When one-way communication can work surprisingly well at online events

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

If you are looking into hosting a webcast, or a similar online event, it is likely that you will have come across the concept of ‘one-way communication’. But, what is it, and is it the best option for your webcast? Let’s find out. 

What is one-way communication? 

One-way communication is where one person will speak to one or multiple people, but said people will not be able to talk back. The best example of one-way communication is in a classroom, where a teacher will present to the class, but it is considered rude for students to interrupt or talk over their teacher.

On the other hand, two-way communications allows both parties – speaker and audience – to communicate with one another (with various protocols and guidelines in place, of course), encouraging controlled discussion, collaboration, and participation. 

Benefits of one-way communication in webcasts 


One-way communication will cement the presenter as an authoritative figure, who has been tasked with teaching the attendees about something important. In doing so, this will add more weight and credibility to the lessons covered in the webcast. 


One way that one-way communication can be taken advantage of is for webcast lectures. Just like an in-person lecture in a lecture hall, the focus will be solely on the speaker imparting their knowledge. 

Streamlined webcast

It goes without saying that constant interruptions can throw the trajectory of an event dramatically off course, and even cause the event to significantly run over its set time. However, by eliminating the possibility of any unforeseen interactions and interruptions, you can ensure that your event will run as smoothly, efficiently, and to time as possible. 

Expert speaker 

Having one singular presenter means that you can funnel all of your resources into getting the most appropriate speaker possible for your event. The more expertise that your host has, the more your attendees will be able to gain from the webcast. 

Benefits of two-way communication in webcasts 

Attendee input 

One of the biggest benefits of allowing two-way communication is that it allows attendees to talk to one another in networking-like interactions, and to ask the host questions when something is unclear. It can also be utilised by the presenter themself, who can create polls throughout the webinar to highlight certain points of the presentation. 

Many webcast platform options nowadays allow integration with live chat, polling, and Q&A sessions. This can optimise communications, allowing the host to turn on chat options when necessary, and turn them off when one-way communication is more productive. 


Whereas one-way communication can be useful for lecture scenarios, two-way communication is much more effective for seminars. This is because it allows an organic discussion to occur, allowing participants to come to their own conclusions, and form their own opinions, about the matter to hand. 


A number of studies have found that interactive learning boosts engagement. In other words, by adding in interactive elements to your webcasts, this can allow participants to really take in the information, and give their attention span a boost throughout the event.

Final thoughts

Overall, whether you opt for supporting one-way or two-way communication depends solely on the purpose of your webcast. Make sure to research into the needs and desires of your target audience so that you can make an informed decision on the best option for you personally. 

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