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Monday, September 21, 2020

Having a Plan B For Hosting Virtual Events


 You may be like many freelancers who've decided to teach others your specialty or one of the many things you do exceptionally well.  This is a great idea for most who enjoy public speaking and have the patience to deal with a variety of personalities.  However, I'm finding a lot of novice hosts lack execution or what to do when plans fall through.

Since the pandemic, I've sat in on a lot of online teaching experiences outside of a college or university setting.  And you may have observed the following among those who call themselves "experts" - 

  • They fail to check the audio
  • They fail to include the link that allows participants to check their connection before class
  • The presentations look sloppy (and this was for a proofreading class...that costs me 100 bucks and was NON-REFUNDABLE)
  • Failure to tell participants to turn off all background noise or sit in a quiet space, if possible

One incident that particularly hurt my heart recently was a writing class that was originally live but once I got around to enrolling, it was canceled because not enough people signed on.  So I wait for months and was elated when I was notified it would be available online.  However, my first disappointment was that the price wasn't reduced (I mean you're not renting physical space, right?).

Then came the day of the event.  The host was disorganized and chose to have private convos with select participants while others waited.  Not everyone was introduced into the group and dialogue was all over the place.  Although the ignored participants got an apology a week later, his first impression made me mad that again, I couldn't freaking get my money back.

Now, I'm no one special...today.  Many of us are seeing life beyond the hustle and really want to shine on name recognition alone.  But it's just like that receptionist at any given corporate gig.  The person answering phones today and can be THE BOSS of everything tomorrow.  Don't believe me? Then check out the hard luck stories of these forever bosses.

So if you're thinking of going the virtual event route to add to your income stream, please think of your students...the people that are paying you to give them something.


Sorry, I couldn't resist. Tee hee hee...

Anyway, last week I discovered someone who got it half right.  While some things are impossible to predict and it's hard to detect where the screaming baby in the background is coming from, it helps to have a backup plan.  Here are a couple of good examples - 

Say you're experimenting with an upload you're not 100% familiar with, your lesson was in the upload and there was no time to give it a test run. Saving said documents as a PDF or Word is a good idea for you and your students.  Some hosts will send documents before (like overnight or an hour prior) just so that participants will have something to refer to.

Also, if you're inexperienced in public speaking or feel uneasy at first, enlist a friend willing to volunteer their time.  While this can provide a boost of confidence, preparation can take more time.  I was once recruited to volunteer at a JavaScript class and it showed that the instructor never spoke to me to find out where I stood on the subject.  Even though she had fun roasting me, she eventually dug her professional grave.  Remember, this is also a form of networking!


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