Tele/Web Conferencing
The Bridge to Balance
By Gail Howerton, MA, CLP
Jan 24, 2003 - 10:34:00 AM

I believe we need to walk our talk. Since I promote balanced living and peak performance through playful professionalism, I've found a way to bridge work and play.

Gail Howerton

Enter bridge-lines, tele-seminars, and Internet classes. Using these tools affords me more time at home and makes me more affordable to clients who don 't necessarily have the time, facilities, budget, or coordinator to arrange for an on-site program. They can train their staff in real-time over the phone, or at their computers while staying in their office. Utilizing

tele-classes and other Internet distance learning options creates a very cost effective, interactive way to educate employees. It saves time, money, and effort on the part of the participants as well as the instructor and the employer. These state of the art educational tools can also help meeting planners in their jobs by decreasing the amount of logistics needed to arrange training workshops.

Since there is virtually no on-site coordination necessary such as coffee breaks, transportation, or room rentals to contend with, the meeting planner has time to coordinate tele-classes while focusing on other live workshops and meetings, which helps balance their work schedule.

A tele-class is a conference where you rent a bridge line for the telephone for up to 30 people for around $10 per hour. Bridge lines for 150 people cost more. I have found several helpful Web sites where you can rent a bridge line and advertise your class for free. At you can list your public class along with hundreds of other classes either for free or for a fee. If your class is free, then your use of their bridge line is complementary. If you charge a fee, then you pay to rent their bridge line. You can rent your bridge line elsewhere and just utilize their ad space to market your class. They also send out notices for upcoming classes and provide you with hints and form letters to use with your students/clients.

Another web site for public tele-classes is if you are planning an open class. It has a similar set up for advertising your class along with other classes on their web site. In order to get your free listing here; you are on the honor system to help promote their site in your marketing materials. Potential instructors must also take a free course that is one hour per week for four weeks and gives tips on facilitating successful tele-classes. The instructor training is all done by telephone in a tele-class.

Other options for combining tele-classes and Internet training are sites such as . These sites offer some classes which are completely Internet based and some classes which are phone based and some video or CD-ROM based. Other distance learning options include a self directed learning mode, text-based information which is on a website such as . This type of training is the least interactive with the instructor and is virtually a workbook that is read on the web site.

Record your classes

By using a digital recorder or a portable cassette tape recorder with a 110-minute tape, you can capture the information of your class and use it for future training. Electronics stores sell adapters for audio taping through the phone with your own cassette tape recorder for around $20. Be sure to make all participants aware that they are being taped. Add more value by e-mailing your students an outline of the class and bundling similar transcripts with your tapes for resale or for future in-house training.

To increase the synergy of some of my classes, I have teamed up with other experts to create a series of tele-classes on various topics about energizing your life. I have my guests e-mail me 25 questions and then we do a talk-show style interview over the phone for the tele-class. The participants get double the value by having two guest experts facilitate the tele-class and they are encouraged to ask questions either in the tele-class or e-mail questions to the facilitators before the class to ensure their needs are met.

If you are promoting a public tele-class, industry average suggests free classes draw about three percent of your market along with high dropout rates. The fee-based classes draw one percent of your target market with less of a dropout rate. In order to draw enough participants to make the class worth while, you must have a large database, or have an in-house training workshop with mandatory training requirements and attendance.

With our whirlwind schedules, it makes sense to leverage our time by taking advantage of the new technology to help balance out our days. By using the phone lines and modems, we are better able to balance our work schedules and create dynamic learning that is cost-effective for everybody involved. With more balance and less stress in our daily schedule, we can play more at our work and work more at our play to bridge the balance between our personal and professional lives.

Gail Howerton, MA, CLP is the CEO (Chief Energizing Officer) of Fun*cilitators and is a professional speaker facilitating fun and effectiveness to energize your enterprise and promote peak performance through playful professionalism. Gail is the Author of Hit Any Key To Energize Your Life and similar tele-classes. Find out about her classes or about her facilitating one for you by calling 800-930-6096 or at

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