In a recent webinar I experienced a phone outage. In my particular presentation I was using my desk phone and fortunately the web conference kept right on going. Without the following plan, however, it would have been painful, and here's how you can avoid the pain, too.
The reality of presenting online is that sooner or later you'll experience some kind of challenge with your audio. The downside if you're using VoIP is that you lose both the audio and web connection (one reason to use the plain old telephone that conferencing providers aren't quick to point out). I'm not saying never to use VoIP, but you'll want this plan in your back pocket either way.
The good news?
Technology failures on the part of web conferencing/casting companies are quite rare.
Either way, let me challenge the ancient wisdom of turning off your mobile phone when presenting online.
True enough, you most certainly want to be polite and avoid distractions by having it ring during your presentation. Here's what I do in addition to using VoIP or my desk phone. Your variation may differ slightly based on your mobile phone, but the backup plan will save you a lot of anxiety.
Add "backup phone plan" to "pre-webinar" routine.
If you don't have your own checklist to make sure you've got your bases covered, you should. Create your variation of this plan and do it…every time.
Benefit: peace of mind, and you don't forget stuff in the heat of the moment
Dial the mobile phone into the audio conference in advance of the webinar
I usually do this after I'm all logged in and ready to go on the primary speaking device.
Benefit: in the event you need to dial in again (from this other line), you can hit re-dial and save yourself typing in the number again. Trust me, when the doo doo hits the fan, you'll find yourself fat fingering phone numbers.
Plug in your ear bud or Bluetooth device
Hands free is good when presenting, and it's not that you can't present while holding a handset, but I like being ready for action.
Benefit: you'll quickly be managing with both hands (it's hard to type into chat with one hand or your neck crimped).
Put the mobile phone in airplane mode or mute
I use airplane mode because I don't even want the thing vibrating. Note that it takes just a second to find the mobile tower, so if you want uber-fast you could skip this and just mute the thing.
Benefit: distraction avoided, you're ready for rapid re-dial
If for some reason you've lost audio and web connection, at least you'll be talking with the audience making alternative plans or having someone else push your slides. If, as in my case, it was just my own phone connection that was the problem, the disruption is minimal and you keep right on going.
Don't turn off your mobile phone, make it your backup