April 22, 2020 Andrea Bartman
Central offices provide a quiet environment that empowers you and your professional colleagues to tackle big problems. Now, those problems are being tackled from the confines of our homes, noise and all. And, we have no idea if or when it will go back to the way it was.
Either way, transitioning to a work-from-lifestyle is no easy feat; especially for those with tiny human roommates who think they’re on the longest spring break ever.
So, what’s a webinerd to do? Take a look at how a few of our webinerds are adapting to working from home plus a few #WebinarFH tips to help your transition:
How Will Patterson’s Webinar Content is Changing
Will, Manager of Customer Advocacy at Securly, helps prepare customers for new content and new content standards for his webinars from home. He has even teased a few guest star cameo appearances to attract attendees’ interest. Who wouldn’t want to participate in more webinars with puppies?
How Franz Raymund Ayento Shares Important COVID-19 Information
As a federal IT contractor for the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), Franz Ayento and his team created an emergency webinar to provide updates on COVID-19 to staff. Ayento even made time to create a demo of the ON24 platform that’ll be presented to management at an upcoming board meeting. The most impressive aspect of it all? He still managed to display superb multitasking skills and work ethic while taking care of his 9-month-old daughter.
How Matt Radick Adapted to His Situation
Matt works as a Production Program Manager at MedBridge and he’s had to quickly adapt to working from home while keeping customers and clients informed about important COVID-19–related healthcare information. How did he do this? Well, Matt converted a closet into a home studio to record audio for product demonstrations and panel discussions for healthcare leaders.
Webinerd Tips To Take Away
As you adjust to the new normal, work-from-home lifestyle, we want to share a few tips to help you successfully #WebinarFH:
Flag and incorporate potential distractions
Working from home is an unusual circumstance for the vast majority of professionals out there. For webinar presenters, working from home can be distracting to both the host and the audience.
So, be upfront and communicate those potential distractions with your audience! Let them know what to expect in terms of background activity — and how you’re going to try and minimize it.
Patterson, for example, took those at-home distractions and integrated them into presentation and communications. He flagged that there’ll likely be background noise, integrated the reality of being at work with a young family and provided a teaser to pique audience interest: a puppy in a bowtie.
Find a way to make it work
Your home probably doesn’t have the same high-tech recording studio you use for webinars at work. The lighting may not be ideal or you just can’t get the dog to stop barking for 45 minutes no matter what you try. Just remember: It’s ok! We all know things are different right now. When times are tough, the best thing you can do is to find a way to make it work.
Take a page out of Matt’s book and find a way to make your situation work for you, even if it means making a closet a recording studio. By providing a high-quality experience, you can help your audience realize some level of professional normalcy and continue to provide important information.
Plan for the unexpected
You may be an expert webinerd, but even the most experienced presenters encounter the occasional problem. So, how can you get ahead of them while working from home?
Your best course of action is to plan ahead. Do your best to manage the unexpected and plan your events around potential disruptions. Planning a webinar recording during a child’s nap or quiet reading time, for example, can cut down on background noise. Similarly, scheduling 15 minutes to play ball with your dog outside can help encourage it to sleep during your presentation. Know that your packages are usually delivered around 11 a.m.? Move your webinar recording to the early afternoon.
For Franz and his NCUA team, preparation meant practicing and demonstrating how webinars work to upper management prior to an important board meeting.
Don’t focus on perfect
Mistakes happen. Even the most seasoned public speakers know this and, more importantly, know how to react (accept the mistake, highlight it and then move on). Webinaring from home provides even more unpredictability since new pint-sized office mates probably don’t have the same reservations about opening a closed office door or interrupting a phone call.
Whatever you do: don’t stress. Audiences are forgiving, especially in such unusual circumstances. Remember: while you might be frustrated with your children interrupting you, seeing or hearing your kids may be the highlight of someone else’s day.
If you need to pause your presentation to address the interruption, tell your audience what’s going on. Apologize for the interruption, laugh about it together, and then move on with your presentation.
Our chief webinerd, Mark Bornstein says, “It’s just real life, and people like real a lot better than canned. So, do what you can to avoid the tiny mistakes, but when something happens, just roll with it. Your audience will stick with you and you may find that a potential disaster turns into your best webinar ever.”
All in all, your kids are funny and your cat is cute. Roll with it! We could all use more joy and positivity right now. Check out more tips on dealing with the unexpected from Mark.