As L&D professionals, we would love nothing better than to keep our audiences separate. In-room participants in one session. Virtual participants in a different session.
In the real, busy world, we need to make the best use of our time and our participant’s time. So blended audiences in webinars are a reality. How do we make blended webinars a win for both in-room and virtual participants?
Welcome both your in-room and virtual participants. It sets the stage that both sets of participants are part of the learning experience. When asking questions, be sure to include both audiences in turn. Be consistent – always address in-room participants first or second. It just makes it easier for the participants to know what’s happening next.
Your virtual participants need to have a voice. Having them actually speak can be at the least disrupting. With large audiences, this can be impossible. We talked about having two people involved with webinars. One person can monitor chat and bring to the attention of the presenter relevant questions. You won’t be able to address every chat in a large group, it is more important to address the most topical or most repeated chats.
Call Virtual Participants by Name
With in-room participants, we can simply look at someone to acknowledge them. We have been discouraged from calling in-room participants by name so as not to put them on the spot. With virtual participants, you need to take the opposite approach and call on them by name. Because they can’t see you and can be distracted by things (like email ;)) in their physical environment, you need to call them by name to re-engage them in the learning.
What other ways have you been able to make webinar learning events a win-win for both in-room and virtual participants?
Microsoft. (2014). Blender [Digital Image]. Used with permission from Microsoft. Retrieved from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=blender&ex=1#ai:MP900385483|mt:2|