International Project Management Day




Web Conferencing Planning Activities


Quick Summary
This guideline walks you step-by-step through creating a realistic work breakdown for your online event, including often-overlooked tasks like presenter training and follow-up communications.


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What this is

A set of "how-to" guidelines for planning, creating, delivering, and facilitating a presentation using online web conferencing software (e.g. WebEx, Placeware). Web conferencing software allows participants to engage in real-time interaction and/or collaboration without necessarily being in the same conference room. Web presentations increasingly popular for everything from increasing and improving team communication for virtual or distributed project teams, to providing online training, to educating customers or potential customers on a company's offerings.

Organizations or project teams may want to use web-based presentations (sometimes called "webinars") for a number of reasons:

  • By providing an online venue for special speakers (project management experts, for example), companies can provide access to such education to a wider group of project managers, potentially at much lower cost.
  • Virtual (distributed) project teams can benefit from common project presentations without requiring everyone to be on-site. An example could be a presentation from Marketing explaining the rationale and customers for a new project. Another might be a design review presentation.
  • Professional society volunteers may wish to provide an alternate venue for their guest speakers, to accommodate more participants, or to fill in between scheduled on-site presentations.

Why it's useful

While some online presentations may seem straightforward, the overall quality of experience for the participants (or the presenter) may be very low as a result of any number of small factors, ranging from conference call interruptions to lack of facility with the conferencing software. In addition, many common practices in face-to-face presentations (for example, verbose slides with small type) do not translate well to online venues. This guideline will help event facilitators avoid some of the most common and disruptive issues.


How to use it

Beginning on the next page is a step-by-step guide to planning, preparing, and conducting a web conference presentation, including follow-up activities. Each step includes:

  • An estimate of the time needed for the activity. Your situation may vary. For example, if your presenter is very familiar with web conferencing, you probably won't need to spend much time familiarizing them with your software.
  • An approximate target date for starting or completing the activity.
  • Special considerations or observations about what should be accomplished with each activity.

Review the guidelines and make any adjustments to time required or due dates for your particular situation. Assign presentation support roles as required for your particular case and draw up a brief work breakdown based on the guideline and your notes. You'll end up with a start-to-finish outline for running a web presentation that everyone can feel good about participating in.

NOTE: These steps assume the most "full blown" type of web conference situation, a more formal presentation prepared in advance, with publicity emailing, registration by attendees etc. Thus it can include all the steps to guide the most involved situations such as online marketing "webinars" to potential customers. However, many of the steps do apply to more informal situations such as project team meetings, again, to increase the quality and effectiveness of the experience for everyone. Review the guidelines and select the steps that apply to your situation.


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