Online town halls are great for staff engagement, but mastering the process can be tricky.
Livestreaming an employee event requires collaboration, careful preparation and, of course, solid technical infrastructure from a trusted partner.
Regardless of the venue, approach the production with thorough attention to detail. Audio, graphics, stream testing, time zones and security are all crucial considerations, regardless of the streaming platform you choose: Periscope, Facebook Live or even a custom-built video player.
Each comes with its own challenges, but there are a few common denominators when it comes to streaming for internal communications:
1. Test before you go to the venue. The sensitivity of internal announcements can require last-minute changes and many moving parts. Test as much tech as possible in advance of potential live dates, and develop a clear plan of action as the date gets confirmed. Your livestream partner will probably have to connect with AV and ICT support (and a local crew if you’re looping in distant locales). Most of the work—such as ensuring all offices can view the livestream—should happen in pre-production planning.
2. Stay flexible. Adaptability, backup plans and a calm approach are essential to accommodating late updates to graphics and slides, adding a presenter to the audio set-up, or replaying the recorded livestream swiftly for any offices that couldn’t join live.
3. Push for quality. IC livestream budgets aren’t always huge, but you can still strive for excellence. High-definition video is pretty much a given these days, but making sure lighting and audio are spot-on will make a huge difference. To augment a feed from a smartphone or webcam, you can scale up production values such as graphics, slides, web-based demos and graphic overlays. They help deliver a polished presentation for your audience and improve the experience of companywide communication.
4. Two cameras are better than one. Three are better than two. At a live event, a camera set right in front of the stage will obstruct audience sight lines. Instead, post your primary camera in the rear of the room for a wide shot, zooming in as needed for speakers and interviews. Closer to the stage, position ancillary cameras on sturdy tripods (a must). Controlling them remotely avoids having camera operators blocking audience members’ view of the proceedings. Devote personnel and money to key functions; a trained vision mixer is essential to select and mix the best angles to get the onstage story across.
5. Don’t forget your remote viewers. Before the event and during breaks, your livestream audience could be looking at an empty room or blank stage. Instead, set up a studio in the reception area to catch passing speakers; there you can interview them about key points they’ve made and canvass opinions from delegates about event takeaways. You might also have experts available to answer questions posed by remote attendees.
A version of this post first appeared on Simply Communicate.