The growth in use of teleseminars is astonishing but how do you ensure that yours will be a success? This article is the result of 13 years experience in running teleconferencing services.
1 - Practice Everything
You have one chance to get it right so do everything possible to ensure that your teleseminar goes smoothly. Practice everything you can in your control and prepare for the things you cannot control. The Presentation Most presentations are done this way – because it works. Tell them what you are going to tell them
Tell them - this is the body of your presentation
Tell them what you just told them – summarize your presentation
Call to action – what they should do about it, how to buy, sign up etc
2 - Keep It Simple
Keep it simple and to the point. The audience will remember only a few things from the presentation (no matter how brilliant it is). Make sure they are the points you want them to remember by repeating them. Your attendees may have a short attention span so keep the presentation focussed and brief.
3 - Practice the presentation
Presenting over the telephone can be more challenging than being in the same room as the audience because there is no visual or audible feedback. For this reason, many presenters will script their whole presentation or at least the first few minutes until they get into the flow of it. If you do script the teleseminar, practice until it sounds like you are chatting to the audience. Choose your vocabulary to suit the audience – don’t use jargon they won’t understand. Try not to use empty words or phrases such as like, sort of, basically, to be honest.
4 - Questions
Most presentations will have a question and answer session at the end. In fact, if you don’t have one it may infer to the audience that you have something to hide. Have an answer ready for all of the common questions. What if there are no questions, is no one interested? Always be prepared for this by creating your own questions. It’s not a bad idea to have a couple of people planted in the audience to ask predetermined questions . Even easier is to say “I received an email from Fred Smith this morning who said he could not attend but wanted to know"
5 - Find a teleconference service provider that understands teleseminars Ensure your conference call service allows:
Enough lines to be connected simultaneously
The conference leader to have a different PIN code to the attendees
Co-presenters to share the leader PIN
Attendees to be muted by the conference leader
Attendees to mute their own lines
The teleconference to be recorded
Entry/exit tones to be turned off. This is very important for larger teleseminars as they can be intrusive. Conversely, you don’t want to be embarrassed if fewer than expected people attend!
6 - Sound Quality
Poor sound quality will kill a meeting. If the participants cannot hear you because you have a poor quality phone or there is too much background noise they will disconnect. Join the teleseminar from a quiet room where you will not be disturbed. Use a speakerphone only if you have a really good one and are 100% sure of zero background noise. Don’t connect via VoIP/Skype – never take chances with sound quality. If you will be hosting meetings on a regular basis invest in a headset to keep your hands free.
7 - Managing The Meeting
Just before the start time you (or a colleague) should call into the meeting as a call leader. This will remove the pre-meeting music. You or your colleague should welcome everybody and: Remind them what the teleseminar is about
Explain that all lines will be in lecture mode during the teleseminar to keep the background noise down and make it easier for everyone to hear.
Attendees often join 5-8 minutes late so you need to keep the people who joined on time happy whilst you wait for the full audience to join.
Tell everyone you will be recording the meeting and then start the recording
Place the teleseminar in lecture mode if there are more than 20 lines or so
Make introductions and hand over to any guest speakers
At the end of the presentation most presenters will say something like: “that's the end of the structured part of the presentation, I'd like to open up the teleseminar so that I can answer questions. Please press star 6 to mute your line when you are not speaking (if you don’t have a mute button) and press it again if you wish to be heard.
8 - Co Presenters
If you have a co-presenter, have a run through with them. Also cover where they will be, the phone they will be using and that they should call in using the call leader PIN.
9 - Practice Using The Commands
Practice several days in advance using all aspects of the service so that there are no surprises and that the service is what you were expecting.
10 - Analyse How You Did
Listen to the recording so that you can hear what works and what to change for next time. A good service provider will have an online portal which allows you to see who joined and their connect / disconnect times. If everyone stayed on for the full presentation and only left after the Q&A you know you are doing well. If they leave half way through, what does that tell you? Was the presentation too long, too boring, or was it indeed the right audience?Managing Teleseminars
Ian Wells is the CEO of HotAir Conferencing. An Australian conference call service provider.
He has been in the conferencing industry for 13 years, working in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK. He established the first specialist conferencing services in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and is widely regarded as the founder of the Asia Pacific conferencing industry.
Ian was previously the General Manager - Asia Pacific for MCI Conferencing (now known as Verizon) which was the largest service provider in the region at the time.
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