What Web Conference Facilitators Can Learn From the Movies

by DarleneChristopher on September 10, 2010

Many years ago, someone in the movie theater business got the great idea of showing something on the screen to entertain the audience during the lead up time to the movie start time.  This meant that those who arrived to the movie early had something to watch to entertain themselves.  Advertisers also seized on this opportunity to market to a captive audience.

Similarly, learning professionals from CLOs to learning specialists have a captive audience during the lead up time before a web conference begins.  In order to get a web conference to start on time, you need to ask participants to arrive early.  Why not make the most of those minutes leading up to the start time of your web conference by showing pre-session slide show?  The content of the slide should be entertaining, while supporting the material you will cover in your course.  Consider including the following in the pre-session slide show:

  • Interesting statistics (for example, for a computer security course include a statistic about the amount of attempted computer hacks)
  • Famous quotes that relate to your topic (for example, for a writing course include a quote from Mark Twain or Shakespeare)
  • Quiz question followed by the answer. Just like at the movie theater, show a photo of a person or place and a simple multiple choice question.
  • Logistical information. Remind participants about materials they need to have ready, start/end time or other FAQs.
  • Marketing information. Remind participants about upcoming courses follow up seminars, etc.

How you set up your pre-conference slide show will depend on which web conference tool you are using.  For example, with Adobe Connect you can link each slide to the next to create a loop of slides (do the linking in PowerPoint), then each participant clicks through the slides at his/her own pace.

Each minute of a web conference is precious, so make the most of the lead up time with a pre-session slide show that peaks your audience interest and gets them into a learning mindset.  Who knows, you may find a pre-conference slide show so helpful that you include it in your face-to-face trainings as well!

Related Resources:

Adobe Connect

CLO Magazine

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