APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2005-11 > 1131227775
From: Sharon Sergeant <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Speakers hosting their own seminars
Date: Sat, 05 Nov 2005 16:56:15 -0500
References: <436CF694.9000901@AncestralManor.com> <email@example.com>
I neglected to mention that I also ran a bricknmortar store with meeting
facilities where I also held workshops, and sponsored museum or
historical event sessions, and participated as a vendor in conferences
and events that were not specifically genealogical or historical for 4
years. My store and meeting space was often perceived as a library or
archive environment, so I actually was also often viewed in a similar
fashion as a librarian - one of those resources you take for granted and
yet rely on :)
The particulars of the market segments and topic/interest levels are
dependent on many factors that are not always obvious, until after the
fact of any foray into that arena.
But I would say that the world of librarians is an especially active
market growth segment for both the micro and macro levels of interest. I
have anecdotal information that librarians are contacting professional
researchers for training, and your upcoming Canadian librarian telecon,
simply adds to those observations.
First, many libraries now subscribe to genealogical services and have
users who want to know the utility and usage features or limitations of
such subcriptions - plus the library patrons are used to looking to
their librarians for bibliographic and research guidance.
Next, despite the utility an expert genealogy researcher user may find
in these subscriptions (and the commercial promises made to the general
public about the instant answers they provide ;), the primary features
are preliminary information and clues - important but not conclusive
pathways to research material. Libraries can become more of a segway
into educational programs and visa versa.
You also often have librarians who do not have the bandwidth to develop
expertise in genealogical resources and must contend with many other
issues in their patron and administrative community. In another
anecdotal foray last winter, I talked with some folks at the American
Library Association Winter meet in Boston. Some librarians, like
yourself, are active in the genealogical community. Others have litanies
of the stereotypical demands that a genealogist might create, and view
genealogists as a whole as such stereotypes. However, I believe that if
you don't understand the patron needs, it's easy to misunderstand the
question, and the relevant resources to offer.
But there are many genealogy minded librarians who have participated in
grant writing in conjunction with other organizations to create more
opportunities for resources in their library or regional libraries. At
least here in the US, many grants are intended to seed collaborations
that will outlive the initial grant life, providing synergy that
oversteps the traditional boundaries segregating genealogy, history,
archaeology and other disciplines.
So overall, I think that librarians with genealogical expertise can
leverage that expertise into the more formal structures and
associations, that will seed other opportunities for going directly to
The logistics of my telecon registrations, and payment when required,
for the programs I administer are not technically difficult, but I
continue to experiment with various implementations based on perception
While I use mailing lists as part of the promotions, I cannot rely on
them. Even within my own customer base, there is a constantly changing
problem with how spammers get through and others get treated as spammers.
In any case, I believe that librarians with genealogical expertise are
on the critical path to creating better research resources and
methodologies, so perhaps there are more librarians who can offer
insights and experiences in this discussion.
Kenneth G. Aitken wrote:
> Sharon's approach is most interesting. I am doing my first telecon lecture
> later this month for the Eduction Institute, (a consortium of Canadian
> library associations) on a topic on genealogy librarianship. Telecon sound
> like an interesting option. The Education Institute is paying me a very
> attractive lecture fee ( about US$175) for 50 minutes of talk, and 10
> minutes of Q&A.
> The challenge I see for you Sharon is setting up a registration system for
> payment of the registration fee, and giving the learners the access numbers.
> But it seems a clever use of low cost long distance telephone calls. For
> the speaker, a good headset would be essential-- the arms get tired holding
> the phone to the ear.
> The next challenge is creating a mailing list to create interest in the
> program and recruit participants
> I'd be interested in learning more about this venture, Sharon.
> Kenneth G. Aitken,
> Family History Education Services,
> 2426 Dewdney Avenue East
> Regina, Saskatchewan, S4N 4V5 Canada
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Sharon Sergeant" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Saturday, November 05, 2005 12:14 PM
> Subject: [APG] re:Speakers hosting their own seminars
>>I have been particularly interested in addressing the "holes" in
>>genealogical research and education for a number of years.
>>I started with an informal meeting of internet researchers for a
>>particular Nova Scotia county in 1998. While we were all communicating
>>by email, many of us actually lived within 50 miles of each other.
>>Then in 1999, I did a formal "fair" with three presenters and more than
>>a dozen topic/resource tables for the migration issues involved in
>>eastern Canadian, New York and New England patterns.
>>In 2000, I began organizing the Massachusetts Genealogical Council (MGC)
>>annual seminars and working in various capacities on aspects of national
>>I am no stranger to logistics and costs of meeting planning. Volunteer
>>based organizations have obvious disadvantages in dealing with all the
>>logistics of a particular physical site event. Costs, logistics and
>>audience needs are constantly changing.
>>This year, I began using telephone teleconferences for private projects,
>>then public seminars.
>>I work with individuals and organizations. For example, The Irish
>>Ancestral Research Association (TIARA) has begun using them for outreach
>>to potential members and those members who cannot get to the monthly
>>meetings. The Northeast region NARA will begin using teleconference
>>seminars after the first of the year, for outreach also. The first
>>public sessions I did last spring were to give more information to the
>>potential NGS Nashville Conference attendees.
>>Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I will be running a "geneathon" of
>>individual speakers and topics. Some presenters have done this before,
>>and have confirmed. I am still in discussion with others to figure out
>>what makes sense for them and what audience to address.
>>So if you or others on this list would like to participate, either as
>>presenters or participants, please contact me.
>>Here are the basic logistics. Callers dial a number and enter a code to
>>become part of the telephone conference. Presenters have a different
>>code than participants, so that listeners can be muted during
>>presentation segments. Most sessions last about an hour and a half, but
>>some have run over to about 2 hours. For example, a TIARA telecon about
>>a research trip to Ireland next spring became focussed on whether the
>>callers were ready to go to Ireland, so we spent the last half hour
>>concentrating on specific questions about whether the callers had done
>>enough homework to substantially benefit from the Ireland trip.
>>The format of these seminars is similar to doing an in person talk, in
>>that handouts/overhead discussion points can be distributed to the folks
>>who have registered before the presentation or be web based. But the
>>structure is a little different. We break up the presentation into short
>>segments and open up the lines for Q&A after each segment.
>>The benefits of this structure is that the presenter gets cues from the
>> listeners about how to focus the next segment, plus the listeners get
>>to ask those burning questions before they forget them.
>>The overall benefits for presenter and listener is the convenience. No
>>travel, plus there is a choice of topic depth or breadth and personal
>>interactions. Many find the audio learning experience an important way
>>to augment texts.
>>The costs are various. Callers must pay their own phone charges, but
>>with unlimited calling or low priced long distance calling plans , this
>>is minimal. Toll free sessions would require a registration fee to cover
>>that service, typically $6-10 per hour per caller.
>>Internet phone services (known as Voice over IP) is one method of
>>reducing costs, especially for international callers and presentations.
>>Presenters may charge a fee for the teleconference, or may charge a fee
>>for the handouts/overheads product and/or a recording of the session, or
>>may simply offer the teleconference as an introduction to themselves and
>>their publications and services.
>>Because this is a new model to many folks, I am promoting the free
>>teleconferences, with the sale of publications and recordings as the
>>revenue stream for presenters.
>>This model is not meant to supplant physical meetings and seminars for
>>organizational users, but to provide a segway into the benefits of
>>interactions and communication in person. In the spring the MGC will
>>provide informational and planning sessions for the 2006 FGS Boston
>>conference as breakout sessions, along with our main seminar program
>>about methodologies and resources. I will provide telecons to promote
>>both the spring MGC annual meeting and seminar, as well as the summer
>>Today researchers are inundated with information, and are quite hungry
>>for guidance about how to use it or what the value is to them.
>>Another initiative, I am working with is the critical evaluation of the
>>out of print genealogies that I sell as digital downloads. Melinde
>>Sanborn and Christine Sweet-Hart have provided examples of two
>>genealogies that have an overall rating of 2 out of 5, but point out
>>what sections are strong versus those that are not.
>>I am running a public family history review contest to encourage the
>>general public to produce similar critiques, or at least think about the
>>issues when they use these resources. APG members who are interested in
>>participating are encouraged to contact me. See ancestralmanor.com for
>>I think your point about workshop formats is another very important hole
>>to be filled. That is one of the ways that TIARA will use the telecons
>>Think about different market sectors for topics that a particular
>>audience sector might embrace. Librarians, teachers and medical
>>practitioners are professionals who are interested in different
>>dimensions than the general public. NARA's outreach already targets
>>groups in this way.
>>I think there is a tremendous opportunity for filling the gaps and
>>providing pathways to resources today, so my suggestion is to experiment
>>and see what works.
>>I have been reading Len Wood's book,
>>_Profitable Seminars 195 Tips on Designing, Marketing and Delivering the
>>(Rancho Palo Vedes, CA: Training Shoppe, 2002)
>>and finding it most interesting.
>>I am aware that some of our members do this, but am curious about just
>>many do this.
>>When I look at how little I really make from speaking at conferences and
>>workshops across the continent, I figure there's got to be a better way to
>>do things than depending on $150 per lecture and less speakers fee/s. It
>>particularly irks me when I see how badly volunteers can screw up things
>>like publicity, or conference location, making mistakes that others should
>>have taught them to avoid if there had been real consequences to failure.
>>Don't get me wrong, volunteers do a wonderful job, but speaking in the
>>room, around the same four pillars, on three occasions because no-one
>>remembered what was wrong with the room from one event to another,
>>illustrates the point.
>>So why not take charge of my own roadshow: design the program, do the
>>research, do the marketing, deliver the program, do it right and take the
>>profit? I examined my lectures and found several that could be easily
>>expanded into 2.5 and 3 hour workshops, and several if strung together
>>learning activities, case study problems or whatever, would make 6 hour
>>workshops. But what would I charge to make it work?
>>How many people pay $79 (or $129 or whatever) for a day of intensive
>>training on a genealogical subject? How many people would take to make it
>>work? I was thinking of teaching smaller groups 16 to 25?
>>Has anyone given any thought to this? Or tried it out? I would be
>>in your thoughts
>>oh, and by the way, take a look at this book. My library borrowed it for
>>from a library in Illinois! Its been worth every page of reading. Great
>>Kenneth G. Aitken
>>Family History Education Services
>>==== APG Mailing List ====
>>The Association of Professional Genealogists