Welcome and Congratulations
Welcome to MaestroConference! You are now at the podium of the most dynamic call-facilitation platform available.
This guidebook is designed to assist you in using MaestroConference to make your conference calls and teleseminars even more vibrant, effective and profitable. Written specifically for the presenter, it focuses on preparing for, conducting and following up after your MaestroConference call.
We look forward to your mastering and using all of the features of the MaestroConference call system.
Before the Call
Like any important meeting or event, preparation is the foundation of success. Your calls—whether for a training workshop, a sales presentation or a team building exercise—will be most effective if you plan ahead for them. Below you will find a few suggestions for shaping your call and preparing to conduct it.
Purpose and Outcomes
As you get ready for your calls, consider exactly what you want to accomplish. What information and experience are you intending to convey? What outcomes do you want to create? What actions do you want your participants to take during and after the call?
We find that the most valuable calls are based on a clear purpose and designed to produce specific outcomes. “Purpose” speaks to the why of the call, without which the call may feel ungrounded, pointless or manipulative. Why is this important? The answer to this question is what engages your participants’ caring and commitment.
“Outcomes” address the what question: What are we producing together? Answering this question serves participants by aligning expectations and focusing their attention. Articulating a clear purpose and distinct outcomes for each of your calls prepares your callers for discovery, action and accomplishment.
Scheduling Your Call
You may schedule your calls at any time, using our web-based interface. You will be asked to provide the date and time of your call, and to estimate the number of presenters, assistants, and participants. The Technical Manual has further information about how to schedule a call.
We recommend that, depending on the purpose of your call, you prepare your participants appropriately. For a marketing event, this may mean an invitation and reminder e-mail message; for a training workshop, you may simply send a brief notice or two prior to each call. The Technical Manual has further information about the different ways you can invite participants to join a call.
Scripting Your Call
As you would for any important meeting or event, you will want to prepare an outline or script prior to your MaestroConference call. Keeping in mind your purpose and outcomes, you can design your presentation and discussions as if you were leading a meeting or seminar with every participant in the room. Nearly anything you would facilitate in training or meeting rooms, you can do on a MaestroConference call. You can easily include any or all of the following features:
- Yes/No polls
- 1-5 rating polls
- All participant Q&A sessions
- Breakout groups (2-8 people per group)
- One-on-one side meetings (a participant with an assistant of your choice)
- Sales or registration rooms (hosted sub-meetings in which your assistant can take orders for your products or services)
Structure of the Call
The MaestroConference call system is designed to make your teleseminars and conference calls more vibrant, effective and profitable. As with any presentation, there are four critical phases that we recommend you address:
- Relate: Connecting with your participants
- Discover: Clarifying your message and exploring what it means to your participants
- Advocate: Inviting participants to choose new behaviors or activities that support them
- Support: Providing action steps so that participants act on their choice
A health coach marketing a series of individualized coaching sessions might structure a call that includes the following elements:
- State her intention for the call and ask call participants to do the same.
- Have callers share with a partner a time they've done something positive for someone else to support their health.
- Share a humorous or informative piece of information which touches on the need for her service (Example: a conversation with a client who was an expert on nutrition but unable to eat well despite his knowledge).
- List the top 3 pain points that her service addresses.
- Recap what they just heard.
- Answer specific content questions from their life (e.g., places where you eat unconsciously).
- Explore "where their life is headed" without individualized or group coaching.
- Share some of the benefits of participating in health coaching.
- Provide real life examples and success stories.
- Allow callers to work in pairs to identify areas of their health where they would like new results.
- Let callers share their health goals with the entire group.
- Recap what they've learned.
- Ask them to make a commitment to a specific action (appointment, individual call, free initial session).
- Talk in a heartfelt way about the difference that health coaching could make in their future.
While MaestroConference is primarily focused on providing you with the most advanced platform to support your teleseminars and conference calls, we also offer call facilitation and design services. Please contact Mitch Feigenberg, our Facilitation and Training coach, at [email protected].
Rehearsal and Practice
We recommend that you can explore the dynamics of leading a MaestroConference call. Take a few “test drives” using your own content with colleagues or friends as your participants. You are free to conduct as many practice calls as you like. These calls will support you and your assistant(s) to become proficient with the MaestroConference Conductor's Interface.
Preparing Your Assistant(s)
You may want or need assistants on your calls. Depending on your level of confidence in using the Conductor's Interface and the attention needed to lead the conversation, you may prefer to have an assistant run the user interface so you can to give your full full attention to the content of the call. Or, you may be comfortable handling both tasks yourself.
Other reasons to have one or more assistants on a call include answering questions, taking orders or simply having an additional set of eyes and ears roaming the room during breakout sessions.
When you conduct your “test drive” calls, you can include those individuals who will assist you in running the user interface or facilitating small group discussions or other activities. This will give you an opportunity to ensure that your team knows how to conduct and assist on a MaestroConference call.
The “Waiting Room”
When your call participants dial in and provide a pin number, they are placed in a “waiting room” in which they enjoy music until you begin conducting your call.
Callers who arrive after the scheduled start time of a call join the call in progress. If all of your participants are in one group, late arrivals will simply enter the session unannounced. If participants are in breakout groups when late arrivals join the call, they will immediately enter the session but you or an assistant will need to manually add them into a breakout group, should you so desire. Otherwise, you may greet them privately and/or have them remain unassigned to a breakout group. They will hear anything that anyone says to the entire room, and they will be incorporated into the large group when you dissolve the breakouts.
The MaestroConference Conductor’s Interface lets you see exactly who is on the call and offers a range of simple-to-use features which you can employ at any time. Details on how to use the Conductor’s Interface are provided in the MaestroConference Technical Manual.
Conducting Your Call
"Yes/No" Polls are easy to use and immediately engage your call participants in relationship with you. We recommend that you use "yes-no" polls in the first few minutes of your call. They indicate your interest in the callers' responses and set the tone of interactivity and immediacy that is so unique to the MaestroConference call system. It is helpful to your callers to consistently use the same numbers throughout your calls to mean the same things, for instance, 1 for yes, and 2 for no.
- "Did you read your preparation material for this call? Please press 1 for yes and 2 for no."
- "Do you live or work in a major metropolitan area? Please press 1 for yes and 2 for no."
- "Have you been able to identify one of the three problem areas we discussed on our last call? Please press 1 for yes and 2 for no."
1-5 rating polls
1-5 rating polls provide more information and can give you a better sense of people's concerns and satisfactions as well as your effectiveness at offering them new information and solutions. It is helpful to your callers to consistently use the same numbers throughout your calls to mean the same things, for instance, 1 is the best rating, and 5 is the worst.
- "How useful did you find last week's written materials? Please press 1 for Extremely Useful, 2 for Very Useful, 3 for Somewhat Useful, 4 for Barely Useful, or 5 for Not at all Useful."
- "On a scale of 1 to 3, with 1 being Fabulous, 2 being Okay, and 3 being Terrible, please rate your experience with on-line dating services. If you don't have any experience with them, please press 4."
- "On a scale of 1 to 5, please indicate your interest in a week-long retreat. Press 1 for Very Interested, 2 for Somewhat Interested, 3 for Neither Interested nor Uninterested, 4 for Somewhat Uninterested and 5 for Very Uninterested."
All participant Q&A sessions
Question and Answer sessions can be used to engage your callers with material you have covered or if you simply want to hear what they are thinking. At any time on your presentation, you can offer participants the chance to ask a question or indicate a need.
- "Who would like to raise an issue that concerns them? Please press 1 on your keypad and I will give you the microphone so you can speak to the entire group and we can address your concern."
- "Who would like an individual conversation with a coach at this point? Press 1 and we will match you with someone right away. Who still has questions that need answering, press 2 now and we will address your questions in the large group."
- "If you have a general question on our topic, please press 1 now."
Breakout groups (2-8 people per group)
One of the most powerful features of the MaestroConference call system is the breakout group. You have the ability to put people in pairs, trios or larger groups for any particular purpose. (Please see the Conductor's Manual for instructions on how to move callers into groups.)
- "I am going to put you with a partner now. Please take 30 seconds to say hello and introduce yourselves. I will then signal you to begin a two minute conversation on out topic. Near the end, I will signal you again so you can wrap up your thoughts and thank your partner."
- "In a few moments, you will be placed in groups of four to talk about how you want to move forward on your sales campaigns. Make sure everyone has a chance to brainstorm and let's see what you can accomplish in ten minutes. Okay, you are now in groups of four. Introduce yourselves and begin working. I will come back to you when there is one minute left so you can collect your ideas and be ready to come back to the large group."
- "We are going to move into small groups with your coaches now. Three participants and one coach in each group. The coaches have several questions for you to answer and explore. I will be moving around, listening in on the groups from time to time. You will have 20 minutes, then we will come back to the main group. Any questions, please press 1 now. Okay, you are in your groups now. Please begin, coaches."
One-on-one side meetings
At any time, you can place participants in one-on-one private meetings with a member of your staff. These meetings can allow participants to get questions answered, purchase products, or do anything else you want them to do.
- "If at any time during this presentation you wish to schedule an appointment for an on-site evaluation, just press 1 on your keypad and a member of our staff will talk with you directly."
- "If you have questions during this part of the call, simply press 2 on your keypad and an assistant will answer you immediately."
- "At some point in today's session, one of our coaches will pull you out of the main room for a
- "private chat" about your goals for the month. This will give you a chance to get some feedback and coaching about your plan. Don't worry - it will only take a few minutes and we won't let you miss anything critical going on the the main room."
Sales or registration rooms
Another useful feature for smaller question-and-answer sessions and group sales activities is the "sales room", a hosted sub-meeting in which an assistant of your choice can speak about and take orders for your products or services. At any time, callers can ask to join an on-going smaller conversation led by your assistant(s).
- "If at any time, you would like to leave the general meeting and meet with one of our Product Counselors, simply press 2 and you will be placed in our Sales Center where a qualified representative will review your needs and help you explore how our service can assist you to meet your goals."
- "If you have specific questions about using system XYZ to be more effective in your ABC, simply press 2 now and we will introduce you to our Applications Specialists who will brainstorm with you about the best ways to use the XYZ."
- "Please press 1 on your keypad now to be moved to our Free Trial Group conversation where Steve of our staff will answer any final questions and help you order your new products."
Facilitating a Smooth Call
The added features of the MaestroConference call system add richness and immediacy to the caller experience. They also require additional sensitivity by the presenter. Nobody likes to be interrupted in the middle of a conversation with a peer, but you will need to warn participants that their time is almost up, and then bring them back to the main room, in order to facilitate successful conference sessions.
The MaestroConference call is a dynamic event that often includes frequent interaction among call participants. Establishing a consistent facilitation pattern is both empowering and reassuring to call participants. Specifically, your sensitivity in managing transitions from activity to activity will keep your callers engaged and moving forward.
For example, when you have callers working in pairs or small groups, we recommend giving them a 30 second warning before wrapping up an interchange. You can easily do this by speaking to the entire group (see Conductor’s Guide for the mechanics of this feature). Then, asking them to wrap up the conversation, allow them to “say goodbye” to their partner prior to re-forming the large group for questions, comments or your next learning or marketing activity.
Selling products and services
One of the great things about the MaestroConference call system is that participants can make a purchase at any time. Simply ask them to indicate their readiness by pressing a number on their telephone keypad and you can easily move them to a private conference where an assistant can take their order.
After the Call
Thank You Notes
We highly recommend that you send a thank you note to each participant. Especially in sales and marketing activities, it is amazing how much feeling appreciated means to clients and prospective clients.
Based on the purpose of your call, you will want to send marketing materials, reading assignments, or the like to call participants. You may also wish to use a survey of some sort to get direct feedback about call quality and additional participant needs. We regularly use and recommend SurveyMonkey for customer satisfaction surveys.