Online Conferences [was Local group attendance of Conf on Affordable Coho
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 2019 08:43:41 -0800 (PST)
> On Dec 14, 2019, at 10:21 AM, Fred H Olson <fholson [at]> wrote:
> PS Practice sessions should be planned to minimize technical glitches.

Technical glitches and inability of joining members to overcome difficulties is 
the #1 reason I avoid conference calls, webinars, etc.— or leave early. It’s a 
waste of time. Even if I dig out my knitting, it is irritating noise.

And interrupted presentation is like a performance with actors arriving late 
and leaving often to go help other actors put on costumes—or find the stage. 
And the lights going on and off and static sound. And audience members asking 
actors to repeat the last line. 

The presenters can do trial runs but the audience probably can’t or won’t. They 
would have to sign on early, which some events do request. This will address 
problems on the presentation end, but it won’t help when people sign in late. 
And sometimes people think they know how a platform works only to sign on and 
find that this event is setup differently for some reason.

In addition to the dress rehearsal, it helps if there is a person who is 
designated to offer tech support who can help people off line. Then the 
presentation is not interrupted by pinging and “can you hear me” questions, and 
presenters know they don’t have to stop to respond to participant distress. The 
tech person takes over behind the scenes. It is often the presenter stopping to 
respond to one problem after another that is most disruptive—“Are you okay?” 
“Is it fixed?” “Turn on your microphone so I can hear your response.” On and 
on. This can easily take up 15 minutes of a 60 minute conference call.

Also on visual presentations, if participants can be told how to use the chat 
function, they can put questions there and other participants can respond. This 
allows silent requests and responses.

One option for finding a tech support person is to offer free registration (or 
free use of a the webinar service) in exchange. There are enough people out 
there who are tech savvy that it shouldn’t be hard to find someone.

Sharon Villines, Historic Takoma Park, Washington DC 
Where all roads lead to Casablanca

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