Toto, I Don’t Think We Are In The Meeting Venue Anymore

7 Tips For Successful Live Streaming Events

This article was written (well, ghostwritten by me in collaboration with Dave Lutz) for Dave’s People & Processes column in PCMA’s September edition of Convene. 

Image by garlandcannon

Recently we looked at the logistics needed for a successful hybrid event. That live streaming cheat sheet addressed the five types of hybrid events, provided a check list of what you need for live streaming an event, and provided nine questions to consider. 

So how do you create a successful experience for both the face-to-face and the virtual audiences? 

Here are seven tips to consider when engaging both a face-to-face and virtual audience.

1. We’re here. You’re there. Who’s on first? Labels are important.

Call your face-to-face attendees your local participants and those attending virtually, your remote audience. This helps the remote audience feel part of the event instead of being in the ether world, out there, virtually.

2. Avoid wardrobe malfunctions.

Encourage speakers that will be live streamed to avoid plaids, stripes, white, black, bright blue and green.  Avoid blue and green because of Chroma key compositing where one image is removed or made transparent, revealing another image behind it. Solid, bright colors and large prints work better for live streaming events. We’ve all seen TV reporters that have plaid or checked clothing that seems to swim on TV.

3. Is that nose hair?

Maintain a reasonable distance between the camera and the presenters. Remember the concept of personal space applies to live streaming events just as it does to face-to-face vents. A comfortable view is usually from the floor to the ceiling of the presenter rather than a close-up of faces only.

4. Remember, this isn’t television.

Test the technology before going live so you can see what the lighting looks like and hear the sound quality. Sound quality trumps the visual here as the audience really needs to hear what is being said. Don’t try to create a full production like you would see on a live television program. Just plan on giving an accurate portrayal of what is happening onsite.

5. Like the man on the street interviews, secure the moderator on the floor.

Establish the Twitter hashtag for the event early and promote it often. Encourage remote attendees to watch the live stream and chat via twitter or text. Secure at least one person to moderate the Twitter stream using to relay questions to the presenter and respond as needed.

6. Break the “Fourth Wall.”

The Fourth Wall is the imaginary wall at the front of the stage through which the audience sees a play. Often remote attendees feel as if they are not part of the face-to-face experience due to their distance from the venue. Break the boundary by having the speaker talk directly to the remote audience from time to time and acknowledge their presence.

7. Create intimate moments for the remote attendees.

Before going on stage or at the end of the presentation, ask the speaker to address the remote audience, like a behind-the-scenes report. This gives the remote audience a feeling of something special that the onsite audience didn’t see.

Takeaway: Visit for more detailed information on video production, lighting, mobile phone video conversions and more.

This post was reprinted with permission of Convene, the magazine of the Professional Convention Management Association. © 2010  

What tips would you add to this list when blending both a remote, virtual and face-to-face audience? What have you seen done with hybrid events that impressed you?

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  2. Maddie Grant says:

    I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts about #Ectc10. I wish I had watched the whole livestream, but the part I did see was fantastic – not just a really good livestream platform but having Emilie Barta speaking to the virtual audience throughout the day, in-between session interviews, the use of Google Moderator so we could participate in discussion exercises along with the onsite people, etc – I thought to myself this is what #unTech10 would have been had we had more than 36 hours to plan it, and that made me feel pretty good about it. I know you and Dave watched some of Event Camp – what did you think?

  3. Dave Lutz says:

    Maddie, thanks for bringing up #ectc10. They definitely did an awesome job of engaging the remote audience…breaking down the 4th wall and creating intimate moments for the remote audience. Sam Smith and Emilie Barta set a great example!

    I thought use of google moderator was an interesting idea, but they may have gotten further with tweetchat or a polling software. Something with less of a learning curve is usually more effective.

    The one improvement that was needed was to be able to see the slides and the video simultaneously. They realized this a little into the program and made the correction. Nice!

    What’s really cool about #ectc10 is that they did it all on a shoe string budget. Many conferences are shying away from live streaming for cost reasons. A decent production can be done very reasonably. They proved it!

  4. Sam Smith says:

    Dave – Great article and thanks for the shout out on #ectc10. We were happy to have you out there participating.

    Just a quick comment on Google Moderator. I thought, Erica’s choice of Google Moderator was excellent, because it allowed the entire audience to take a mass collaboration project and chunk it into bit sized elements. This allowed us to create over 100 ideas and get more than 360ish total votes on those ideas in a short period of time. Plus, the document is still living on here: So, people can add, update and comment on ideas – plus vote.

    Tweetchat and ARS aren’t built for that type of collaboration process.

  5. Dave Lutz says:

    Sam, thanks for the comment!

    As a remote participant, google moderator was clunky for me. I’m more high tech than most and incorrectly posted my ideas to the wrong group and got confused by the voting…so voted multiple times to make sure it took. I know that other remote participants had similar challenges. It doesn’t mean it’s not a great tool. I think it just has a brief learning curve to be be more useful.

    Are there any plans on what to do with the ideas generated?

  6. Sam Smith says:

    Hi Dave,

    Great observation about Google Moderator’s clunkiness. Labeling your categories correctly is important. We made a mistake and called them Group 1, Group 2, etc. – and those were not useful labels and people got confused. After the session, we changed the categories to the name of their topic. So, it should be more meaningful now if you go in again.

    Also, remember this is one of the first times ever that a mass collaboration has been done like this – 3 different sites AND hundreds of people in the virtual audience in their pajamas. So, there were bound to be hiccups.

    Most of the time, when you use mass collaboration tools like UserVoice, Wizerize, Crystal Interactive or any of the others – you usually allow for more time (maybe a 1/2 or full day) and you use a Facilitated process that moves your from idea generation to categorization to prioritization to decision making and action planning. ALSO – they are generally limited to a single site or maybe a handful of remote sites. So, we were plowing new ground to see what would happen.

    Regarding the post event data, all of that will be posted online over the coming weeks. You will find the data posted in the conference community. You can go to to learn more.

    Again, thanks for your support virtually, Dave. We really appreciated it.

  7. Dave Lutz says:

    ‘@Sam, thanks for introducing us all to Google Moderator. It was definitely an innovative deployment and is worth consideration for engaging a hybrid audience. Cool stuff!

  8. GADEL says:

    Thanks a lot for these live event stream tips.

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