If you have set up a video conference to communicate with colleagues, clients, customers or students in another country, make sure you are not saying things you don't want to say.
You may be very fluent in another language or your fellow video conference participants may be very fluent in English—but, it is still possible for your message to be lost because of confusing body language. As you know, non-verbal communication trumps verbal every time. Of course people are listening to you, but they are also taking in your gestures and movements at the same time and these resonate much more than do your actual words. No need to be stiff or unnatural, just consider your movements as you speak.
It is easy to become impassioned while making your point and slip into a hand signal or gesture that is innocuous or innocent in one place, but offensive in another. It is likely that video conference participants will know that you made a gesture out of ignorance, but they will still feel its effect. They won't blame you, but you will still have left them unsettled and that is not what you want to do.
It is also possible to make a gesture that, while not offensive, could confuse those viewing the video conference because it means something different in their culture. Here are a few gestures to avoid:
- The thumbs up sign
- The OK sign (making a circle with your thumb and forefinger)
- Vigorously nodding the head
When your team is far flung across the nation or around the Globe, instant messaging applications can give you quick access. I like to have my team all use the same instant messaging application. We all can see when each other are online. The message can be as short at a sentence, but gets an instant answer.
Using instant messaging you can even multi task, assigning client follow-up to a team member while you are on the phone with the client. One rule that we've established is that anything that needs numbers or prices however, must be done by email so we all have an archive copy. The hardest thing that I have had to learn is to update my status when I am unavailable or walk away.
Team members don't even need to be out of the office to benefit from the increased productivity that instant messaging can provide. Many offices use instant messaging even though they could just yell out the door or over the top of a cubicle to get an answer. Instant messaging versus yelling your question is so much more professional and does not add to your office background noise. Think of instant messaging as your new instant information pipeline and productivity time saver.
Sometimes in the flurry to plan an event, such as a web conference, many details are left unattended. This can happen to any organization, whether it is their very first web conference or they hold such an event every week.
Take some time to think about all that is involved, make lists, and divide up tasks. Do what you have to so that you can be assured that things will run smoothly.
You have no control over attendees' schedules, but you can make sure that the timing is coordinated. If you have participants in different parts of the U.S. or different parts of the world, you need to be certain that everything is set for the right people at the right time.
It is quite possible to get into a tizzy about speakers, technology, topics and other matters, forgetting that time is of the essence.
Also, be certain to inform participants not only of the time, but also of the duration of the web conference. It is so easy to concentrate on getting the start time correct, that you omit to advise people of how long they are expected to attend. You want key people to be able to take part in the entire web conference, so give them advance notice to clear time on their schedules.
We've all received them, but are you sending them yourself? I am specifically talking about an email message signed by an executive but with a Yahoo.com, Hotmail.com or Gmail.com address in the signature.
When you have a website, you should really use the associated email addresses that contain your domain name. Not only does this market your brand - your site and you, but using your domain name in your email address is a silent salesman to drive traffic to your website for prospects, customers, and even clients. Once on your website they can learn more about your products and services. You would be absolutely amazed at how many times you will find email application notes as referrers in your website traffic logs.
Yes using some of these free email services is easy, but does not communicate the level of professionalism or the services that you may provide. If you feel that you really must use these generic email addresses, you may want to consider having your custom domain email forwarded to your catch all Yahoo.com, Hotmail.com or Gmail.com account.
When you are an entrepreneur, you have to take advantage of every edge, every avenue, and every free opportunity to promote your brand and your services. There is simply no better way to do this than to use your own domain name as your email account.
Some students in New Jersey recently got a lot more out of their show and tell session than usual because they were having show and tell with a class in another country.
A classroom in the U.S. and a classroom in Taiwan were both outfitted with video cameras and television sets so that the students could have an international exchange. It is one thing to read about another country or see pictures of objects from that country…but it a completely different experience to actually see and interact with people in that country.
Setting up a video conference can help you take the classroom experience to new levels.
If your city has a sister city in another country or if your school has formed a relationship with another school, consider using video technology to take advantage of the partnership. Seeing it on a screen really is the next best thing to going there.
Perhaps your class has already made a trip to a foreign country. In that case, use a video conference for follow-up and to cement ties between your students and their new friends they made on their trip. There may have been some things your students were curious about, but unable to see during their stay. And surely you found that your hosts abroad had many questions for you. A video conference is a great way to keep the lines of communication flowing.
Certainly if you should charge or not for your conference call as well as how much you should charge is totally up to you. There are two different philosophies when it comes to charging. Some feel that they should offer conference calls free as a way to expose prospects to their services in a non-threatening way. Impressing potential clients with their business acumen or level of expertise in their field may work for you as an approach as well. This is certainly a very workable strategy as every one loves to get something for nothing. The other philosophy is that unless you charge a prospect will not assign value to your information.
When you don't charge for your conference call, you may unwittingly communicate that their attendance is not important to you. Attendance at your calls may suffer as the call appointment may be easy to blow off if there is a conflict or the day gets busy, because, you know it is free and there will most likely be another one.
Sometimes the best in between is to charge a modest amount and refund the fee against the first order or service contract. Whatever you choose, paid or non paid, you may want to test several options, check out your competition, and ask your own clients their opinions.
How often have you gotten an email from a client where there was no signature other than their name and email address at the bottom? We all get these types of emails, but did you know that you can put your email signature to work for getting more attendees at your next teleconference?
Think of the space assigned to your email signature as free ad space. Make sure that you have not only your name, but your contact information as well as a link to your website and a link to the page that tells readers about your upcoming teleconference.
Below is just one example that you may want to consider when setting up your own signature.
Image Coaching for Experts
Visit us on the Web at www.AccuConference.com
Sign up for our free teleconference on February 15th at 1:00 PST today!
Although these hyperlinks just go to our own website in this example if you linked to an informational page and sign up form for your upcoming teleconference you provide the instant opportunity to get more attendees at your next teleconference.
Make sure that if you decide to create a fancy signature including images that some email recipients will only receive the text and the image as an attachment. When it comes to email simpler is better, but make sure to use this free real estate to promote your own services.
Don't you hate to be on speaker phone? Hear static and poor connection noise at a conference call? Put yourself in your listener's shoes and make sure that the technology that you use is helping to transfer your message with the minimum of distractions.
You may want to consider a headset for your next conference call. This allows you maximum freedom, yet keeps the microphone close to your mouth and minimizes external noise that participants may hear from your end when you use a regular telephone.
There are many great headsets that are available and comfortable to wear. Many headsets have noise cancelling features that filter external noise and keep your call crystal clear. In fact many new phones come with headset options. Plantronics makes a nice selection of moderately priced and premium priced headset/telephone combinations. It may be time for you to consider using a headset for your next conference call.
If you are web conferencing, a head set is imperative as you will want to keep your hands free for typing, accessing an application or just appearing great in the video cam not with a receiver glued to your ear.