Have you ever tried to lift a box and injured your back? Have you ever bumped your head getting in or out of your car? Have you ever tripped while crossing the street? Have you ever hit the gas in your car when trying to step on the brake? Have you ever cut a fingernail just that extra little bit too close? Have you ever cut yourself on a knife?
Things go wrong!
That’s life. Sometimes, things just go a little wrong. They don’t come together the way they should. And teleseminars are no different. It doesn’t matter if you’re a new facilitator or if you’re a guru. It doesn’t matter if this is your first teleseminar or if you’re teaching how to create teleseminars. Things go wrong.
And you need to be prepared for when they do. In project management we call that risk management. And it’s a key skill that we need to bring to the table.
In this article, I’m going to list seven common problems that may come up during a teleseminar and how you can overcome them.
1. No response to questions
This is so common that you really shouldn’t be starting a teleseminar without having a solution in place. The best solution is to have some prepared questions. Introduce them as having come from questions your customers emailed you.
2. Children playing in the background
I’m being gentle here. At least with children it isn’t a matter of being impolite. Almost every teleseminar is plagued by the dreaded background noise that isn’t. The best solution is simply to mute your attendees right from the start. Let them stick up their hand — believe it or not that’s an option on many teleconference systems. You can then unmute them and then mute them immediately after.
3. Someone talking to you.
Unfortunately, it’s not always just your attendees that have problems with background noises intruding and overwhelming the speaker. Always use a headset microphone. They pick up less extraneous noise. And always close your office door and put a sign on it to indicate you’re recording. One person I know used a trick from darkroom and professional studios. They put a light up and a sign “If the light is on, you may enter if: the house is on fire, someone has been hurt and needs to get to the hospital immediately, atom bomb attack. Anything else, please come back later.”
4. Recording failure
This happens far more frequently than you might realize. The solution is to never rely on any one recording. Always make two recordings if possible. One at your computer and one using the teleconferencing service. That way if you have a failure you are likely to be able to recover without having to rerun the teleseminar. Oh, and always be prepared to rerun the teleseminar.
5. Bad telephone line
It used to be that bad telephone lines were as common as politicians’ promises. Then the telecommunications technology improved and bad telephone lines became rare. Now it’s become so complex that bad telephone lines are becoming frequent again. There’s usually little you can do about it. However, never make a call from a cell phone or portable phone if you can avoid it. Always have someone listen to your teleseminar and warn you if your phone breaks up. And if a problem occurs — ask for your audience’s forgiveness and tolerance. Then try calling back in. Usually the problem is the result of a bad switch in a bank of a hundred so calling back you’ll probably find the problem disappears.
6. Teleconference service crash.
It’s funny. We’re so conditioned to beware of people who talk to themselves that when we end up doing it we’re embarrassed. Even when there’s nothing we can do about it. You can try calling in again but if it’s a real crash there’s only one thing you can do. Keep talking. At least you’ll get some practice at the teleseminar and a recording you can use later. Then send an email to all the attendees apologizing and explaining. You did collect their emails when they joined didn’t you?
7. Power failures.
Until a few weeks ago, I would never have thought of this as a potential problem. Usually a power failure does not affect your phone line — they have a separate power system. So grab an old style phone and try calling into the teleconference service again as quickly as you can. If you succeed always apologize and explain what happened. You’ll find most people will forgive you — they’ve probably been there!