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A Guide To Virtual Webinar Sessions And Virtual Keynote Speaking – Is One Better?

First! What’s The Actual Difference Between a Virtual Keynote and a Virtual Webinar?

 

A webinar (a combination of the words “web” and “seminar”) is a video workshop, lecture, or presentation hosted online using webinar software. Often business-related, these sessions can be used to share knowledge, ideas, and updates with people around the world. Webinars can also be leveraged to build and nurture relationships, build authority around a brand, or demonstrate a product.

A virtual keynote delivery is a live speech by a speaker to a live virtual audience. They typically involve the speaker foccussing on topics of relevence to the organsitation. They can be tailored to a clients specific needs with an advance briefing or planning call.  The interactive part of these virtual sessions normally comes from questions being sent digitally and answered following the session. A moderator is required to help the speaker manage the question feed.

With the effects of Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant changes to the way in which companies work with their employees, the way in which we communicate has likely changed forever. 

There are significant advantages of being able to provide top-class speakers for moderated virtual webinars and keynote delivery directly to companies worldwide.

Lets in the first instance look at the disadvantages compared to the advantages of hosting virtual sessions.

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Disadvantages of Virtual Sessions

  • Lack of one-to-one and team interaction with employees or client partners
  • Perceived technical connection issues
  • Potential security risks due to engaging 3rd party conference streaming software
  • Frustration if set up poorly

Advantages of Virtual Sessions

  • Easy and quick to set up
  • Direct communication with employees and clients,  showing that the organisation cares about its people
  • Significant travel and accommodation savings
  • More efficient use of employees and clients time
  • Ability to ensure the ‘target’ corporate theme/message is delivered within a concise window of time to a defined audience
  • Easy to encourage full participation by a selection of a great speaker, topic and advance invitation by email (teaser video encouraged, see below)
  • The audience has the ability to ask questions and interact online
  • A professional moderator will add a lot of online audience engagement
  • The session is more intimate in comparison to a large auditorium
  • Easy to compile a short summary video for follow up and a reminder of the session
  • Access to speakers worldwide, not just in your region
  • Less expensive speaker fees, due to no travel requirements

 

Speaker Selection

The first important consideration to note is that ‘not all speakers like virtual speaking, and are competent at it.’

This is likely to change as remote working becomes the normal and in most cases speakers will have to adapt to this new world. But many speakers are already experts on relevant topics that include; resilience, teamwork, communicating remotely; taking risk; remote sales and more.

The good news is that many of the worlds leading conference speakers from the former pre-Coronavirus period have adapted quickly to speaking virtually. Some speakers and celebrities already have studio arrangements in their own home for greater interaction and with fans. This is a real benefit!

Speaker fees are also affected in a positive way for clients. Without travel speakers fees can be reduced as they are now able to work on more than one talk per day from home.

To look at speakers of interest in this area visit the Speakers page here.

 

The Moderator

“The role of the moderator is extremely important when it comes to virtual webinars and virtual speaking. A good moderator will control the energy levels and what the audience leave the session having learned.”

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A great moderator is like a chat show host, able to add humour but importantly have researched the client, speaker and the industry sector itself.

In doing so, they are able to manage the interactive question and answer session with skill.

They command the virtual room and should be considered as important as the speaker themselves by the client.

Companies may also where possible use the senior leadership for these sessions as it allows a great platform for communication from above.

 

 

How Long Should A Virtual Webinar or Keynote Delivery Be?

There is a direct answer for this, based upon our experience of what has worked and not worked so well.

Virtual Keynote Delivery: 25 – 45 minutes followed by 15 minutes interactive Q&A

Virtual Moderated Webinars: 20 – 60 minutes to include 15 minutes of interactive Q&A

 

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Which Platform To Use And At What Cost?

This depends largely on how companies and organisations have been communicating internally and externally via video conferencing platforms. Security plays a key factor in determining which platform is most suitable.

Here are some of the most popular video conferencing platforms in use: Skype for Business, Zoom, Livestorm, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet

In addition to this, the numbers of people who will be invited and attend the virtual session will influence which platform works best. For example Zoom’s offering is free for up to 100 participants on a video call but limited to 40 minutes.

To have 500 participants and unlimited call time you would require the purchase of a professional licence. With Livestorm where you can have up to 2,000 participants per call the licence fee would for running unlimited webinars is c. $400 USD per month.

Looking beyond the more well known commercial videoing names there are also a host of bespoke platforms, that companies seeking greater multi-screen capability should consider. Twentythree is one of these and we have included their pricing model here by example.

Here is a link to a good reference page that summarises the capabilities of the current video conferencing providers.

 

What Does The Remote Worker Require?

An internet speed of 10 Mbps or more guarantees successful connection to the virtual set up. They should make sure that they have well in advance downloaded the required software and then check the video and sound settings on their terminal.

The positioning of the computer or handheld device closer to the wireless router should be considered. We recommend that participants should test their internet speed using free online checkers such as Speedtest.net or Speedcheck.org.

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How Much? What Are The Fees for Booking Virtual Speaking & Webinars

This is the question that we have been receiving repeatedly since March 2020. The answer is that they vary, but we are finding an acceptable level. We have found that there are many less-competent speakers marketing talks for very little money or free.

This we understand, but it should not mean that experienced and leading conference speakers should also give away their talks if going online.

With the speakers themselves finding that their incomes have been affected by the loss of conference work, here at Promotivate we have been recommending that the speaker’s fees for virtual speaking should amount to 50% of their normal speaking fee.

The only exception to this being if the client booking the speaker requires the speaker to spend significantly more time preparing for the virtual session.

 

Testing, Teaser Videos, Trial Runs and Add-Ons

We recommend that at least a 15-minute test run is completed a few days before the virtual event itself.  If audience participation is included; such as having live Q&A or online poling then this should be included.

bear grylls 2 - A Guide To Virtual Webinar Sessions And Virtual Keynote Speaking - Is One Better?We also like to ask speakers to provide clients with a short teaser video. Normally the video is no longer than a minute and should announce their arrival and what they are coming to talk about.

It’s a great way to make sure signup and attend the virtual meet. Here’s an example we had Bear Grylls record for a forthcoming virtual conference.

View: Bear Grylls Teaser Video

For example, we like a mobile phone application called sli.do which allows the online audience to answer questions set by the organisation in advance, during or following the virtual session.

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Slido improves the interactivity and provides valuable feedback to leadership teams about important issues that are affecting the group in real-time. This also then enables reactive measures and behavioural change to be applied.  The feedback can be anonymised if required.
 

Conclusion

We believe that virtual keynote and virtual webinars will become far more popular as people familiarise themselves with remote working.

There is no answer to whether a webinar or a keynote is better. This is simply down to the need of the audience. Both virtual setups will undoubtedly be useful in moving forward. Companies will be using both virtual programs to communicate at far less cost than flying employees and client partners to annual conferences worldwide.

We look forward to the return of the physical conferences when normality is restored. But we believe the speaker industry can benefit from companies booking a series of virtual talks annually when previously one big organised event was scheduled.

“In the longer term, the combination of both virtual and traditional conference speaking should see the industry restored to beyond its pre-Coronavirus levels.”

If we can help you organise either a virtual talk or a webinar programme we’ll be pleased to assist you. We are working normally worldwide with none of us on the government furlough support schemes. We have both the speakers and technical capability in position to deliver these advanced virtual speaking solutions now.

Jonathan Curran, Managing Director

Promotivate Speakers Agency

 

Finally, you might enjoy:  Watch the Speakers Series: ‘HOPE: COVID-19 ‘Inspiration by Experts in Resilience’