A few months back I was accepted to speak at two conferences in two different countries organised by the same company but due to the current circumstances we find ourselves in it was no longer possible for the event to run physically. Instead the two events combined to one big online conference. Fortunately I was able to still take part and give my session remotely.
Leading up to the event I was really looking forward to it, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but the opportunity to give a remote session really appealed to me. I didn’t seem to have the usual nerves before the event, this was probably due to the fact I don’t like travelling to different countries alone and I was looking forward to being able to give a conference presentation from the comfort of my own home.
Just before the talk I found myself quite nervous with the whole remote presenting thing. This was my first time remote presenting and I think the neves were due to not being familiar with how much I or the audience would get out of a session run remotely.
Despite having setup two monitors I found it tricky to see my slides, presenter notes, the window attendees would see of me presenting to see if everything looked as expected as well as the chat window.
Remote presenting I found I had more worries than usual that would not normally be an issue. Was my network connection ok? Could they hear me ok? Were my slides presenting as expected? Were people asking questions in the chat and expecting me to answer?
I really found not being in a room with attendees a strange thing. I really enjoy interacting with attendees, reading their body language and facial expressions as I talk - and of course trying to answer their often tricky questions!
I think perhaps I could have tried to follow the chat window as I spoke to try and interact with attendees but at the time it felt quite challenging just to present and ensure I was keeping to the time without another thing to keep an eye on.
I had some great questions at the end of the presentation and afterward received some great feedback where people said they really enjoyed the session but I’m not quite sure as a speaker whether I enjoyed it or not.
Despite me not really knowing whether I enjoyed giving the session or not I think the event ran amazingly well from what I saw. What DevTalks pulled off over three days and the ways they tried to engage with attendees all over the world and remotely was outstanding. I’m not 100% on the platform they used but it seemed to offer lots of ways for attendees to interact with other participants, interactive exhibitor booths where you could ask questions and win prizes, chat with other attendees/speakers as well as chat during sessions.
I’m keen to try this again and learn better ways to interact with attendees and enjoy presenting remotely.
Have you spoken at an event remotely or as an attendee watched a remote session?
What did you find worked/didn’t work? How can people make the most of giving sessions remotely?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.