On a teleconference, you're going to run into another big hassle. Somehow it seems like the participants have been yanked to the call. They're almost unwilling to be there. No they're not. They're just unsure of what to expect. And of course you haven't warmed them up.
So pray, how do you warm up an audience?
There are three ways I use to warm up an audience.
1) I send out an agenda.
2) I send out specific information in advance.
3) I make sure there are a good chunk of graphics.
And here's why all of these three things are important from the audience's point of view.
The agenda creates an instant safe-zone. Even if the participants aren't going to read the agenda, it still creates a safety net. It enables them to know that they can refer to the outline in advance. This agenda is critical for those of us who need to know the starting point, the end point and everything in between. Half your audience won't care to look at the agenda. But 100% of your audience will be appreciative of you taking the time to put it together, so that if they need to scan it, they can indeed do so.
Information creates instant safety. And instant chaos as well. It creates safety, because the participants know that they can indeed access the information in advance. And of course, In many cases, you may be compelled to give all the notes. This isn't a problem at all, as long as you highlight what they need to focus on. So if I give the participants a 20 page booklet, I'm pretty darned sure that most of them are not going to read it.
And if they read it, they may scan over it. And that's not much good for learning. So I give them the entire booklet (be it 20 pages or 1000 pages just kidding!) and then get them to read pages 11-14 or 22-25. This focuses the audience's attention to a segment, and creates safety. And, of course, learning.
Graphics, graphics, graphics:
Our brains deal with graphics so well, yet we constrain ourselves to words. Now imagine if this article had at least a few graphics. Wouldn't the very same content have a far higher memorability factor? Sure it would, because graphics are snapshots of what you're about to say.
And the brain is able to process the graphics very quickly and efficiently. So I make sure I put in at least a good sprinkling of graphics. And remember: If you're going to have a graphic, have a caption for the graphic. The caption is important, because it explains the graphic.
So yeah, it's time to get on that teleconference call.
Do you think your audience would be warmer as a result of the steps above? Or colder? Would they feel more safe? Or less safe?
The answer is almost irrelevant, eh? So yeah, getting people warmed up is decently hard work. But you gotta do what you gotta do.
Note: Make sure you get this information well in advance. At the very least, about 4 days in advance, and not much earlier than a week in advance. If you send all this information less than 24 hours before the call (and I've done that enough), you'll nullify all the hard work. Plan your schedule, and make sure this information gets to clients between 4-7 days in advance.
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Jef Menguin says
Thank you for sharing all these tips. I think I can apply them also to my live seminars.