At the heart of good facilitation of a workshop, teleseminar or other learning program is to let participants discover learning for themselves. As the facilitator, be open to allowing participants to express the learning that is most important to them.
You can do this by first creating a safe learning environment, which means responding neutrally to all participant comments, even those that may be at odds with the majority of the group. It is important to legitimize all contributions.
As well, keep in mind the following facilitation and telecall protocol guidelines:
1. Prior to the call, send call in instructions and teleseminar protocol to the registrants. Additionally, send any handouts or other materials they need to be adequately prepared for the call.
2. Begin and end the teleseminar or web meeting on time.
3. Have people introduce themselves when they come on the line so you can greet them and make them feel welcomed.
4. Start the call with interest and excitement – Much like professional speakers start their speeches with a catchy phrase or story, you too should start you calls that way. It engages the audience immediately and they develop an instant impression that this call is going to be time well spent.
After your intro, you can announce yourself, announce the call, and discuss housekeeping items.
5. Exude a strong leadership presence- As the facilitator of the call, you set the tone for your telecall format, flow, and overall feeling. We’ve all been on calls before where the facilitator has talked in a monotone voice, lectured without engaging the audience, or was just boring. Therefore you want to be sure to be enthusiastic and confident in your delivery, and speak clearly and articulately.
Remember if you are new at this, you will get better every time, and before you know it, you will be a pro. But you have to work at it. Try to improve something in your presentation every time. The difference between those who are mediocre telecall facilitators and those who are excellent is that the former is working to constantly improve their skills.
6. Use vocal variety – Your voice is your main instrument on a teleseminar, and how you sound has a big effect on how people feel about you. Breathe from your belly instead of your throat, and notice how much deeper and resonant your voice sounds. A deeper, relaxed sounding voice tends to carry with it more gravitas than a squeaky, high pitched voice. Open your chest by pulling your shoulders back. Put a smile on your face as you speak as that will translate into a more friendly tone of voice. Vary your speed of speaking so you don’t end up sounding like a robot.
7. Accommodate all learning styles during the telecall – Remember you have different types of learners on the call – audio, visual and kinesthetic. Therefore give them something to see, something to hear and something to do whenever possible (this includes just writing some things down). Use the handouts we provide, and send in advance of the teleseminar.
Remember to also use stories, metaphors and word pictures whenever teaching a concept. This also helps to accommodate the different learning styles and is a powerful technique for locking in learning.