I am associated with several groups who have been running multi-session, multi-track conferences throughout the pandemic. We've mostly been using Zoom for the meetings and webinars, and Discord for public social chat and back channel communication.
We are always looking into more comprehensive, turn-key solutions, and Zoom Events seems promising, especially if it can properly handle registration and payment. The single biggest issue I've run into on initial testing is the hosting setup for webinar sessions.
We don't want our speakers and panelists to worry about tech stuff, so we always have a dedicated, behind-the-scenes tech host for each session. They are generally muted and have video turned off, but are available to help with panelist's video & audio problems, provide support for screen sharing, and keep an eye on chat and Q&A as needed.
My problem is that the webinar session host role is automatically given to the "Primary Speaker" in Events. This means that there is a public bio and agenda listing for the session host, which we don't want. I need the tech host to be invisible to our attendees, and I want the primary speaker to only be a session co-host.
Is there a reasonable way to set up invisible tech hosts (with no bio or agenda listing) to start and host the webinar sessions in our multi-day, multi-track event? We can't possibly be the only conference runners who don't want to dump technology responsibilities on our content providers. Please help me out - I feel I must have missed something.
I think you will find that naming your Tech Support folks as Alternative Hosts is what you’re looking for. These are assigned to each session on the same page as your primary and secondary speakers:
You’ll note that a Primary Speaker is still required. On one occasion I created a dummy speaker named “Invited Panelists” with a dummy photo, and listed the panelists in the session description – too numerous to add in as Speakers. I created a dummy Zoom account (I have several free/basic user accounts on my organizational account) to receive the invitation. If you’re having multiple large panels, this same “dummy speaker” can be used as a placeholder, while still conveying information to the attendees.
Here’s another “inventive use” for a dummy Speaker entry from a recent hybrid event I helped produce: