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When I work as a producer for Lightbulb Moment I always have some documents to help assist me whilst live and in the flow.
- Producer document
- Common questions document
I always have this open on my second screen or if I only have one screen, ready to 'Alt-Tab' to. It is effectively multiple tables in Word. I use an icon to represent a tool or something in the platform regarding the tech, then a section that will generally explain how to use that tool or the technology.
For example one of the first things I will do in any new platform or update to a platform is to check how to connect audio devices. In my producer document I will then take a screen shot of what it looks for my quick reference icon, and then in the shortest possible language how to do whatever it is I would need the attendee to do. From now on, in a live session, if an attendee has an issue I can now just quickly copy and paste into to chat to resovle the issue.
I also do this for the tools. Primarily the interaction tools that attendees will be using, just like the example below:
Example for raise hand in Teams
Common questions document
This is a Word document with answers to the most commonly asked questions. I get asked a lot about hardware, how to produce sessions, basic faciltation questions, platform questions and the list goes on.
I have started to populate a Word document with these most common answers. In categories and with hyperlinks in the contents page so that I can quickly navigate to appropriate answers and copy and paste them into chat.
I initially only used this document on webinars rather than virtual classroom sessions but as I have included more and more about: facilitation; design; digital body language; and so on, I have started to include having this ready to go in all sessions I am producing.
It might seem over engineered but when you are a sole producer on a webinar with a busy chat window, the ability to quickly copy and paste good answers and then jump onto the next question or still provide support to your facilitator can make a huge difference!
The attendees are getting the answers they want, not short quick comments from you in chat. The facilitator is not feeling left alone as you type long answers into chat and then neglect their needs or the support you should be providing them.
Producer documents - where to start?
I highly recommend that if you don't have a Producer document you start creating one! This is the priority I go through when I start a new document for a platform.
- Mute/unmute - Image of icon for quick reference, understand how it works and how to explain it
- How to connect audio devices and change devices - I will go through the options, write an explanation of how to do this in as simple language as possible and in as few steps as possible
- How to fix audio issues - Remove a device, add a device, check it is on, plugged in, leave the session and come back etc
- How to use webcam
- The basic tools
- Raise hand
- Advanced tools
- Annotations - Text, stamp tools
- Advanced annotations - Change colour, additional advanced options (Delete, edit, move, etc)
This is my starting point with a producer document. If you said to me tomorrow I will be producing in a platform I have never used before. Today I would be loaded into the platform with my main computer and my laptop (checking differences between host view and attendee view. The document needs to be written for the attendee view). I would be going through each of the above bullet points and creating my document ready for the session.
As I would use the platform more, I would then include extra details, things that come up often in that specific platform. For example I found many people in Zoom did not understand full screen vs maximised. I put a little section explaining this in. Each Producer document will have nuances for each platform you use.
My common questions document started by simply copy and pasting my answers in webinars into the Word document. I realised I was typing really good answers to really good questions and that I kept typing the same answers over and over! I simply started to keeping them in a document and as it grew I included a contents page and hyperlinks.
Going forward - my ideas
My intent is to start having common question documents sepcific to courses we run. This way I will be ready to quickly assist with better and specific answers for the relevant topic. I can also work with my facilitator to make sure the answers provided are accurate and on message.
I was thinking of designing an Excel document that is linked to our faciltator guides. I would then keep track of engagement through each interaction/activity and be able to provide live data to the facilitator in the session whilst also being able to review afterwards which attendees where engaged or not.
You might want to read this community post about different types of producer.
Or listen to our podcast on producing.
What is the Community thinking!?!?
I have shared what I currently do and am thinking about working towards. I would love to hear from you!
What do you that works for you?
What tips and advice could I use or other Community members to help them produce sessions?
What ideas do you have for the future?
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Found this very helpful.
What other advice do you have for fixing audio issues? I work with clients who often have technical issues, i'm forever trying to fix them but don't have a good system for it.
Do you literally have every tool you could use in the platform put into this producer document?
Currently I was directing attendees to help pages for the platform and sometimes a video, I would like to know if your document is better than this.
I'm a facilitator rather than producer but since I never have a producer I suppose I am the producer on my sessions also. I try and get my clients to use the platform before hand to resolve some of these technical issues before my session.
Good questions Glenn.
I use a traffic light system for severity and steps to resolve issues. The icon colours slowly turn red depending on how far along the issue they are. I also colour the table green for audio in and red for audio out so I don't send the wrong instructions. See below image for Zoom Meetings:
This way I just keep pasting the next step until the issue is resolved. I also have steps depending on what device they are using, PC or MAC. These are my steps below the screen grab and have red icons to show this is the final and complicated step to fix the issue.
I can see why you would direct attendees elsewhere but providing a support page might confuse them. I am constantly trying to write these support points as short as possible but not so vague they can't fix the issue.
I have all the main tools I know we use often when we deliver. I also have items such as changing colour and so on. It depends what you intend to use in your platform. You don't want a 10 page producer document that is more of a hinderence. Keep it simple to start off with and add or remove as you see fit.
I try and keep mine to 3 pages.
Tools; Audio in (They can't hear); Audio out (They can't speak) and random items such as, how to change your name, or what to do if you need to step away from the session etc.
Even if you are a facilitator I reccomend you have a support document like what I call the producer document, especially if you are delivering solo. Looking at my image above. If you are facilitating live, being able to select those responses and paste them whilst still delivering might help resolve the attendees issue and reduce the impact on other attendees.
Hope this helps!
I have started some courses on zoom. I finding my new learnt zoom skills being seen as now a guru of tech help to those in my field that have never really had to do any online sessions. I'm.findong the basics so repeatable to tell.somelne to un mute or flip their screen the right way up..I have a pre zoom Check list of instructional help I've now found really useful. I will def need to have a copy and paste guide to use in the chat! Thanks
Great points Laura.
We always try and send information before hand to attendees. Hardware they will need, what to do in the platform, set expecations etc. That is really good best practice and as you say maybe even including a checklist for them would be good. All of this to try and make the live session as smooth as possible.
What are some of key points you have in your Zoom checklist?
That’s hugely helpful Mike, thank you!