30 Mar Digital Engagement: Avoiding Technical Difficulties
As the situation around COVID-19 continues evolving, we are all making necessary changes to face this challenge head-on. But what won’t change is K&A’s commitment to colleagues, clients, teaming partners and friends. K&A is sending a series of blog posts with advice and guidance for digital public outreach and community engagement using a variety of formats, methods and platforms. We hope these tools will help you continue to communicate about things that matter.
K&A is with you. We are navigating your same issues and working together on collaborative, technological solutions to continue providing service. As we continue to navigate replacing face-to-face interactions with conference calls, screenshares, and video conferences, here are some tips for avoiding technical difficulties:
- When possible, encourage your participants to download the online tools you will be using in advance of an engagement. It will minimize frustration of trouble-shooting technical difficulties as your engagement is scheduled to begin.
- If your audience is not tech-savvy, consider using online tools that do not require a participant to download an app in order to participate, or using platforms that can easily record, recap, or transcribe the discussion
- Offer to provide tutorials to participants in advance of meetings so they feel well prepared when the meeting starts.
- Perform internal test runs to ensure all links and functions are working as intended, and accessible to your audience.
- Prepare your space before the engagement. Check the room’s acoustics, lighting and Wi-Fi connectivity.
- Identify your comment methods, develop the engagement ground rules and tap an administrator in your organization to maintain a productive engagement, and a moderator to control the flow of questions.
- Use a hard-wire Internet connection whenever possible. Wi-Fi can be temperamental when it comes to clear streaming, and a hard-wire connection will be more reliable.
- Make sure your audio (microphone and speakers) and camera are ready for prime time. Scratchy audio or a low-resolution camera will detract from the experience.
- Avoid voice echoes during a video conference by choosing to call in rather than use the computer audio; prioritize using platforms that mute all upon entry to create a more seamless experience for your audience.
- Get your IT person on board to troubleshoot technical issues so you can focus on the content development, facilitation and delivery, and engagement with your stakeholders.
- Prepare an option that is less tech-based, like a conference-call public meeting, or post your webinar to your website.
We hope these tips can serve as preventative measures to help you avoid technical issues, as virtual meetings across video platforms become the new normal. Despite no longer seeing people face-to-face, webinars and video conferences help maintain connection, build trust, and expand digital capacity. Next up in our series, we will discuss various public engagement digital tools, so keep an eye out to see how emerging technology can support your remote work and help you communicate.
The next blog post as part of this series will be posted on April 6, 2020 and will discuss thinking outside the box.