There are so many conferencing terms out there that are used interchangeably, it’s tough to figure out what the difference is between a teleconference, teleseminar, webinar, webcast and web conferencing. Let me help:

A teleconference is a phone call between multiple parties. It’s basically a fancy term for a conference call. Usually, 3 or more people dial a toll-free number and are placed in a virtual “room” where they can conduct their meeting.

A teleseminar is just like a seminar or class but presented on the phone without any visual component to the presentation. Any number of speakers can be present, but 1-3 is pretty standard. Unlike a teleconference, the participants are typically muted and questions and answers are addressed at the speaker or moderator’s discretion. This functionality works well for those instances where you would want to share updates or current information about a particular topic. Typically, participants would register for this type of event.

A web conference is basically a meeting held online. Also known as, “online collaboration” or a “web meeting”, most applications will allow you to share documents such as Word, Excel, PPT or even your Desktop using the internet. These types of meetings are generally reserved for smaller groups since several people may be talking at the same time. This would replace any type of meeting you would typically hold in a conference room – like a department meeting, sales meeting, committee meeting or IT workgroup meeting.

A webinar is just like a teleseminar except there IS a web component to the presentation – usually a PowerPoint presentation. A webinar could be presented for educational credit, lead generation or as a way to earn revenue. Like a teleseminar, participants would register for this event.

Webcasts are typically reserved for large audiences since participants are rarely invited to speak and if there is any interaction at all, it is usually by using a chat function. This type of service works well for announcing earnings reports, company announcements, marketing presentations or broadcasting live events.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, but hopefully you now have a better understanding of the terms used to describe different types of conferencing.

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