Monday, March 21, 2011

Sharing Presentations and Letting Everyone Get on a Different Page

Webinars and online meetings, where you share a screen with other users, do a great job of keeping everyone in sync, no matter which location they attend your meeting from. You flip to a slide, and the whole audience, spread in different corners of the world, sees that slide. Everyone is on the same page.

This works great for the most part. When you come to questions and answers, though, people need to refer back to earlier slides. What one person needs to refer could be different from what another person needs to. This is what brings us to the need for letting everyone get on a different page. This is an example of an asynchronous interaction.

Asynchronous interactions are slow-time, or near-real-time.

There are several tools that support asynchronous interactions of varying depths. A trivial example would be Google Sites,  where you can form a group and everyone updates content at their own convenience. Another example would be online forums where discussions span several hours or days. However, webinars and online meetings need something more structured around the presentation.

A particularly interesting example is the presentation sharing activity in TeemingPod. Here, the interaction starts when someone uploads a presentation to TeemingPod. Once a presentation is on TeemingPod, the synchronous part of a web meeting is accomplished as usual - with a online conferencing software such as GotoMeeting, GotoWebinar, Adobe Connect and so forth. The fun begins when someone has a question. Any person that is a member of that Pod simply  goes to a slide, makes a comment or texts in a question, and waits. The meeting host gets an alert, goes to the same slide, and answers the question. In the meantime, other people's questions are queued on their respective slides. The answers are also displayed on the respective slides.

Recently I used TeemingPod for an online team meeting with over a hundred members, and it worked swimmingly well.

1 comment:

  1. One of the first things that make a successful presentation is how the presenter handles questions. This is because, by definition, a presentation belongs to the audience. It has to be a learning experience for them, and not for the presenter. Any presentation can be said to achieve this goal only if this is a collaborative process.

    The hitch here is - this Q&A activity has to be asynchronous for following reasons:
    1. The audience may not have questions on the exact time any slide is presented
    2. The audience may consist of a large number of people, where all may not get a chance to ask questions in given time frame
    3. When the Q&A session is held in the end, some of the audience may just forget the questions or choose not to ask them by then.

    As outlined in the post, a very good answer to above problems is TeemingPod.

    The ability to let the audience comment on a particular slide at any point of time during the presentation and referring to the question at a suitable time always works wonders. There can be a healthy discussion on any slide without interrupting the presentation flow and without missing any questions.

    The presentation can also be shared ahead of time for questions and comments. Here, as the feedback is in context with a particular slide, it becomes very valuable during and after the presentation.

    There is one additional benefit - It is also very reassuring to know that at least some in the audience are trying to listen and reflect on the presentation content and not just checking emails and chatting :)