Six Great Reasons to do a Technical Webcast
June 27, 2009 1 Comment
There is a lot of value in conducting and creating a technical webcast. I have a strong background in Software Development, and webcasts have helped me in my career and personal growth in various ways. I am going to list my top reasons for performing a webcast (in no particular order).
Learn a new technology or dig deeper into something you already know
Webcasts can dive deep into technology so learning the technology (content) is a mandate, and doing a webcast is a great motivator to learn something new. This can enhance your skill set and get you up to speed with an emerging or any technology that you are not currently on the up and up about. While researching the content for the webcast you will likely come across pieces of information about the subject that you were not originally aware of.
Practice speaking in front of a live audience
In the case of a live webcast, where you are speaking and demonstrating to a live audience, you have to speak – and people are listening! It’s important that you know and are able to relay the information inside your head to an audience in a way that is engaging, so they remain interested and they learn. This is something that requires practice. The more you do, the more you practice, the better you will be. It will also give you a chance to demonstrate “thinking on your feet”, while you should have at least a pseudo script and ideas drawn out, there will usually be questions that are asked during and at the end of the webcast. These questions will test your knowledge and your ability to think about and respond to questions quickly. These are great skills that can be taken back to the office with you.
Learn how to teach
Use it to learn how to teach and demonstrate to an audience. Your speaking style, tone and demeanour will go into a “teaching mode” that can be reused outside of the webcast (ex: conducting training for a new application or demonstrating an application’s features to a client).
Share your knowledge with your peers and technical community
Think about abundance and sharing with the community. I believe an abundance mentality is good for the soul. Personally, I get a lot of satisfaction in being able to give to the community and participate within a community (for example, the large community of developers sharing content around the world via the web). It’s win-win, and another positive side effect of giving is that it will come back to you in due time. It also gives you a chance to showcase and express your talents to the community. The community will get a better sense of what you do and what you know and have a chance to learn the material you are presenting. Remember, it’s not who you know – it’s who knows you, that knows what you can do well.
A new addition to your portfolio
In the case of an offline recorded webcast or a live webcast that was recorded and made available offline, it can serve as a valuable tool. It demonstrates your confidence in your subject matter and your ability to present this information to an audience in a coherent fashion.
Accomplishment and the art of the creation
I think that most developers enjoy creating. They enjoy seeing the hard work, design, and innovation of their development projects going from inception to fruition. I also believe this to be true in the case of conducting or creating a webcast. Completing a webcast will leave you with a feeling of accomplishment in addition to the reasons listed above. Having accomplished this can fuel motivation. If you are creating a webcast solely for offline viewing (not live) then you also have more creative options available in post-production.
There could be many other motivators or reasons to create a webcast, but the bottom line is personal growth. I believe people need to continue to learn and continue to grow, and by conducting a webcast, you will learn and grow. Your audience will learn and grow as well. It’s Win-Win.
There are tools out there designed to help you create a webcast. In the past, I’ve used two great tools to conduct live webcasts (Microsoft Live Meeting and Webex). To create an offline webcast, I’ve used TechSmith Camtasia Studio.
These products are not free, but you can download and use (for a limited time) free trial versions of them. Also, (here’s a plug) TechSmith has an associated website named screencast.com that allows you to host and share your webcasts for free (or paid if you need additional bandwidth) – Camtasia Studio can create the files necessary for screencast.com and post it to your screencast.com profile automatically. It’s pretty sweet!