Sensational Seminars Through Videoconferencing

by : Jason Cox

Would not seminars be more interesting and thought provoking and lets face it, downright sensational, if they involved communicating with well respected (and sometimes well known) professionals in the given field of research? Would not it be great to learn about Kenya from someone who lives and works in Kenya and who is actually coming to you directly from Kenya at that moment in time? How about Russia or China or Canada or anywhere in the world? Videoconferencing makes this all possible.

Learning can be encouraged and improved upon when students can receive live feeds from people and places that they are studying about.

A seminar is defined as, A form of academic teaching, at a university or offered by a commercial or professional organization, in small groups where students are requested to actively participate during meetings. This often is to be done by presenting a paper in class and also in written form. Normally, participants must not be beginners. The concept behind seminars is to encourage active participation in regards to the subject matter.

The idea behind seminars is to confront students with the methodology of their chosen subject and also to familiarize them with practical problems that might crop up during their research work. Seminars are a method of open communication and there is plenty of room for discussion, debate and a plethora of questions and answers to be tossed around and dissected. Seminars are an opportunity to converse with others studying the same material and to compare ideas, and support others in the process of learning. Although a very new tool for teaching, videoconferencing is already making inroads when it comes to livening up seminars and initial results are very promising.

Not all seminars are academic in nature. Companies put on seminars sometimes to drum up interest in a new product they wish to market and also as a method of bringing in some money for the business. A great deal of planning must go into both preparing and planning the seminar as well as planning and preparing for the videoconference to take place during the seminar.

First you need to find your target audience and narrow in on them and their individual needs. Next you need to find experts and/or celebrity personalities to endorse and or talk further in-depth about your product. This is where videoconferencing plays a big role. The experts you choose do not have to live in your city or even in your state. They have to simply agree to be a part of a videoconference for your target audience on a specific day at a specific time.

Live demonstrations of your product is always a good idea at a seminar or else include that as part of the videoconference and has the person(s) on the other end do the demonstrating. Buyer incentives at the conclusion of the seminar are always a smart idea. For example offer freebies, prizes, and/or free services with the purchase.

In order for a videoconference to be a success during a seminar, it should, as a general guideline, be scheduled for no longer than an hour and a half to two hours. An even shorter seminar such as an hour long one, depending on the subject matter might be a good idea. If you draw it out to long you will tire the participants and you will lose your edge as disinterest in the subject matter begins to creep in. Prepare your schedule of events for the seminar as well as your teaching materials, graphics, video clips, audio clips, etc. beforehand and hand out any necessary brochures, pamphlets or information at the onset of the seminar.

Another idea is to already have the materials at each seat. Once you know who will be attending the seminar carefully plan out the seating arrangement and either make nametags or identification labels and position them in the proper location. Nametags typed up on the computer should always use large fonts. As a rule the Arial font typed in twenty-four points or larger is recommended.

Never leave your contact with those who will be a part of the videoconference from other parts of the country or from other places in the world until the last minute. Your experts are an integral part of the seminar and therefore you need to secure everything in regards to them, whether it be day, time, an overview of what they are going to discuss and so on. Always keep time zones in mind when deciding on a time for a seminar. Make sure your videoconferencing site technician has been briefed on everything that is to take place during the seminar. It is preferable to do this at least two days in advance. As well take the time to become familiar with all of the equipment that is part of videoconferencing by going to some test link-up sessions.