Updated: Oct 28, 2022
It's been an interesting week - in our second application season - attending virtual information sessions for prospective parents.
SLTs have the benefit of a whole year of learning and, by now, should know what works and what doesn't.
Yet, so many schools are struggling. Really struggling. So, we have some simple tips to take your next school presentation online to the next level.
Remember, parents are shopping around more than ever. It's a 'buyer's market' and they have plenty of choice. The barrier to entry in joining an online session is low and you will attract everyone from the mildly curious to the more or very interested parents and even competitors.
You can use an online session to 'wow' your prospective parents and steer them towards an application but, done wrong, you can put them off forever and bore them in an instant.
Keep it simple! A lengthy form asking for a dozen or more different fields to be completed is enough to put some off. You might think that the lead was unlikely to convert if they can't be bothered to complete a form, but it must be a short form. You can follow up afterwards to solicit further information.
One registration. It's surprising how many times a form leads to an automated response to register for the webinar!
Ensure registration is mandatory and that each attendee has a unique login so they cannot share.
Automate reminders and responses.
Test the flow multiple times to ensure it is simple and it works.
Meeting or webinar?
Webinar. Every. Time.
A meeting is great for interaction. A meeting is for a small group where almost everyone has the opportunity to speak. This is not suitable for a school presentation where the communication is mostly one way and where you want to control the environment
Problems with meetings:
Attendees are visible to all (possible breach of privacy)
All attendees have the ability to turn on their camera and microphone and this will surely result in unwanted disruptions
All attendees can see how many attendees are in the meeting
All attendees can message each other, even privately
"Sorry, can you please mute yourself?"
A webinar allows you to control the entire experience, to protect the privacy of others
"Hello? Can you hear me? Shall we start?"
Just start. Do your practice before your guests join. Be confident in the technology. If it does fail (and it will), someone will tell you.
Remember to turn your camera on and unmute yourself and just start. On time.
Stand or Sit?
Sit. You will most likely be controlling your own slides and need to be able to read them, so sit at your computer.
Audio will become a big headache if you're not sat at your computer.
Another advantage is that you can monitor the chat, comments and questions and respond.
Virtual background or not?
Depends. If your background is ugly, then a virtual background is probably a good idea. Subtle branding. Not an image we've all seen used by multiple people.
Mask or no mask?
No mask. Make sure you are socially distanced/alone. Your co-speakers can be in separate rooms/locations.
You cannot communicate as effectively wearing a mask as you can without.
It doesn't have to be fancy - a simple pair of headphones will usually work well. Test your audio beforehand. It doesn't have to be perfect - just good.
Camera Quality & Stability
You can use the inbuilt webcam or an external one. Most important is that it's stable. If you use a phone, set it up to record in landscape mode.
Be aware of the camera and don't obstruct it during your talk.
One Language, Many Speakers
If you have an audience with mixed languages, run multiple sessions and run each session in one language.
Having multiple speakers can increase engagement significantly. However, as mentioned previously, they should be on separate screens so masks are not needed.
Mixing it up with different speakers and some video can dramatically improve the overall experience.
Keep it short and simple.
We've seen sessions of between 30 and 90 minutes. Concentration can wane quite early on. We would say an hour max.
Automate a follow up by all means, but depending on your current enrolment and your targets, consider personal follow ups by email or even phone.
Consider a video follow up. Get creative!!
Would you like support to run the best online presentation you possible can? We can generate more registrations via our channels and host it for you too if you would like.