FREELANCING / MAY. 04, 2014
version 3, draft 3

How to Perform a Teleseminar

Maybe you’ve got some special ideas or knowledge you just can’t wait to share with the world. Or maybe you’re a corporate trainer who’s just been informed that the travel budget has been slashed…to zero. A teleseminar may be just what you need to reach your audience without the time and expense of travel, accommodations, room rental, etc. But how do you go about making sure your teleseminar won’t put your audience to sleep (especially since you won’t be able to see them)?

When it comes to the basics, conducting a teleseminar isn’t that different from conducting a training class or seminar in person. There are certain things you’ve got to have to pull it off:

  • Good content that’s well-organized and logically presented
  • An engaging presentation style
  • A way to interact with your audience

Assuming that you have those three things in place, what else do you need to do to conduct a great teleseminar?

Choose a hosting platform

Your first step is to choose a hosting platform. There are a number of free services, like FreeConference. However, many professionals believe paid services like InstantTeleseminar make you look more professional and authoritative. They typically offer better features, too. Whichever way you decide to go, do an online search for reviews from other customers before you sign up.

Learn the ropes

If it’s your first time using a particular platform, spend a few minutes learning your way around. You want your teleseminar to flow smoothly and that won’t happen if you're fumbling over the controls.

Market your teleseminar

If you’re conducting the teleseminar as an individual, you’ll need to market your content to drum up participants. You can do that through social media, your website, and any email lists you’ve built. What do you tell them? That’s easy:

  • The topic
  • The date and time
  • The expected length
  • Expected outcomes (what they’ll learn and why it’s important)

If you’re conducting a training teleseminar for your employer, you won’t need to drum up business. But it’s still a good idea to market your content to get participants excited about attending. Busy employees are often reluctant to attend training because it takes time away from their regular responsibilities; you can overcome that by letting them know how they’ll benefit. 

Communicate the details

Even if you covered some of this information when you marketed your teleseminar, it’s a good idea to cover it again:

  • Topic
  • Date and time
  • Anticipated length
  • The phone number they need to call (your hosting provider will give it to you)
  • The format: Will you be doing all of the talking? Or will you expect everyone to participate? And, if so, will they be interacting only with you, or will there be group discussions where they engage each other?
  • Anything they need to do to prepare (submit questions in advance, read any preparatory materials, etc.)

Ready, set…go!

You’ve already done your prep work; there are just a few more things you need to do to make your teleseminar run smoothly:

  • Try to dial in 5-10 minutes early so you’ll already be online when other participants start phoning in. Not only will this give you a chance to make sure you’re comfortable with the hosting platform, you’ll also be able to chat with participants and create rapport.
  • Stay in control. Interaction is great, but you don’t want to lose control of the teleseminar. If the conversation starts wandering off topic or people are being disrespectful, don’t hesitate to redirect everyone. The longer you let things go off course, the more you undermine your expertise and authority.
  • Save time at the end for questions. It’s important to make sure participants got what they expected and needed. If anyone has a question that can’t be answered before the scheduled end time, offer to get back to them afterward.

Follow up

What you do after the teleseminar is just as important as what you do before.

  • Right after the teleseminar has ended, send all of the participants an email thanking them for their participation and recapping on what was presented.
  • As soon as it’s ready, send everyone a recording of the teleseminar (your hosting company will provide this). Ask them to let you know if they have any additional questions after listening to the recording.
  • Ask for feedback. Ask participants what they liked, what they didn’t like, etc. Was it worth their time? Why or why not? What could you do better next time?

Teleseminars are a great way to share important knowledge and information without the time and expense of in-person training. The only real drawback is the lack of visual feedback. It can be hard to know whose turn it is to speak, for instance. That’s why it’s so important to learn how the hosting platform works before you begin. By doing your prep work and staying in control of the conversation, you can conduct a teleseminar that’s just as enjoyable and effective as being there in person.

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