Ways to Get Through Awkward Moments During Your Teleseminar


Things go wrong. It does not matter who you are or what you are doing. The one constant is that things go wrong. And a true professional handles things going wrong. And no where is that more true than during a teleseminar.

But the trick to sounding professional is in how you handle awkward moments.

So how do you get through awkward moments during your teleseminar?

In this article I'm going to identify six awkward moments that might happen during your teleseminar and how to get through them.

1. When you ask a question and no one answers.

One of the ways to turn a lecture into a seminar is to ask questions. Simple, if people are answering questions that they are involved and thinking. Besides one of the advantages of a seminar over a lecture is that you get to draw on the experiences, knowledge and skills of all participants not just the facilitator. But what do you do when no one answers? In a teleseminar one of the causes is that people need social support to answer questions. Something that is not present in a teleseminar. The trick is to limit questions and to put them into a form where the participant answers it for themselves rather than out loud.

2. When you ask for problems and questions and no one answers.

This is one of the variations on the above issue. In a live seminar we are used to getting feedback from the participants. Even when there is no answer, the pause for problems and questions often provides sufficient feedback for the facilitator. In a teleseminar, the same technique often results in no feedback at all. In that case, one solution is simply to accept the lack of response as a negative response and continue on. Another alternative is to have a prepared question which is introduced as received by email. This is often enough to open up the participants by giving them permission to ask questions.

3. When you go into a cough fit.

Being in perfect health is not a requirement for holding a teleseminar. In fact, if you do hold enough teleseminars you are almost guaranteed to have some variation of this issue incidence. It can be a coughing fit, or a sneezing fit or a severe case of the hiccups. But whatever it is it will stop you from speaking. The solution is twofold. First you need to stop the attack. Always keep a glass or better still a carafe of warm water on your desk. Often these attacks are the result of drying of the vocal chords. Warm water will help to soothe the irritation. Simply always keep a box of tissues on your desk. Sneezing is often the result of an irritant being trapped in the nasal passages. Drinking over a phone is acceptable. But blowing one's nose is not. Remember to push the microphone out of the way or mute it. Then apologize for the interruption.

4. When there are background noises from one of your participants.

Somehow we've forgotten that it's good manners not to disturb a person who's on the phone. Of course, children tend not to be sticklers for good manners at the best of times. And there's always the occasional case of road noise or workers. Not to mention the individual who forgives his mike is on during a coughing spell. Whatever the cause there's always someone that causes background noise to drown out your teleseminar. The solution if you've forgotten to mute everyone from the beginning is to mute everyone now. Always tell your audience that they are muted and how to put up their hands.

5. When there are background noises from you.

Of course, other people are not the only sources of such noises. In your case, a closed door does wonders. And an apology works when the inevitable happens. Sometimes this can actually work to your advantage such as when it helps to show you are family oriented. Just never lose your temper … it is not worth it.

6. When the service goes down on you.

This is probably the worst disaster that can happen. Often it is at your end, so try calling back. Another method of access is always a good idea. In the case of the system going down just prior to a call, a backup service is a god send. All that's necessary is to change the sign on notification. Failing that, the best solution is often to admit that your teleseminar service is experiencing problems and that you will reschedule the teleseminar.