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SQLAndy

I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.

Notes on Moderating a 24 Hours of PASS Presentation

Last night (8pm Eastern) I had my first run as a 24HOP moderator and wanted to share some thoughts on it:

  • I usually use the microphone on my laptop, but in test we were getting echo in some places. I fixed it by turning down the speaker volume. Definitely recommend a headset as safest plan.
  • PASS sends the moderator and speaker the private link one hour before the presentation. I logged in 30 minutes early and it was great to talk through the process with the PASS team. If anything next time I’ll come in 45 minutes earlier. Better to have extra time than not enough.
  • We used GoToWebinar and overall that was positive. Pretty good tools. They have a practice mode so you can make sure all is working before you let attendees in.
  • I typically only share Powerpoint to make sure no pop-ups distract, but GoTo would only show the edit mode, not the running deck. Not sure why. Finally had to use the “screen” option and try to make sure all was turned off.
  • Reminder to make sure you know how to pronounce all the sponsor names. SIOS team I did the best I could!
  • It’s hard to do the equivalent of a hand wave to get the speakers attention. There is a private chat function built-in, but they get zoomed in on the presentation and it’s easy to miss. That means un-muting as moderator and trying to break in, and just a little bit of voice delay makes it hard to do smoothly
  • I wish we had done a practice run, either the full presentation or just a ‘blah blah’ between start and last slides. Would have given me a better idea if speaker was ahead/behind on pace. If I know, I can help. Just as important, it would make sure we have a super smooth hand off from moderator to speaker and then from speaker back to moderator at the end.
  • My audio connection dropped just as we switched the room to live. Bad luck? An arrrrgh moment, but it restored in a few seconds and we survived.
  • I watched for questions as we went, tried to answer or let them know they were in the queue. We didn’t get to all the questions at the end, but we did a good chunk. Speakers, I’d tell you to leave a solid 10 minutes for questions at the end, maybe 15 if you don’t take questions during your talk. If you end a few minutes early no harm done.
  • There is a post presentation survey when the webinar closes, I wish it was integrated. Curious to see the completion rate.
  • Thomas LeBlanc was the speaker I supported and I thought he did a fabulous job.

PASS HQ hit a home run. They had everything right. Invitations went out way in advance well marked to avoid any confusion about time zone. Pre-event training sessions and the same training was recorded for review online. They were on with us during practice and during the presentation taking care of any questions we had or any technical issues from the audience. Thomas did the speaking, I did the moderating, and they handled the rest. Couldn’t ask for better.

It’s a lot of fun to try to help someone be successful. I had a great time moderating and hope to do it again sometime.

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