Here is our contest for today. Name the year, make and model of the car in the picture below. Be the first person to send me an @ reply @accuconference to win 500 free conferencing minutes. I'll announce the winner via Twitter and will send you a DM to get your information.
After the contest is over, I'll show you Amber's fantastic rendition of the car.
Good luck everyone!
Update: We still don't have a winner yet, but here is Amber's drawing below.
When I was in college I was introduced to the concept of “early is on time and on time is late”. An organization published this on all of their flyers and they would lock the door the second the meeting started. They didn’t mess around about being tardy.
I’ve been thinking a lot about time and how it never seems like I have enough. It would be easy to blame the world for my poor management skills. In the end, I realize I must be better at managing time.
There is absolutely no way that you are going to be able to anticipate every single thing that is going to slow you down. We don’t have a crystal ball (wouldn’t that be awesome) to see the future. What we can do is be ready for it.
Are you running late for a meeting because of traffic? Make a quick phone call to let someone know you’re stuck in traffic and will be a few minutes late. Apologize, even though there was nothing you can do about the traffic jam, but because now you’re the thing the other person couldn’t anticipate. If you think it will be a while, go ahead and offer to reschedule.
On the phone with a client and need to join a conference call? Send a quick email to the person who invited you and if you’re the host, be sure you let someone know that you’ll be on the conference in just a moment.
Are you hosting a conference? People will be late. It’s human nature, and in my experience it’s usually no more than about five minutes, unless they have their times completely off. Give a little bit of wiggle room unless you stated specifically that the conference is going to be locked out at a certain time.
What do you think? If you’re late is that just too bad? Do you have contingency plans for important events? Are you perpetually late?
Does it even matter or is time irrelevant?
We all love to multitask. We do it in the office, at home, and even when we shouldn’t (like checking emails in the car). While multitasking can be such an important part of success and getting things done, there are some situations where it’s completely okay to ask for help. One of those perfectly acceptable times is when you’re hosting a conference.
It may seem unnecessary to have a helper on a conference, since you will be the one who is speaking on the conference, and feel like you should be the one who is checking out the details. This isn’t entirely true. While you may feel more comfortable controlling everything yourself, putting someone else in charge is going to free your mind while presenting. Speaking in front of a large group of people is stressful enough, without all the other things to worry about.
Who has a question? What’s that noise? How does my line sound? Am I on the right slide?
Sit back, take a load off yourself, and give someone else the moderator controls. Let someone step in and worry about whose line needs to be muted, take attendance, all that stuff that you are usually trying to do while the conference is going on. Don’t be distracted from the task at hand. Focus on what you have to say, and let someone else drive the conference with all the mundane details.
Do you get someone to help you with your web conferencing or do you like handling all of that yourself?
I had the wonderful pleasure last Thursday of getting to see @eddieizzard live at the American Airlines Center. Let me just say that if you like history, can handle a bit of naughty language, and don’t mind comedy that makes you think, Eddie is someone you should check out.
While it was a great show, what intrigued me most was what happened before the show began. You know how it goes, you get to a concert early, you always find your seat, and then you get something to eat or just hang out until the show starts. It’s exciting on one hand, but on the other hand, waiting for the show to begin is the thing that drags on and on, with nothing to entertain you. Eddie changed this up a little. He live streamed his Twitter feed on two big screens. Anything with @eddieizzard showed up on the screens.
The plus side? It was something to watch and it helped to pass the 30-45 minutes before the show started. It was also exciting to see that there were so many people around the world who were watching Eddie’s twitter feed. The buzz grew inside the arena. Posts from those who could be sitting across the arena to the person who could be at the end of the row expressed excitement and anticipation. One guy even proposed to his girlfriend.
The downside? Well, some people just want to be seen or, in this case, read. So there were a lot of really pointless tweets that made it into the stream, some didn’t make sense, some were just plain offensive, so you had to weed out the bad and pay attention to the good.
How can this help you? Share a web browser on your next conference and set up a Twitter page. Get someone to man the page and refresh the replies page. Are you using a hashtag? Search for the #text on Twitter web and watch the tags roll in. People always join conferences early; why not give them something to check out while they wait for everything to begin? Not only are you providing some entertainment, you’re also getting everyone’s mind focused on what you have about to come. Tweet some teasers, you know, if you’re about to unveil something amazing. Let the buzz gather and follow the topics of conversation. Address questions before your participants even have to answer them.
How can you use a live Twitter feed during your conference to make it better? What scares you about opening that door?
Since Amber will be creating something amazing on the white board each week, I thought it would be fun to play a little game. Every week, I'll post a picture hint for this week. The first person to send a reply to @accuconference telling me what the drawing is will win 500 free conferencing minutes with us. The contest will begin right now and the winner will be the first @ reply I get in my inbox. Good luck everyone!
Update: @klmonline is our bg winner this week. If you didn't win, no problem, we'll play again next week. I'm going to have to make it harder on you though. Here's the full picture below featuring Beaker and Elmo from Sesame Street. Happy Friday everyone!
Beaker and Elmo are the property of Sesame Street
I am very excited. One of my friends from high school is getting married this summer. She’s also family, her sister has been married to my brother for about 10 years, and I would love to go spend some time with her and wish her all the best.
She lives in Scotland. The wedding will be held there and sadly, I’m just not in a position where I can afford to hop a plane, fly to Scotland, and stay in a hotel for a few days. Not only is that an expensive trip, but the medical risks of a long flight make attending impossible for me. I’m sure I’ll get a ton of pictures and hopefully my sister in law will come back with a recording, but it would mean a lot to me to get to see her marry her sweetheart.
Then I had a thought. I used video conferencing with my dad to “hang out” last week. Why not do that for a wedding you’re having in rural Nebraska or in Times Square? I remember from planning my wedding that we had a very limited budget and that sadly, some people just had to be cut from the guest list. I would have liked them to attend, but it just wasn’t in the cards. Had I known then what I know now, I would have had a video conference.
When weddings are planned, RSVPs are requested so that we know who’s attending. You can do the same thing with the video conference of your wedding. Many couples are setting up “wedding pages” where they the host information about the upcoming nuptials. Plan a video conference for your wedding, set up a registration page, and host the link on your wedding website. If you set up your registration page to request mailing addresses, you can go back in once the event is over, see who attended, and mail them a thank you card.
My only question now is why didn’t I think of this two years ago?
One of the things I love about customer service is that there is always a new way of getting a hold of someone. When online ordering became the big thing, I was very excited. Is there anything better than not having to pick up the phone and order a pizza? I hate calling restaurants. I hate speaking to airline customer service – nothing against them; I’m just a very flustered customer. It’s easier for me to do things online and I’m more comfortable with that. The more I order services and food online, the more I have different experiences.
Last Thursday, the office ordered lunch from a very popular sandwich joint here in the area. We eat early when we order as an office, so I went online, put in everyone’s order and selected a delivery time between 11 and 11:30. It was about 10:20 AM, so I figured that was at least an hour, it had to be plenty of time. I was wrong. Not too long after that I got a call from them, letting me know that it would actually be closer to 12:30. Two hours later. She said they were behind in deliveries. My question? Why could I place an online order for that time period? Should that be changed when that delivery time is no longer available? I think so.
This morning, I was ordering an airline ticket and this little message popped up asking me if I wanted to talk to a live person. No. No I don’t, I’m handling my purchase online. If I wanted to talk to someone I would have. If I need help, I promise I’ll call you. I think I’m more bugged by this because it implies that if you spend a certain amount of time on the site, you must be stuck. For me, I was trying to do a million things at once and I had something else to handle before I could finish my purchase. I don’t need you to tell me I need help; I’ll tell you when I need your assistance.
On a side note, my plane ticket purchase was made successfully, without the need for the airline rep to call me.
What about online ordering has made your life easier? Have you had an experience like above or do you simply skip ordering online a go to the real person?
With all the sad images and stories that are coming out Haiti right now, it’s hard to find something that might make you smile through the face of tragedy. We have been bombarded with images of death, hunger, pain, sadness, and fear. How can you help but to lose hope when you see something like that?
Check out this heartwarming video about a Portland, Oregon, family who was waiting on word about the three boys they in the process of adopting. In the middle of telling their story to ABC, they were interrupted with a video conference that showed that their children to be alive and safe. The joy and relief on their faces is a tiny glimmer of hope surrounded by news that seems to get worse every day. Their joy, which became my joy when I saw it, was all thanks to a tiny little thing called a web camera.
Just moments ago, a plane landed in Pittsburg full of Haitian orphans who were waiting to go home to their US families. The United States has helped to cut some of the red tape that sometimes moves the adoption process slowly so that these children can be placed with their new families sooner.
According to adoption.com, 301 children were adopted from Haiti by families in the United States in 2008, with many more waiting to be adopted. In the shadow of the earthquake’s devastation, it’s brought the concerns of adoptive parents, waiting to hear about their children, to the front of the news. Besides this story, there are many floating the internet about the power of the video conference to give many adoptive parents some relief and happiness to see their children are well.
With the devastation in Haiti so vast, these stories are sometimes overlooked as we try to fully grasp the severity of the situation. If you’ve heard an uplifting story about the people of Haiti, I want to hear it. Share it below and let’s find a place to go when it all just seems too sad.
PS - If you want to help, you can donate online to the Red Cross or add a ten dollar donation to your cell phone bill by texting “Haiti” to 90999 or view a verified list of organizations.
I did something really silly this weekend. I’ve decided I don’t get outside enough so now, I walk over to the mailbox every day, rather than stop on my way in from work or the grocery store. Good plan right?
I had an enjoyable time on my walk yesterday until I go home and realized there was no key to my apartment. It must have fallen out on the way and now I was locked out. I could always try to wake my husband up to get back inside, and that’s a big if, he sleeps like a rock that was hit with a bigger rock. Even if I did get back inside, it didn’t stop the fact that my key would be out in the grass somewhere. When horrible images flooded my mind, I decided I had to find it. (Rachel, I’m really sorry I teased you when you lost your apartment key and was spazzing.) Retracting my steps, I had no luck. I was sure I looked like a prowler as I walked the grass for more than an hour. I was tired. I was cold. I was stuck. I called my Mama, because, well, that’s what I do.
Her suggestion? “Maranda, go sit down by the pool, relax for a second, let the sun go down, and you’ll see it when the flood lights turn on.” We chatted for a few and when the sky went pink, I started looking again. Within ten seconds, I was in possession of my key and three very important lessons.
1.) Mama’s are smart. No matter what, you always listen.
2.) I need to purchase some sort of giant key ring that beeps or says my name.
3.) Sometimes, closing your eyes is the way out of the dark.
I spent what felt like forever out in the day light trying to find the key and I had looked right where it was probably thirty times. It wasn’t until it went a little dark that I could see clearly. My frustration was blinding me, I couldn’t see anything but my need to find my key and go home.
No matter what you’re looking for or what has you stuck, be it putting together a presentation or if you have writers block, sometimes the best thing to do it step back, let it get dark, and gain a new perspective. What do you think?
I have to show you what our resident artist Amber did on our white board. It's been a little chilly here lately she decided to put Jack Frost in the office so he can mock us. Yes, 50 degrees with a wind is chilly. It's Texas. Our faces melt off in the summer, we're a warm blooded people.
Pretty cool huh? No one knew she could do this until she started just doodling around on a notepad. Just goes to show that everyone has something they are really good at, but no one knows. It could be something that you don’t even realize is a talent until someone else points it out to you.
Do you have a secret talent? What is it?