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Technical support during your event

When creating an event that runs fully online, the attention that is given to logistics in physical events is now primarily focused on the technical platform. We have learned that for a successful event to happen the session presenters and organisers have to be relaxed in order to take care of the session content. Therefore tech support is needed to take care of everything else related to the platform use.

Running online events is not simple as there as many parameters based on which different circumstances can arise. Here are a series of recommendations based on our experience:

  • As shared at the planning and design stages, selecting the technologies that you will be using very carefully is key. Now take into consideration the number of participants, and the location and quality of the connectivity that they have. Consider also the operating systems and devices that will be used by participants.
  • Plan all requirements in advance: you cannot improvise in an online event. Have all the needs covered by the technologies (for example, polls and surveys, shared boards, shared documents, music you want to play, links to external resources, presentations).
  • Test the technologies before the actual event: run a dress-rehearsal.
    • Conduct platforms tests, particularly audio tests, with all people that will be speaking and presenting.
    • Test with interpreters and captioners.
    • Upload and test presentations and visuals
    • Test music and external links
    • Agree on and test your side / back channel to discuss the preparation and address any issues that may come up during the event.
  • Have specific tech support roles assigned during the event:
    • Tech support for translators, interpreters and captioners for checking sound in audio channels or any issues that they might have.
    • Tech support responsible for monitoring who comes into the space, letting them into the waiting room or responds in case of harassment or serious violation of principles of participation.
    • Tech support ready to assist participants that have issues connecting, muting those that inadvertently leave their mic/camera on, focus the “camera” on speakers.
    • Tech support for recording, starting presentations, etc.
  • Our practice is also to have backup roles, i.e. additional tech staff ready on stand-by.

If several tech support staff will be working at the same time, have defined roles and responsibilities for each, as well as a clear schedule that shows the tasks that have to be done by each of them at a certain time (start recording, test interpreters, show presentation, play music, record the event, run polls, etc). That way the tech staff can stay focused and respond to a task.