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Top 5 Mistakes Made During Live Virtual Keynotes

By Richard Gibbons | Nov. 5, 2021

So there you are…five minutes before the opening session of your virtual conference, and the speaker can’t log into your meeting platform.  

What about that time you watched in horror as the keynoter’s video feed was freezing and cutting out mid-speech? Total nightmare, right?

When it comes to virtual programs, many of our customers prefer delivering their content live instead of pre-recorded. Live is spontaneous and authentic -- after all, Saturday Night Live is live for a reason.

That said, live is not without its challenges…

Our entire staff (along with colleagues all over the industry) have seen every cringe-worthy meltdown imaginable.

While many of these mistakes seem ridiculously obvious in hindsight, it’s shocking how often they occur. Why not learn from your industry brethren and avoid committing the exact same ones?!??!

Let’s explore the Top 5 mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.

MISTAKE #1: The tech check and speed check are not performed at the event location or with the event day computer.

EXAMPLE: We’ve heard keynoters perform a tech check at their office on a desktop computer, but then connect to the meeting platform on game day from a hotel and laptop.  

SOLUTION: Do everything in your power to replicate game day conditions in the tech check – same location, same computer – even if you have to do it only hours before the broadcast.

MISTAKE #2: No backup connections to Wi-Fi or the data provider.

EXAMPLE: Stories abound of Wi-Fi routers that behaved just fine for the tech check and then were jammed on the event day. We also learned of a keynoter, 5 minutes before going live, being stranded when a backhoe operator mistakenly dug up the fiber optic cable outside the speaker’s house.

SOLUTION: Strongly recommend that the talent have backup connectivity – wireless router AND wired connection for their computer. Terrestrial broadband AND high speed cellular for data – quickly pivoting from a terrestrial connection to LTE or 5G on a connected device should be seamless and fast.

MISTAKE #3: The home environment is not controlled.

EXAMPLE: A keynoter was recently delivering a program from their dining room table. In the middle of their session, their remarks were interrupted by the family dog who started furiously barking at who knows what. Because no one was on hand to help, the speaker resorted to placing the dog in his lap for several minutes.

SOLUTION: I love dogs, but that’s not Plan A. When a sound-controlled studio is not available, have an assistant on station who can address any unexpected interruptions or noise.

MISTAKE #4: Connection to meeting platform is left to the last minute.

EXAMPLE: A speaker recently logged onto a meeting platform an hour in advance of showtime without a problem and then logged out. When they attempted to get back in 10 minutes before their introduction, they had bizarre technical difficulties and got frosted out.

SOLUTION: Establish a connection to the meeting platform 45-60 minutes in advance of the target time. Once that connection is established, the speaker can go have a cup of coffee and come back later, but don't sever the connection as logging back in can sometimes be problematic.

MISTAKE #5: Driving supporting images and video content from the remote location.

EXAMPLE: Limited bandwidth at the speaker’s remote site should be devoted solely to their image and their voice and not compete with PowerPoint decks and streaming video footage.  

SOLUTION: Have all that digital content preloaded to the meeting platform before the event and driven by technicians from that location.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list of all that can go wrong, but it’s a pretty good start…

As we like to say, “Our job is to make your job easier.” We hope this helps!



Written by Richard Gibbons


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