Building Community – Remote and Virtual Programming

SLA Leadership Summit 2011

Thinking about remote or virtual programming? Ruth Wolfish, Julie Cavender, and Karly Szczepkowski shared tips and insights on remote and virtual presence during the 2011 SLA Leadership Summit session: Building Community – Remote and Virtual Programming.

Programming Tips from Ruth Wolfish, SLA Past Chapter Cabinet Chair


  • Keep the program information to the point and Include your contact information in your program notice
  • Have a few attendees prepared with questions in advance to keep the program lively
  • Practice web features and audio set ups in advance. Do a test run. There is a lot that can go wrong with virtual programming.

On the day of the program:

  • Send out a reminder notice the morning of the program
  • Begin promptly
  • Make sure to keep the program moving
  • Question: do you understand why your attendees chose to join? • Pay attention to the chat box • be interactive
  • End it with a smile

At the end of the program:

  • Tell people the date/time for the next session • Put up your profile. Get your contact information out there again
  • Put out program highlight summary to drive interest for next program
  • Understand how to choose date/time that work for the largest audience

Some considerations on delivering local programming with a virtual component from Julie Cavender, President, SLA Rocky Mountain Chapter:

  • Do you plan on providing a replay of your program afterwards? How will you deliver it?
  • Consider adding a virtual component to your in-person program.
  • If you can, have someone dedicated to the virtual aspect or your program to this while others run the in person meeting.
  • Consider how your audience can attend virtual versus in-person sessions.
  • A social media presence is useful in helping to build the level of attendees.

Some thoughts on remote programming from Karly Szczepkowski, President, SLA Michigan Chapter:

  • When different chapters merged, they had to agree to some remote programming. Did 11 events with 6 with remote options in 2010. Remote planning allowed them to bring together far flung chapter members.
  • Remote programming doesn’t need to be fancy. Their chapter did a roundtable to talk and share – no speaker or formal presentation. They just used speaker phone.
  • If things don’t work, it’s okay to do something different. Their chapter had an after-wiki to stimulate discussion after their programs. It wasn’t used so they stopped using the after-wiki as part of the program experience.
  • Consider created an advisory board member to focus on virtual programming.

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