As we head into the heart of Decision 2012, the corporate world is getting a free education on how to conduct powerful Web-based company meetings and events. Because whether you like politicians or not—and most of us don't—you have to hand one thing to them: They really know how to connect with others and drive two-way conversations anywhere a group of people gather.

How they do it is how you can do it, too. Politicians on both sides of the aisle know how to approach their audiences and win over hearts and minds.

Use their proven techniques to engage and persuade your audience. Here, we'll focus on employees at a company town hall event, but these approaches would work well with members of a nonprofit, for example, or a group of customer evangelists or fans, and other relatively informal gatherings.

Speak to individuals rather than crowds

One thing politicians tend to do better than anyone else is give each person in the room or on the webcast the feeling that they have our best interests at heart. How? They don't speak to us as a group; rather, whenever possible, they speak to us as individuals.

Or at least it appears that way. Often they will offer a particular person's story that relates to a point they want to make, or they'll go down into the audience and ask someone how she feels about a topic.

Use the interactive features of webcasts, such as chat questions or even live audio discussions, to make each presentation feel personal. Prepare a story about someone in the company (if it's a meeting of employees) who's done something good and tell it—then ask that person a question.

The more you can be a real person to your audience, the more they will get on board with what you're saying.

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Eric Vidal is the director of product marketing for the event services business segment at InterCall, a conferencing and collaboration services provider. Reach him via

LinkedIn: Eric Vidal