Conferencing Tips Part 1- Getting People to Attend

I am going to provide you with three tips to help ensure that the people invited to your audio conference call actually show up.

A great way to ensure people show up is to send them an auto reminder. An email that is automatically sent from the conferencing platform 15 – 30 minutes before the call start time.

For those that don’t show up when they’re supposed to, you can dial-out from the conference bridge on a separate line and bring them into conference. This actually works well for international participants that would prefer not to pay their own long distance for the call – some of those long distance rates in foreign countries can be brutal.

Another interesting feature is having the bridge automatically dial-out from an attendee list that you created when you scheduled the call. This feature is even more effective than the reminder email …for the chronically unreliable.

Now not all of these features are available from all providers – so you may need to check with whoever you’re using for your teleconferencing service.

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Tips to Keep Your Audience Engaged and Your Webinar on Track

First – review the promotional material to see what was promised and get to it as quickly as possible in the presentation.  No matter how interesting your other information might be, it must take a back seat to the material the audience expects to get.

Second – Tell your audience what they are going to learn, then deliver your information in the same order, at the end, summarize what they have just learned.

Third – Over 45 minutes to an hour, people’s attention tends to drift. You need to find ways to repeatedly capture the audience’s attention by:

  1. Using  polling questions and sharing results
  2. Changing your vocal style
  3. A teaser for what’s coming up next
  4. Basically anything that will get the audience listening to you again.

Fourth – Make sure you follow-up quickly after the event on any promises you made.  If  you said you would be sending something additional (even if it just a copy of your presentation) – do it that day.

And most importantly – There is no substitute for rehearsal time.  If you don’t recite your entire presentation out loud, you can’t check your timing.  You have to deliver the full presentation before the audience hears it, otherwise you’ll end up fumbling during transitions and looking unprofessional in front of your audience – which pretty much defeats the whole purpose of the webinar right?

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How Much Should I Charge for My Webinar?

The answer to that depends on a number of factors, which essentially all tie back to “what is it worth to your audience”?

Before they sign up for the webinar your prospective audience is asking themselves:  “What’s in It For Me?”  And if the answer to that question isn’t really compelling – they won’t register regardless of the price. When you’re marketing your event, see if you can translate the benefit that the attendees will receive, into a dollar value, in either cost savings or additional revenue.

As for what certain organizations charge, we see Bar Associations charging members $125 and non-members $150 for a 90-minute Continuing Legal Education Program. I see religious groups charging $49 for a 60-minute presentation. If the presentation is for professional credit – you will be able to charge more because your audience has to get the credit one way or the other – and sitting at their desk is a lot simpler than travelling.

For general education events (which are not for credit), the price point is generally between $50 – $90, but we’ve seen it much higher.

But no matter what I can say is this – If your content is compelling and has value, people won’t quibble about 10 bucks here or there. Just keep your topic narrow and deep – that’s where the value is. General information – people can get anywhere and for free most times.

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Methods for Collecting Attendance Fees When You Want to Charge for Your Webinar

Obviously payment processing isn’t necessary if your webinar is free to attend. However, if you are charging your audience to attend your presentation, you’re going to need a way to collect their payment.

You pretty much have 3 choices:

  1. Do it manually by mail – which you don’t even want to think about for your sake as well as your attendees.
  2. Use a 3rd party payment processor (a la PayPal or American Express’ new service)
  3. Or you can choose a webinar service provider that integrates the payment processing, with the online registration process. Unfortunately WebEx, Go-To-Meeting and most of the webinar technology companies don’t provide payment processing.

You’re also going to want to watch carefully as to when you actually receive your cash – don’t let anyone hold on to it claiming they are concerned about ‘hold backs’ from the credit card companies. You should be getting your money within a couple of weeks of the event.

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5 Tips You’ll Want To Keep In Mind When Creating A PowerPoint for Webinars

  1. Use more images and less text. You know how they say “a picture is worth a thousand words” …well that applies to PowerPoint as well. If you’re trying to trigger an emotion in your audience, a visual will more surely do it than words.
  2. Use large font (I’m talking 26 point minimum). Not only is it easier to read – but it has more impact…think about newspaper headlines…THINK BIG!
  3. Graphs are great – but keep them simple — and big. There’s nothing worse than a graph that is too small, has hard to read text on it, then disappears before you can digest what it was trying to tell you.
  4. don’t have your talking points on your slides. Have your talking points in your notes (which the audience can’t see). Your notes should add color to the message on the slide – like maybe an interesting example.
  5. don’t put your logo/URL/phone number on every slide – because you’ll look like you’re selling, selling, selling – which is not comforting to your audience. Having them on the first and last slide will do the job.

And one final tip for good measure, don’t have your first slide a big long bio about the speaker, nothing can start off your webinar on the wrong foot then to bore the audience to death about how many schools you went to, how many jobs and titles you’ve had, etc. etc…you get the point.

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Benefits of Recording and Archiving Webinars and TeleSeminars

Most of the leading web conferencing platforms allow you to record your webinar presentation. It’s then available for playback using one of the free media players out there (depends on what format the service records in).

Recording your presentation can be very useful for a number of reasons (I’ll give you the top 5):

  1. Less than ½ of the people who register for your event will actually show up (if it is free). But the ones that don’t show up are still important and you want them to have the benefit of viewing your presentation. If it’s recorded, you can send them an email saying  “you’re sorry they missed it – here’s a link to the recording”
  2. Many of the people that do show up will want to share what they have learned with colleagues – and a recording is the easiest way to help that happen.
  3. If you’re charging people to attend – and they miss it, you can send them the recording and avoid having to deal with refunds.
  4. With the increasing value of video to SEO, you’re going to want to post it on YouTube and on your web site.
  5. And finally, you can continue to offer the webinar on-demand behind a registration page that can serve as either a lead capture technique or for extra revenue generation.

If you have any other good tips on how to use your webinar and teleseminar recordings, please post them in the comments section we would love to hear them.

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Let ConferTel Provide Section 508 Compliance with your Webinar or Teleconference

Reach Your Widest Audience with Closed Caption Streaming:
Federal agencies are required to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make  available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to  encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these  goals. Under Section 508, agencies must give disabled employees and  members of the public access to information that is comparable to the  access available to others. This includes requirements for captioning of multimedia products such as training or informational multimedia  productions, such as online webinars and on-demand videos.

Although the law applies to Federal agencies, state and local government is also impacted by the act. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)  generally require that State and local governments provide qualified  individuals with disabilities equal access to their programs, services,  or activities unless doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of  their programs, services, or activities or would impose an undue burden. While best practices encourage universal accessibility and assistive  technologies, Section 508 does not require that commercial companies  comply unless they are receiving federal funds or have a procurement  contract with a federal agency.

Whether you contract with government agencies or simply seek to reach  the widest audience, you can make your webinars accessible to the  hearing-impaired with our closed caption streaming service. i-Present Captioning  provides real-time streaming text of all spoken dialog for  any meeting, conference call, webcast, webinar and other live or  recorded events.

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