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Hi all,

I've got a document here about the different types of producer roles you might be involved with over the coming weeks:

4148685221?profile=RESIZE_710xClick here to download the one page expanation.


4167100029?profile=RESIZE_710xMichelle Ockers has a fantastic series in her podcast, all about handling the disruption we are facing with Coronavirus. This is an episode I recorded with her about being a producer.


Over to you

What tips do you have for someone who's new to producing, or working with a producer?

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  • And we have a podcast about producing too:

    Episode 27 – Do you need a producer on your webinar?
    In this episode Jo and Mike chat about: What is a producer and what do they do? What do you need to know to be a producer And when is it best to hav…
  • Here's a tip from the tweet that I put out:


  • As the Producer on most of Jo's sessions I want to add some details about what difference the Producer role can provide to a session.

    Helping the attendees at the start of a session

    For the majority of our sessions we are in the room at a minimum of 15 minutes before the actual start time. As a Producer as soon as people log in I engage them in the chat and sometimes on the mic also.

    I am instantly letting them know they are in the right place, that the chat window is a safe place to communicate and that interaction is ok.

    I am pasting instructions how to connect audio or asking them questions to help to get them engaging early.

    This can have a huge positive impact on the facilitation of the session.

    The Facilitator can focus on engaging with the attendees and getting to know them. The attendees feel their needs are being met and that they are in a safe environment.

    During the session

    Primarily I will have my head in the chat window during the session. I am of course still there to provide technical assistance but also depending on the type of session, I might be encouraging attendees to get involved in the chat window.

    I can get the attention of the facilitator and get them to answer a question in chat they might have missed or, If I am happy with the subject and content of the session, answer the question for the facilitator so they don't need to disrupt their delivery.

    Again this can allow the facilitator to really focus on great facilitation! Getting people engaged in activities and on the microphone.

    Attendees can feel that questions will be answered in the chat by myself or the facilitator and get involved in the microphone also, there are multiple communication points with high engagement. They can ask more questions, even ones that might seem simple because they know it won't it disrupt the facilitator.

    Often on sessions we run I will get people sending messages in the chat, 'Mike, what did Jo click to do that!?' They feel comfortable that i will respond or get Jo to respond and no question seems too small to ask or that they will look foolish for disrupting the session. *This is also the great thing about live online learning, chat windows!*

    Working with your facilitator

    Having a good relationship with your Facilitator or Producer can help but also potentially hinder! I often hear people say you need to know them really well but I would say actually what is far more important are the following two points:

    1) A good facilitator guide or lesson plan - We use a Facilitator Guide that explains what the Facilitator and what the Producer will be doing. It allows us both to know where we are at and what to expect! Facilitator guide free template – Link

    2) An agreed understanding of the role and remit of each other. If I don't know the subject, as a Producer I will simply alert the Facilitator to a missed question or important one for example. If agreed upon before hand I can introduce tools or even new topics, or I can sit back the entire session and only help on techinical issues. Having this agreement helps avoid issues like talking over each other.

    The sessions that have not gone well are the ones where the Facilitator Guide is lacking information and we have not properly discussed our roles before the session. 

    Final thoughts

    Lots and lots of people right now are being forced into running live online sessions with limited experience. I really do suggest that if possible you have a Producer or Co-host on the session.

    Even if you both lack experience the often hectic environment is nearly always better with two heads rather than one!

    The resources Jo has shared are a great help and I am here to help answer any of your sepcific questions also!


    Facilitator Guide for live online classroom
    This is a free Lightbulb Moment resource – a blank facilitator guide, session plan, lesson plan (or whatever name you want to use!) that you may wish…
    • Do I need a Producer in virtual meetings?

      We often have meetings with 15+ members and they can get hectic. I'm not sure if we really have anyone who is trained to do it or can do it.

      Do you think it would help?

      • Good question. I think it depends on what you want them to manage and how it will help the meeting.

        Presumably you are asking because there is something that is not working at the moment in your virtual meetings or something that could be improved.

        A Producer trained or not, could help in meetings in some of the following ways:

        Keep track of chat to highlight to the person running the meeting or note taker of something important

        Help transition between parts of the meeting or topics

        If they know the technology well, help explain a certain tool or activity for the person running the meeting. Or just help people in chat who don't know.

        Keep a better eye on people unmuting and talking, making sure multiple people are not speaking at the same time or muting people who have finished to stop audio issues

        If there is a time limit on the meeting to try and keep the host or general team on track and alert people how long is left of the session

        Those are some off the top of my head.

        I think some questions to ask yourself are:

        Can we spare someone to Produce in meetings?

        Is the person we are expecting to Produce the meeting needing to be an active participant in the meeting? (Not a good idea)

        What problem will the Producer resolve in the meeting?

        How will the Producer make the meeting better? 

        • Thank you for the advice, I will suggest your ideas.

          We had everyone unmuted pretty much the whole time with people talking over each other, it was a bit a of a nightmare but people are getting used to it a bit now!

          I think as you say we probably need some rules in place before needing to have a dedicated person to Produce the meetings.

          • Something to consider is that if you all have video on and microphones open it can cause bandwidth issues and lag (slow connection, stuttering etc), this can promote people speaking over each other as the delay is a second or two so they speak not realising someone else speaking.

            Try turning video off and getting everyone to mute and only speak when they need to. This might help with that.

  • Hi,

    Question concerning hosting webinars for 200+ attendees.
    Can you give me some pros and cons about the question "Open chat for everybody" vs "Q&A only to moderators"?


    • Hi Wouter,

      Great question. I think first off you need to ask yourself what the webinar is for or more important, what do you want the attendees to do or think about after the webinar.

      For example, if it is a webinar where the outcome is they buy a product/service or get onto a mailing list for information about a service or product for example. It is potentially very different to a webinar where you are providing free information for perhaps awareness about your business or organisation.

      The above question can impact the following list of pros of cons but is just a guide, you need to use your own judgement and literally each pro has the flip side of a con if not handled correctly.


      • More communication. More points you can hear from the attendees the more you will find out about them

      • They can tell you what they want. You may planned the best webinar in the world and spent hours on it but you can bet someone will ask a question that you had not thought of. This could turn out to be a key point that helps the session and would not come up with potentially without a free flowing chat

      • Attendees helping each other. When an open chat gets free flowing with lots of interaction you often find attendees help each other. Provide advice tips or agree with your content. This can provide valuable information to other attendees and help foster even more interaction in the chat

      • Similar to above, attendees might feel it is easier to ask a quick little question or a comment on a point and get instant feedback from other attendees without disturbing the facilitator or moderators

      • Some attendees may not understand how to use a Q&A box, panel, etc. They might not think it is worth asking in it especially if it is a busy webinar. Depending on the software they might not be able to see the questions being asked, they can assume someone is asking it already. With the chat they can see what is going and quickly get involved where they might not have otherwise

      • A busy chat can make the webinar come alive! It can provide energy and a buzz!


      • More communication means more producers to manage it. If you want attendees to feel really heard and gain value from the chat you might need to think about a producer or at least a chat moderator per 100 attendees. Potentially having a Producer who deals with tech issues, a producer who then manages chat with the moderators

      • They can tell you what they want! Including what you don't want them to say! Your competitors, their complaints etc. This is a risk you take and you have to use your best judgement, based on the type of webinar and potentially how it is marketed. You may need to have producers ready to remove attendees for example

      • Having only a Q&A panel that potentially depending on the software the attendees can't scroll through and see what others have asked or see the written responses, can make the webinar feel a bit flat. There is only the facilitator who is going over content, perhaps responding to a question now and then. The attendee is only listening and looking at the content, this can be a positive but can also promote passive listening mode and getting them into their emails

      • A busy chat with 200+ attendees can get the chat window flying by. This can deter people from reading it or even responding. Facilitators and even multiple moderators/producers can struggle at times


      Jo and I always love to have the chat enabled. We feel it provides additional interaction, support and value. But... We focus far more often than not on providing learning and information, if you are focusing on sales, the cons above could outweigh the pros.

      These are just my thoughts. It would be interesting to see what others think!

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