Web conferencing as a collaborative tool between team members can be extremely productive. Webinars as a way to present information to large groups and then solicit feedback from the audience are also a wonderful business tool. But if you mix up the two, you are destined for trouble.
Matt Brunk of Telecomworx published a short description of webinar anarchy on the No Jitter blog. It is sadly hilarious in its description of unmuted phones, presenters getting interrupted, attendees unknowingly showing up on conference webcam, and other travesties.
If you are holding a webinar that is primarily one-way transfer of information from speaker to audience, it’s your responsibility to tighten the reins. Have a moderator in place who can manage technical issues as well as audience problems. Make sure your presenters know what is expected of them, including privacy requirements during the presentation.
Remember, just because your web conferencing technology allows an open forum doesn’t mean you have to structure your meeting that way.
Oh, and by the way… An excellent rule of thumb as a host or audience member is to always assume you can be seen and heard by other participants in a webinar until unambiguously proven otherwise.
Thanks for the lesson, Matt!