If you recall, a couple of weeks ago we had a lively discussion about using “chat” during a teleclass.

Woman whispering in a man's earWe all pretty much agreed that having people chattering on about all kinds of stuff was much more of a distraction than it was a help. We pretty much agreed that when we attend teleclasses we’re there to learn something from the teacher and not to be distracted by people talking amongst themselves. (If you missed that conversation, read the blog post here.) I have the vision of an unruly class of 3rd graders, yelling and screaming and throwing spit balls, while the teacher tries to teach a lesson.

I was pretty vocal about how annoyed I get when the chat detracts from the learning, but I’m going to be using the chat feature during our next Good Company Gathering Call, and here’s why:

Simply, chat lends itself very well to enhancing the experience of the Gathering Call.

I’ve been doing these free un-structured calls now for more than a couple of years. Hard to believe it’s been that long, and we always have more people show up on the webcast than we do live on the phone for a variety of reasons.

For starters, if you’re online for the call you don’t have to pay anything for long distance charges. These calls generate a lot of comments from people listening this way and I have to read them all, and sometimes I don’t get to them until they are no longer pertinent to the immediate conversation.

So I figured if we had the live chat going, then everyone — people on the webcast — as well as the people on the phone — could add to, and follow along, with the comments in real time.

I think it will make a far more productive and fun call, and I also hope it makes it more comfortable for people who would like to come to the calls, but tend to be a bit shy. Sometimes it’s just easier to write out your thoughts than to try to express them on the phone.

I’m changing up the format this time, too. I want the Gathering Call — and many of you have said you want this, too — to be more of a networking-style experience. So everyone who wants to, will get a chance to say a few words about their business. It will be the perfect opportunity to practice your elevator speech.

Plus, I’ve invited a couple of folks to share about their business in more detail as featured speakers. I suspect that we’ll all come away with some great ideas for our own business once we here what other people are doing.

So the bottom line is this: I’m going to try the chat feature because it lends itself quite nicely to this type of interactive call where active participation makes the call a lot better. I won’t be using it for the regular classes that I teach.

Any thoughts? Use the space below to share what’s on your mind.