Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tips and Tools: Teleseminars

On Friday I participated in a free teleseminar with Jason Womack, a workplace performance coach and former teacher of mine. The teleseminar was about goal setting and I found it to be very informative and inspirational. Free teleseminars are one of the great products of the Internet age—phone calls organized and publicized on the web that don’t cost anything to listen to except for 30-60 minutes of your life and cell phone minutes. (Just make sure that the seminar you have signed up for is really free—some are for pay and can cost hundreds of dollars!)

Teleseminars are sort of like live podcasts that you can interact with your fellow listeners on, by asking questions and commenting during and after the call. People do them for free as a way to publicize their paid content and services. They are offered in a variety of fields, and they can be a great way to audition a person or business if you have been thinking about paying for their services, or a great free way to get a little exposure to a new concept, strategy or field. I try to listen in on business/entrepreneurship and organizing-oriented teleseminars as often as I can. 

One of the things brought up in Friday’s seminar was the idea of dedicating a portion of your workspace to being electronics-free and spending multiple work chunks in that space, unplugged, working on whatever project is most important to you. The project might be related to your business, or could be a new idea or a creative project you are trying to finish. Spending time without a phone, computer and PDA at your fingertips is almost an alien concept these days, and trying to actually accomplish work without these modern tools seems impossible. However, a lot of work is done by thinking, drawing, visualizing, writing (by hand), journaling or meditating. Mr. Womack suggests spending five 20-40 minute work chunks on your project in this new workspace and see what happens. Does is work for you? Are you freer to imagine and create? Do you want to make this a permanent part of your practice? 

Tips for attending teleseminars:

  • Make sure you have the call information and call in a few minutes before the start time
  • Make sure you are calling in at the right time—the moderator usually specifies Eastern or Pacific time
  • Have lots of paper and a pen, or be in front of a word processing program on your computer so you can take notes
  • Listen in with a hands-free ear piece to make note taking more comfortable
  • Mute yourself—the call moderator might not mute the listeners, so mute yourself by pressing *6 on your phone so your background noise won’t be heard
  • Don’t be afraid to speak up during the question and answer portion—get the most out of the call you can! 

Do you listen to teleseminars? What have you learned from them? Share in the comments. Visit Jason Womack's blog and learn about leadership coaching at the Ojai Institute.

Creative Commons Cisco Conference Station photo posted to flickr by Andres Rueda

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