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Oct
30
2007
Copyrighting Your Teleconferencing Materials Maranda Gibson

You may want to consider the value and importance of copyrighting you audio, video, and PowerPoint conference materials, especially if they are available online for anyone to access.  Putting your presentation in PowerPoint rather than word makes it harder to copy and steal (adapt). You can also make your documents permission based, read-only so they cannot be edited.  Be sure to include a copyright symbol on the bottom of the page, and at the beginning and end of every recording.
If you are amenable to sharing the information, as long as you or your organization is cited as the source, you can state that policy also.

The point is you want to retain control of your content and your concepts. You may even want to register a copy of your presentation with the Library of Congress (www.loc.gov) in advance, so that if anyone tries to copy or repurpose it, that you will have protection under the Copyright Act. While every document you create IS copyrighted at its inception, filing the copyright gives you protection if you have to mount a lawsuit.

By the same token, if you are using anyone else's content in your presentation, you should call, email, or write them and ask for permission to use their content. If you are just using a sentence or two, you can simply cite it with the proper attribution or website, and you are sufficiently covered.

Be smart. Be honest. Better to be safe than sorry.

Oct
29
2007
Create the Right Impression: Video conference Job Interviews Maranda Gibson

With the more distributed and global nature of modern business, more and more companies are moving to interviewing potential employees through video conferencing. The objective of the parties on both sides of the line are the same as if it were a face-to-face meeting: to hire the right person or to be hired.

If you are being interviewed via a video conference, here are some tips to help you do your best.

  1. Be sure to arrive well ahead of time so you can be briefed on the technology, get comfortable with the controls and surroundings, and set up the room or table the way you like it. Make sure you know where you can get technical assistance immediately if something happens to the reception or equipment during your interview. Minimize what you put on the table and keep whatever you do have there neat so you don’t distract the interviewer.
  2. Make sure you have the picture-in-picture option turned on so you can see how you look to the other person. It also helps you eliminate shadows that might fall on your face because of the lighting. If you see a shadow, you can generally make it go away by shifting your face or body slightly.
  3. Sit up straight, look alert and interested, and be sure to make eye contact with the interviewer. If you don’t, sometimes the camera will focus on another bright feature in the room.
  4. At the outset, ask the interviewer if their reception of your station is good and let them know immediately if there is any problem with you receiving them on your side.
  5. You will be asked the same type of questions as you would be at any other job interview, so be prepared. And be prepared to ask questions of your own as well.

Having a successful video conference job interview is more than just mastering the technical aspects of the videoconferencing venue. It is all about what you say and how you answer their questions. Knowing what the interviewer is going to ask is a big plus, because at your leisure, you can then plan what you want to say or highlight so when that question comes up, you are prepared instead of surprised or flustered as you furiously think of what to say.

There are plenty of websites now that list the most asked questions in interviews of all types. Just type "job interview questions" into any search engine and a legion of websites devoted to them will pop up. Many also have strategies on how to answer tough questions like "What are your weaknesses?" or, for people who were fired or who left a dysfunctional job situation, "Why did you leave your previous employment?".

There are not really any interview questions out there that have not already been asked a million times, and reading through a number of these websites and thinking of how you might answer some of them in light of your experiences and expertise, really helps build your confidence and comfort. Two things that are paramount to transmit in any interview situation.

Oct
26
2007
Choosing The Right Hardware For Video and Conference Calling Maranda Gibson

The conference calling equipment of today comes with almost too many options for the average business owner to choose from. It becomes so much more than just an issue of eliminating the nasty entanglement of wires. Sophisticated options for muting, recording and call inclusion are among a few of the special premiums offered. If your video conferences are not quite up to par because periodic static or fuzziness of picture interferes with their presentation, there is hope that these and other problems can be easily resolved or eliminated. Read on for some tips on what to look for when choosing the proper hardware for your video and conference calling.


Desktop Computers and the Internet

Although it would seem almost unnecessary to say it, some offices, particularly newer ones, are not fully equipped with desktop computers. You must invest in PCs for your staff if you plan to incorporate conference calls into your business protocol. You can actually calculate your net worth based on the quality of the computer technology you can afford.

Each employee should also have total Internet access, far beyond the ability to check email or download a joke of the day. The extra expense is worth it for the vast array of information and the ease and speed of communication that it provides for web conferencing.

Avoid low quality and Mobile Phones

With mobile phones, many variables can cause issues such as changing environments, wind noise (when talking outside) and background noise. Make sure you are using a solid land-line (cannot be had with a cordless phone).

There are a few cordless alternatives, however, should you prefer to go that route. Conference call cell phones shaped like a half star-fish can operate without the wall outlet and only need battery power. This might work well in a conference room, which lacks the floor telephone jack in the middle of the room, which does sometimes occur. A wired phone still might be a better way to go because of the problems with frequencies that often occur in many office buildings.

VOIP services have their pros and cons. Their lines use the Internet to transfer audio and because of the varying levels of speed involved, these lines can waver in voice quality. With VOIP, make sure to use *6 to mute extraneous noise.  VOIP costs less, especially in regard to long distance calls, which are offered at flat rates, and incoming calls can be automatically routed to a VOIP phone regardless of where the Internet connection is located. VOIP phones can also be integrated with other Internet services and a user can easily send or receive messages or data.

About headsets

For best results, use a headset with a quality microphone. A headset allows you to have both hands free, and when you use a standard model, in which the phone is held with your hand, it can cause variations in the volume due to the unstable position of the microphone and your mouth.

About microphones

Whether built into your PC or an external plug-in, you can't do without a microphone if you wish to communicate over the Internet. Spend a little more than the minimum because the cheaper ones will not eliminate static or provide for a clear conversation. Microphones provide that which there is no substitute for during a video conference; namely, the clear enhancement of voices picked up from other participants on the conference call.

About Webcams

A webcam is simply a camera that is connected to the Internet. This broad definition makes it difficult to determine which type will best suit your particular business needs. If your conference calls will be soley of a verbal nature, you won't need a webcam. Face-to-face-interaction however, should never be underestimated, as it permits the utilization of facial expressions and professional demeanor. A webcam will allow you to turn a computer-enabled meeting into a personalized one.

One of the biggest business mistakes made with webcams is that they aren't given the "marketing attention" they deserve. Often they are simply “thrown together by an astute computer employee who doesn't realize the economic power that a webcam can generate. Highly rated webcam sites are almost always capable of 5 frames per second or more. Consider investing some time and money to make your company webcam pay off for you.

Choosing the right hardware for your next videoconference can make all the difference between creating an effective business meeting and a disappointment. Choose wisely and spend some quality time in understanding all the options available. Don't buy impulsively even if you are under pressure due to a time frame or other factors. There are so many options available that there probably are several hardware solutions that would work for your company.

Just remember that the videoconference you save may well turn out to be your own!

Oct
25
2007
Teleconferencing Technology Can Improve Health Care Maranda Gibson

Agencies that provide health care can use teleconferencing to confer with and counsel patients.

A network of mental health agencies in Ohio has used teleconferencing technology since the 1990s. They faced several hurdles in training staff and reaching patients, especially in rural areas. Teleconferencing provided a way for them to keep staff up-to-date and communicate with patients who lacked transportation.

At the Woodland Centers there were some questions about how patients would handle talking to a screen, but they found that the technology was a boon to their operations.

In addition to the challenges the agencies faced in instructing their own staff, it was also difficult to find qualified psychiatric staff. They were able to find the staff they needed by offering a teleconferencing option.

For example, a psychiatrist can have patient records sent to a computer in a home office. This file transfer can take place while the professional is teleconferencing with a patient. This way doctors can cut down on travel time to medical facilities.

Continual improvements to technology mean that medical professionals and patients who communicate through teleconferencing can see and hear each other much better than in the past.

Using teleconferencing can benefit health care providers and communities they serve.

Oct
23
2007
Teleconferencing in Community Colleges Maranda Gibson

For students at community colleges with multiple campuses, it can be a big hassle to travel from campus to campus, sometimes hours away from each other. Thanks to teleconferencing technology, students from any campus can be taught by one teacher in one "virtual classroom." This increases the availability of students to be able to take the course, as well as decreasing the need for multiple teachers a college has to hire to teach one specific course.

This amazing technology makes classroom teaching more educationally efficient, by being able to share pictures, slides, and video, virtually anywhere and to anyone. This idea is also very fuel efficient, as it cuts down on travel for both students and faculty.

Most community colleges in the United States are taking advantage of this astounding breakthrough in the world of virtual interaction. Teleconferencing can be great for almost any subject, especially the sciences, math, liberal arts, history, foreign languages, business, economics, human resources and anything else that involves a great deal of talking and visual learning. With special microphones built into each of the screens, teleconferencing can also be a practical tool for class discussions.

Teleconferencing has changed the traditional classroom into a worldwide network of educational possibilities.

Oct
23
2007
Use Teleconferencing to Plan Family Gatherings Maranda Gibson

Teleconferencing isn't just for moguls and executives: this technology can be used to plan all kinds of events.

Many families spend a lot of time and energy on the phone planning family reunions. You can cut down on numerous phone calls by using teleconferencing. Seeing everyone face-to-face can minimize the time spent organizing the festivities.

Although the reunion is a social occasion, there is nothing wrong with taking a business-minded approach as you put it together.

If there are things that family members in other parts of the country need to see videoconferencing makes it easy to share. Relatives can preview and give their opinion on the family reunion t-shirts, decorations and other items.

Teleconferencing can make planning smoother and cut down on any misunderstanding. It is much easier to understand people when you can see them. Plus, there will be no need to pass on messages when you have everyone right there.

Using teleconferencing is also a way to get some of the family together beforehand. There'll be fewer awkward greetings because a number of you will have been working together. Those of you who have already built some camaraderie can spread the cheer around once the reunion actually takes place.

Oct
18
2007
Webinar Marketing 201: Pricing and Bundling Maranda Gibson

As we indicated in the previous blog, the biggest mistake in producing webinars is under-pricing them.  In part this is because people forget that this is a completely new medium, not your old-fashioned Marriott ballroom seminar event.  Remember, webinars free people from the costs of having to travel and stay somewhere to participate in the event.  Build some of this convenience that you are providing your audience into your price.

It is a lot easier to initially set the tuition of at the high end and see what comes in than it is to try and increase prices at a later date for the same information.  Keep in mind that the important and timeliness of what you can tell participants, in addition to the convenience you are providing, can overcome almost any pocketbook issue.

An alternative way to charge for attendance is to offer a site license, as opposed to a per-seat charge.  Consider this option in your pricing as it can be great way to increase participation and get more customers.  Although companies will typically pay a higher tuition cost, more than one person from the same office can participate. You may even want to encourage this in your marketing message.  The advantage of multi viewer participation to the company is that all of their people hear the same message at the same time.  This sure beats paying for one person to go to a meeting and then come home and try to brief their colleagues.  This team webinar participation approach also provides your staff with a vehicle to discuss what they have learned and share questions and think of applications after the webinar is over.

Oct
18
2007
Fort San Cristóbal - Picture of the Week Maranda Gibson

Fort San Cristóbal

Taken on a Trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico

Oct
16
2007
Webinar Marketing 101: How Much Should You Charge? Maranda Gibson

Believe it or not, nobody wants something for nothing.  If you look at any kind of event or class, virtual or real, no matter how much interest people have in it, if you don't charge money people stay away in droves.  Seems counter intuitive, but almost any kind of event where tickets or reservations are given out free-of-charge to potential attendees typically will have high no-show rates… on the order of 35% or more.  In comparison, when people have to pay real money, even if it's a relatively modest amount, no-show rates drop to 5% or less.

Another thing that people understand is that "you get what you pay for", especially in business or any kind of competitive arena.  People commonly mistakenly think that the cheaper you make something the more people will be able to afford it and therefore want to buy it.  When you are talking about information transfer, this just does not apply.  Believe it or not, in the information arena, your price tag tells people what you consider to be the value of the information you have to offer.  Make sure that what you charge is commensurate with the importance of the information you are providing and/or with the credentials of who is presenting the information.

In terms of the latter, remember… you would not expect to pay $5 to hear management tips directly from the lips of General Colin Powell.  If you saw that advertised, you'd think it was a scam.  On the other hand, some people would pay $100's of dollars just to hear him speak even if the topic was about something they were only peripherally interested in, just to hear his perspective.  So keep the credentials of who is making the presentation in mind when you set your price.

Oct
15
2007
Air Pollution: Facts and Things You Can Do. Maranda Gibson

The amount of pollution in the atmosphere is increasing; there is no doubt about it. One way you can help reduce air pollution is to try and use less fossil fuel, limit your use of aerosols, as well as monitor your paper and energy consumption.

The air pollution caused by the use of fossil fuels like carbon, petroleum, and oil shale are impacting many of our metropolitan areas causing an increase in the incidence of asthma in children and adults alike. Many major metropolitan cities have adapted to these changes by requiring increasing amounts of ethanol in fuels as well as establishing an air quality index indicator. These air quality index indicators are broadcast on television, the radio, and featured prominently in the newspaper to encourage city residents to minimize travel, carpool, use mass transit, and even change the time when they fuel their car or mow their grass. Air quality in these metropolitan areas is impacted not only by the high amount of cars on the road but the time of year, heat index, and cloud cover.

Any significant decrease of travel in these times can be beneficial for children, asthmatics, seniors, and others who are pollution sensitive. By teleconferencing you lessen your own personal impact on your regions air pollution. You can help make a difference in the quality of the air in your own city if you make an effort to cut the amount of travel you absolutely have to make. One small step magnified by others making that same small step amounts to a significant step.

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