Webchat Tips

When hosting your own webchat, it’s important to keep the audience engaged and to ensure adequate video quality. Follow this guide to help plan your next virtual program!

Types of Programs

Open/Public

  • Not all of your audience is gathered in one spot – could be watching online via home computer or mobile device. Ex: Facebook Live
  • Topic should be broad enough to address a more diverse audience
  • Presentation pace should be quick moving – to keep audience’s attention and get to questions

Closed/Private

  • Audience is gathered in one spot or a few locations (like U.S. Embassies)
  • Topic can be more focused, discussion can be more private/frank/informal
  • More time for everyone to get their questions answered

Tech Requirements

  • Laptop or desktop with internal mic and cam
  • Ethernet connection or stable wifi connection
  • Ability to do a complete technical test before your program date  – must be at the same location as the live program

Tips for Engagement

Your Presentation

  • Timing: Aim for no more than 15 min of slides unless doing a training.  Less is more. Faces are usually more interesting than slides.
  • Take breaks from showing slides/take breaks for questions throughout your presentation, if possible.
  • You can share supplemental materials – graphs, maps, videos, etc. – via email, in the chat space, etc.

Know Your Audience

  • Think about the situation on the ground
  • Before your webchat: Think of ways to ask invitees questions/get them prepared to be active participants
  • After your presentation: Leave your audience with resources/materials

Visual

  • Avoid back-light from windows
  • Place a light source in front of your computer (like a lamp)
  • Choose a professional/neutral background – avoid very personal objects like beds or family pictures, which can be distracting
  • Avoid looking down on your audience
  • Lower your chair/raise your laptop on books to look at your audience instead
  • Sit a natural distance from the camera – avoid leaning in and being a floating head

Presentations

When making a presentation deck, use slides to reinforce, not replace, your talking points. Be sure to use high quality images. Keep things simple to keep your audience’s attention.

Good Slide Examples

Bad Slide Examples

Templates and Free Images

  • Free templates for your slideshows
  • Stock Photos in the Public Domain:
  • Flickr Creative Commons images. Note usage/attribution requirements.
  • Google Usage Rights Filter for images. Stick to:
    • Labeled for reuse with modification
    • Labeled for reuse
    • Labeled for noncommercial reuse with modification
    • Labeled for noncommerial reuse
  • ​​​​​​​Wikimedia Commons images. Note attribution for slides.