PRACTICAL STEPS IN MARKETING, MANAGEMENT AND FINANCE
Teleseminar and Webinar Tips
By Greg Siskind
S PEAKING AT A SEMINAR has always been a greatformoflawyermarketing. Teaching—andessen- tially that’s all we’re talking about here—can help
establish your reputation as an expert in the field, is a valuable
additional service for your existing clients and can educate people
in an interactive way about new developments that can result in a
greater demand for legal services.
Until a few years ago, presenting at a seminar largely meant
getting invited to speak at a conference
or a firm organizing its own program,
greatly limiting one’s opportunities.
First, just getting invited to speak at a live
seminar was tough, especially if you’re
not an insider at an organization or close
to someone on the event-planning committee. Sometimes potential participants
had to submit a complicated and time-consuming proposal. And, of course,
your program had to be relevant to the
organization. Second, you really needed
to do your homework to ascertain if the
return on your financial investment to
attend the event would be profitable,
factoring in both your financial cost and
time. This was especially true for out-of-town events.
But new technologies have upended
the way seminars are delivered, and this
means new opportunities. Lawyers are
now able to engage in public speaking by
means of mass conference calls, known
as teleseminars, or through Web-based
programs, or webinars. Tools now exist
allowing lawyers in small or solo environments, not just those from large
firms, to put on their own programs
without great expense. These technologies also make life easier for attendees
who otherwise would not have the time
or money to attend.
Chances are, you’ve received invitations to a teleseminar or a
webinar. You may even have participated as a listener or a panelist.
But have you actually planned one for yourself or your firm? Here
are some tips on how to pull off a successful program.
Several considerations must be addressed when considering the
way in which to format your program:
a web or
Costs. Telephone programs are likely to cost less
than Web ones. Some long-established vendors such
as FreeConferenceCall are, as the name implies, free.
Yet even if you use a service with more bells and
whistles in addition to live support, audio programs
remain likely to cost less than webinars.
Preparation time. Webinars require visual materials
such as PowerPoint slides. Speakers need to be
knowledgeable about, or trained in, the webinar
software they will be using.
Technical problems. Both types of programs
are prone to glitches such as audio problems, with
audience members and/or speakers being dropped,
Internet disruptions occurring or the like. But
teleseminars probably are less risky because fewer
things can go wrong.
Engaging your audience. Visual presentations
may make your audience feel more like they’re at
a live program. On the other hand, some attendees
may have slow Internet service or are nervous
about the technical complications associated with
webinars and prefer to simply dial in.
Stress for presenters. Trying to focus on
presenting your material while simultaneously
operating webinar software can be intimidating, and
taking up more of your presenters’ valuable time for
training sessions can be aggravating.