So you’ve been asked to speak in a Session… Woohoo!! Here’s what you need to know.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is Session? Hopin Session is an interactive video platform for meetings, workshops, webinars, and community events. It’s super easy to use, lightweight, fully brandable, and versatile tool that’s known most for its interactivity. As a speaker, get ready to experience the next level of engagement in Session!
Who made Session? Hopin, the well-known virtual events company that also owns StreamYard, is the company that built Session.com — 👋 it’s as if we took the simplicity and production power of StreamYard and merged it into a lighter weight version of Hopin Events, making it perfect for participatory workshops, meetings, all hands, and more.
By the end of this article you’ll know all the tips, tools and tricks for delivering a fun and engaging for your audience in Session as a speaker. Let’s get started.
So you probably received a calendar invite…
In the calendar invite, there’s a link that looks something like app.session.com/…
This link is your Session link — it’s how you’ll access the event to speak.
The first question to ask is: did the host (i.e., the owner of the Session you’re speaking at) give you an Attendee link or a Cohost link?
For you as a speaker, it doesn’t matter which link you receive: you can use either one to speak in Session.
Below walks you through both.
If you join Session with an Attendee link, the host will add you to the Stage
An Attendee link means you join the Session as an attendee. Just like everyone else.
When it’s your time to speak, the host will invite you to the Stage. The Stage is where speakers speak to the entire audience. You are viewable by everyone when you join the Stage.
When a host invites you to the Stage, you’ll see this pop up on your screen:
You’ll get your audio and video check, to make sure you look good and sound good before you go on Stage.
RECOMMENDED: Arrive a few minutes before your Session starts to customize your name label (see below). Your name label consists of your name, logo, headline, and color and it overlays on your video tile. You can also test to make sure your audio and video devices work perfectly. The benefit of this is so that when you get invited to Stage, you can simply click accept and join in as little time as possible and you look and sound great.
- Note: If you’re a Speaker who joins a Session with an Attendee link in a Webinar theme, you won’t be able to customize your name label when you are invited on Stage.
How to customize your name label in Session
When you’re entering a Session, you’ll see the AV preview where you can:
- Adjust your audio and video settings and devices
- Edit your name, label, logo, and colors
Your name label looks like this.
To customize the logo, hover over the image to edit it.
Upload any image file or browse for your company logo in Session’s integrated database (powered by Clearbit).
Select your preferred camera here where you can also pick a virtual background.
Select Join session and you’re all set!
If you join a Session with a Cohost link, you can take the Stage yourself
As a Cohost, you will have all the same controls that the host of the Session has.
For example, you can play music, change background images, highlight chat messages on screen, and more.
As a speaker, the most important thing to remember is that you can take the Stage at any time. You can also receive an invitation from the host to join the Stage just in case you forget.
In the Workshop theme, hosts can bring attendees on Stage in a click.
In the Webinar theme, to take the Stage: click the button “Join stage” in the Controls panel or if you’re the first person to take the Stage, simply click the button in the center of the screen here:
Once you’re on Stage, here’s what you need to know
Smile! Everyone can see you. There can be up to 24 speakers on Stage in Session.
On Stage, other than speaking, you have some special powers in Session:
Confetti. Click any speaker’s video tile or screenshare to create a splash of confetti bursting from your profile image. Click it a lot! It’s a great way to direct audience’s attention or celebrate of the audience towards a speaker or piece of content. These interactions are tracked in your Session’s Engagement Analytics.
Screenshare. Sharing your presentation is easy in Session. Click Share at the bottom of the window and select the content you want to share via a tab, an application, or a window. Note: someone off-Stage can also run the deck for you.
Scribble. If you’re screensharing, you can switch your cursor from confetti into a drawing tool. To do this, go to the top left corner of the screenshare, and select the Scribble tool. You can change the color and use this to underline, circle, and annotate your screenshare. Note: Scribbles fade away in 10 seconds.
Emojis. You can send floating emojis alongside your video tile by clicking them in the below engagement bar or using the keyboard hotkeys: E1, E2, E3, E4, E5, E6.
Raise hand. Click Raise hand or press the hotkey “h” to raise your hand. This will notify other speakers and the audience with a sound and an animation that lets them know you have a comment.
BRB. Need a quick break? Hit hotkey “B” to turn off your audio and video until you return. Click “B” again to resume.
Play a YouTube video. Session has a native integration with YouTube so you can play any video without ads and in high-resolution smoothly for everyone. You can speak over this video and adjust volume globally.
Supercharge audience engagement with these 5 key phrases
Just like in real-life, having chemistry and interaction with your audience is key to success. The more engaged your audience is, the more likely they are to take action.
Over thousands of virtual events, we’ve studied the most common phrases that speakers use to keep their virtual audiences engaged. These phrases leverage Session’s unique engagement tools.
Here are suggested engagement phrases speakers can use to engage their virtual audiences in Session:
- “Where’s everyone tuning in from?” A great one to use at the beginning, this phrase makes it easy for everyone to drop their city, state, or country in the chat.
- “Let me know in the chat if you agree.” If you notice a lull in chat, ask participants to respond to something you said in the chat. As they do, read them. Mention the sender’s name. Thank them for sharing. You can even highlight their chat message on Stage if you want to bring more attention to it.
- “Press the emojis at the bottom of your screen to let me know.” Remind audience members that they can use the emojis at the bottom of their Session window to send real-time feedback and sentiment about the topic you’re discussing. Calling attention to these tools help the know they are available.
- “Raise your hand if you have any questions and we’ll bring you on Stage to ask it live.” This tip is for the Workshop theme in Session since the Webinar theme doesn’t have the Raise hand feature and the Meeting theme doesn’t have a Stage. In Workshop, the audience can speak from off Stage. If they speak, they will appear in the audience gallery. You can bring anyone on and off Stage in a click. This makes it easy to have an “open mic” town hall style of experience.
- “Let’s thank our host with some confetti.” At any moment you can click the host or other panelists video tile to send confetti — another way to celebrate or emphasize what they’re saying!
After you’re done speaking in Session
Congrats! You did it! How did it go?
Sometimes it’s difficult to know how you did or how engaged the audience was in your virtual event.
But not with Session!
Session’s Engagement Analytics lets you see exactly when your audience was most engaged. You can see the moments that were most engaging or least engaging. You can also see who was most engaged (hello raving fans) and how long people stayed.
For example, in the screenshot above, you can see two peaks in attendees sending emoji reactions — you can watch the video recording to see these moments and understand the context surrounding them.
Ask the Session host to share the Session Engagement Analytics report with you so you can see all this data yourself.
That’s it! Hopefully this guide was helpful in preparing you for being a speaker in your next Session.
Any questions? Send me a note at dave[at]hopin.com.