on behalf of attendees who are having their own technical difficulties. Meanwhile, the main presenter won’t have to delay the meeting to resolve these issues themselves.

Set Expectations & Stay on Schedule

Successful virtual meetings require planning and deliberate execution. Resist the temptation to free-flow just because you’re behind a screen. Make an outline of your talking points, rehearse and time yourself, and strive to stick to your schedule. Viewers will rapidly lose interest if your presentation is disorganized or incohesive. Including a multimedia presentation is a great way to keep your audience engaged, and it offers a visual component that can be helpful for retaining information. Your platform should feature a simple way to integrate this type of presentation, whether it’s through sharing your screen or embedding it directly into the livestream.

Don’t Forget to Debrief

Intentional follow-up with your viewers is a crucial component of creating a holistic livestream experience. Without the opportunity to mingle and chat as they leave a conference room or auditorium, livestream participants often lack the same sense of closure that is built into in-person events. You can recreate this experience with some thoughtful follow-up. Send a recording of the livestream and a copy of your presentation to the meeting attendees. Ask for comments and critiques regarding the event as a whole, including the educational and technical experiences. Including a survey is an easy way to gather and aggregate feedback for events with a large number of attendees. Most importantly, thank your viewers for their attendance and participation. Adjusting to large-scale virtual communication isn’t easy for anyone, and ultimately, the key to a great livestream is a great audience!

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