Over the past couple weeks I've been sharing my personal lessons learned for successful security awareness presentations.  Today I would like to share one of the newest challenges I'm facing, simulcasts.  Old school presenting involves standing up in front of a group of real people.  Then we have webinars,where we virtually present to people around the world using tools such as GoToMeeting or Webex.  These technologies have their own unique challenges when presenting.  Now I'm seeing more and more of what can be called simulcast, which is the combination of both.  This is when you are physically presenting to a group of people but at the same time everything you say is being transmitted to people online, similar to a webinar.  In fact, the SANS Institute is introducing this new technology in some of its courses.  I've done three of these so far, and while I'm in no way an experienced veteran, I do want to share some of my lessons learned, and hope to learn from others.
  • I actually find simulcast to be the toughest of three different ways to present due to 'context switching'.  You always have to keep in mind you are teaching two different groups.  This means when someone in the audience asks a question, you have to assume remote folks cannot hear what the person is asking and be sure to repeat the question.  When you point something out on the slide, you have to remember that remote folks cannot see what you are doing and be sure to explain exactly what you are pointing to.
  • You need a special moderator just for people attending remotely.  The role of this moderator is to act as your proxy.  For example, this moderator may have to maintain a separate set of slides.  You will most likely be controlling the slides on the screen while the moderator advances slides on the webinar platform.  Also, when a remote user posts a question on the webinar software, the moderator can read the question then relay it to you while you are presenting.
  • Remember to keep the remote users engaged, its way too simple to forget about them.  For example, if you ask members of the audience to introduce themselves, have the remote users do so also (perhaps have your moderator read what the remote people post).  When you ask questions, be sure to specifically state if you remote users would like to ask anything.
Are you seeing this type of presenting being used in your organization?  If you have any lessons learned or suggestions I would love to hear from you at  lspitzner@sans.org.