Our guest speaker for the evening was Mike Karsen who was going to present his program titled “Liven Up Your Family History with Images”.
When I arrived in the late afternoon to get things going for the evening presentation, I discovered that Mike had been trying to reach me via e-mail and phone to let me know that he was under the weather and would not be able to be present to do his presentation. He did offer to try to make his presentation remotely via conference call.
Never having done that before, I fell into a “state of panic”. How could we make that happen in as short of time as we had. Could we make it happen so that our audience would have as good an experience as if the speaker were actually here?
A call to our Information Technology (IT) group and a call to our Audio Visual (AV) group initially made me very confident that we would actually be able to set the room up with a speaker phone in conjunction with a microphone by the speakerphone that would allow us to contact Mike on the phone for him to do his thing remotely!
My biggest concern was the possibility of “bad audio feedback” noise coming through with the microphone so close to the speakerphone. A little experiment here, a little trial there and I thought that by about 6:45 PM we could actually make this work for the scheduled 7:30 PM program.
To make a long story short the event came off incredibly well! Our 45 person audience was rooting and cheering that this would work. And lo and behold it did work!
The speakerphone sound was set up perfectly next to the nice professional microphone our AV person used for this “experiment”. Our internal audio system picked up the sound perfectly so that everyone in the room could easily hear Mike via the speakerphone. Our IT person found all the right “port” connections needed to allow us to use the phone in the large meeting room.
I was Mike’s right-hand person being the one flipping through his PDF provided file of the 82 images he used during his presentation. I asked Mike to note what slide number he was on as he moved through them so that I was in synch with his images he was using at home. Only a couple of times did I get out of synch but was able to recover quickly without really missing a beat.
We asked our audience to hold the questions until the end. I mentioned to the attendees that if they had a question and could easily make it up to the front to ask, then they could do that by the speakerphone. If someone was too far away or had to crawl over others in the row of seating, then I asked them to state the question and I would repeat it to Mike over the speakerphone.
Questions were asked and answered and everyone was able to hear the conversations from both within the room and via the phone.
WOW! Was I relieved that this worked out well for both the off-site speaker and for our audience.
Many attendees indicated they thought the program was executed incredibly well even if Mike was not actually present in the room. Our audience was happy and felt they really received great genealogy information in a completely unplanned and unexpected manner! Smiles were present throughout the room!
I now can see that we can accomplish this kind of program using our internal setups. Because I have now successfully seen this work I now have to really keep an open mind to take a further step to possibly have an actual Webinar Genealogy Program that would utilize similar technology that would also include the ability to have a video feed to see our speaker.
See what a crisis handled successfully turns me into!
Webinars in the future!! Maybe.
Lions, and tigers and bears! Oh My!
I want to again say a big “Thank You” to our speaker, Mike Karsen, and to our internal library staff in Information Technology and Audio Visual for making this short-notice challenge come off very successfully.
Had this not worked our poor audience would have had to endure the evening with me giving some kind of “song and dance” genealogy routine! Oh well, at least for this most recent occasion I was able to put the top hat, cane and dancing shoes on the back-burner.
But they are on the shelf waiting for me to use again if needed!
Lions and tigers and bears! Oh My!
Schaumburg Township District Library