“An Angel Investor, a CTO and a clean shaven chimp walk into a bar. …and it was open!”. We’re desperately looking forward to some post-lockdown humor. Hope you all are doing well!
All of you by now must have clocked several days of video conferences, webinars and conference calls from the cosy confines of your home. Online communication is as nuanced as real life. When you have to communicate with your team, don’t automatically turn to video conferencing. Different tools now enable you to be more effective and kinder to your audience. Let’s talk about Live Streaming or Webcasting.
“Online communication is as nuanced as real life. When you have to communicate with your team, don’t automatically turn to video conferencing.”
Webcasts and Live Streaming are two ways to describe a one to many broadcast. Think of a televised statement by the Home Ministry. This is your private TV channel to go live and communicate to a large audience. It’s to reach a large number (hundreds) of people with minimal interaction with the audience.
The dominant focus at the broadcaster’s end is to be seen and heard. Very clearly and recording-worthy. Invest in making your presenters look and sound great. They are not to be looking for audience reaction, or instantly responding to Q&A and interaction. The focus at the audience endpoint is to watch and listen easily. On any device, with minimum equipment and to be able to interact via text at least. The broadcast must be frugal on bandwidth. The audience doesn’t have to be seen or heard.
Why is live streaming different from video conferencing?
- Size matters. “That’s what she said!”. Sorry, we have been binge watching “The Office”. Again. Live streaming is used when you need to address a large number of viewers at once. And they may be scattered all over the world and these days at their home. As the numbers go up into the hundreds and thousands this is the best way to reach out to them in a controlled and secure manner. Video conferences work best with about 10-15 participants. They get hard to manage when there are 50+ participants and very expensive when the number exceeds a hundred.
- Sometimes it has to be a one way street. Company wide decisions, bad news and good news, periodic company statements are some types of communication that can be made. These may not be disrupted by participants talking over each other, microphones left unmuted, “raised hands”, or any one of the interruptions caused by an overly enabled audience. Especially when the numbers are large. This is the predominant difference with video conferencing where a semblance of democratic exchange is expected amongst a small set of participants.
Having said that, it’s not always just a one-way street. During the webcast the audience can post questions and moderators could collate them and the speaker could address them if that was the plan.
“Webcasts of conversations between experts in the field and your technology leaders are inherently interesting and will keep remote employees engaged.”
So, when should you use live streaming?
- When a message you need to broadcast has an urgency and your audience has been waiting to hear about it. That’s why people tune into press conferences and statements by the Govt. during emergencies and crises. The information you provide is going to be current and critical. At your company it may be an opportunity for employees to hear the leadership talk to them directly and live. Fireside chats are a great way to address a large number of people in your company.
- When your audience would love to be a fly on the wall. Your employees would like to see the leadership in a live interview setting. Webcasts of conversations between experts in the field and your technology leaders are inherently interesting and will keep remote employees engaged. Panel discussions also are very popular.
- When you want to reach an audience outside of your employees. You can use them as an engagement tool. Your sales team can provide invitations to selected prospects and provide tailored messages that educate and clear objections as they converge to a purchase. Get leaders in your industry to speak and meanwhile showcase your company.
The applications are many. Try one out. You will also automatically build a great repository when you record your webcasts for future reference.
While we wait to see what happens with the clean shaven chimp, stay safe and stay indoors.