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Show stoppers

Anyone that has given a live presentation knows that good planning can help avoid embarrassing mistakes. If at the end of a program, the audience has not noticed any glaring errors, then your time on stage can be judged as a success.

Now add to that the technical errors that can occur while streaming the event and you have just doubled the opportunities for chaos.

Starting with power sources, are yours reliable? What happens if a power source gives out halfway through your live stream? Do you have a back up? Since a battery powered live stream is not an option, what is your contingency plan for powering al your devices?

Backing up servers can reduce the risk of a critical error in your live stream. Since the dawn of the computer age it has been a self-evident truth that computers will crash. Will your servers switch seamlessly if one happens to fail? If no one would notice the change over, then no one would be jarred, losing focus on the message being related.

Can your servers handle the anticipated audience size? What if you have double or triple the anticipated viewership? Ten times? One hundred times? You may not get the 1.4 million viewers of Super Bowl 50, but if viewers begin tweeting that they can’t get your feed, that is going to hurt your reputation and online collateral.

If you are using a local wifi, your control is now removed by one step. Whatis your contingency if that fails. Some wifi in institutional settings have timers on them to limit use. Did you ask? Do you know who to ask? If everything is going fine until 20 minutes into the show and you are booted off the wifi, how long would it take you to get back up and running?

With technology, a good plan complete with back-ups, are easy enough to put in place. Servers and power supplies are not prone to bouts of emotion and petulance.

What do you do for instance if two days before your event, you talent tells you that she will not present and does not give her consent for her image to be used on a live stream. Did you assume that there was not going to be an issue getting a release form signed? Do you have release forms?

People can cause headaches, but here a checklist can help prevent your world from crashing down.

On your check list, the name and contact information of all interested parties including talent should be at the very top. Moderators, guests and VIPs each could be a no-show or a late show. Having them arrive at the location of the live stream an hour before the event will give you enough time to corrall them or make other plans if they fail to keep their commitment.

That checklist must also include pre-show set-up time, doors open time, start and stop the webcast time, microphones for all the panellists, water, visual aids; the list is long!

Then of course there is the issue of compatibility. PowerPoint presentations are quite common. Are the guest presenters sure their formats suit the live stream?

Unless yours is a simple webcast, you may be wise to leave it to the pros! Streaming video live is full of roadblocks and traps. Very often it is an event, and a good event planner never omits details!

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