Best practices for teleseminar & virtual conference success

Posted September 17th @ 12:57 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

One of the best ways to learn the best practices involved in teleseminar and virtual (or online) conference success is to take part in events produced by those with a track record of success.

As I learned during July, taking part in events like D’vorah Lansky’s Book Marketing Conference Online provides an excellent opportunity to analyze the best practices of teleseminar and online conference success from both a presenter’s and an attendee’s point of view.

Best practices for teleseminars & conferences

The following are just some of the procedural best practices that I observed before, during, and after D’vorah’s event.

I’m emphasizing procedural best practices in this post because excellent marketing and promotion is assummed; let’s just look at some of the details that contributed to the event’s success for both presenters and attendees.

  1. Make your presenters the heroes of your event. As you can see from the graphic that branded the event, above, D’vorah Lansky put the emphasis on the 14 presenters. TheĀ  simple, but tasteful, collage of presenter photographs reflected attitude displayed during the presentations.
  2. Supportive moderator. I was especially impressed by D’vorah’s ability to provide a structure for each presenter, by asking appropriate questions and making follow-up comments, without competing with the presenters. She set the stage, and stepped by allowing the presenter to run with the ball.
  3. Range of topics. The 14 presenters addressed a wide range of non-competing topics. The range of topics included not only the familiar topics, but new topics, such as membership site opportunities for authors. Presenters included several new resources I was unfamiliar with.
  4. Timing. Events were spaced out throughout the day, over a 4-day period, (Monday through Thursday). Events took place at 11 AM, 1 PM, and 3 PM EDT. This spacing allowed participants ample time to keep current on their everyday commitments–a benefit in-person events don’t offer. There was also an evening review session.
  5. One-click access to events. For the duration of her event, D’vorah created a fixed-term membership site for presenters and attendees. The “event site” simplified access to everything associated with the event. Once registered, it was easy to create profiles, upload handouts, participate in discussions, and–most important–instantly access presentations during the event and following the event. With the system that D’vorah employed, all events were accessed through a single URL.
  6. Multiple call-in options. The technology D’vorah employed permitted presenters and attendees to listen online or use a separate telephone line. Options were clearly marked and easily accessed.
  7. Handouts, recordings, and transcripts. I was especially impressed with this aspect of the event. What I especially liked was the separate page for each presentation during the event, with a clearly marked link for each event’s handouts. I was also very impressed by how quickly the recordings and transcripts of each event were available for attendees–usually within a few hours.
  8. Presenter promotional opportunities. There were numerous opportunities for presenters to promote their services and an store containing special offers from the presenters.
  9. Discussion forum. The event website contained a discussion forum permitting presenters and attendees to meet before the conference began, exchange comments with other attendees, and ask presenters questions during the call and after. D’vorah did a great job of creating a virtual conference based on a location-based event.
  10. Review session. One of the best parts of the conference, which I haven’t seen elsewhere, was a special review/summary event the last night of the conference. This provided an opportunity to wrap-up the event with key takeaways and additional ideas from the presenters. Although an unscripted, interactive event, D’vorah prepared relevant and useful handouts for attendees–a nice, unexpected bonus.
  11. Real-time enhancements. Perception equals reality; one of the things that impressed me were the tweaks to the events that D’vorah made throughout the conference, responding to attendee questions and comments. The commitment and extra work involved communicated a caring, professional image.
  12. Presenter follow-up. Personalized thank-you e-mails were sent to presenters immediately following their presentations. Immediately following the event, D”vorah sent attendees a personalized gift Thank You package.

Relationship building and personal branding

All of the above contributed to a very satisfying event for attendees and presenters, doubtless paving the way for future presenters.

And that’s probably the big takeaway from the 2011 Book Marketing Conference Online

Teleseminar and virtual conference success doesn’t come from “just” the quality of the marketing and presentation content, success also comes from the intangibles and the brand image created by the event organizers professional attitudes and attention to detail.

What do you think about teleseminar conference best practices?

From your experiences, what do you think are the best practices for teleseminar and virtual conference events? What are some of the high points of teleseminars and virtual conference where you either presented or attended? Did your experience pre-sell your participation in future events? Were the events as carefully crafted as the books that, likely, created the organizer’s personal brand and market? Share your experiences and comments about teleseminar conference best practices below, as comments.

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