Video Conference vs. Audio Conference

Conference call etiquette…who needs it? You do!  According to a survey conducted by Wainhouse Research, virtual meetings now outnumber in-person meetings. The study found that virtual meetings save time and money and improve productivity. It also mentioned that conference call technology is growing at a rate of 60% every year.

This is a growing technology so it is important that you understand basic conference call etiquette:

Here is a quick review

Video Conferences should be treated as in-person meetings and therefore you should dress accordingly. Avoid clothes with patterns (such as stripes or prints) because they can sometimes cause interference when the compressed video signal is distributed. You should speak clearly, look at the camera, and don’t leave the room unless you have to.

Audio conference calls have their own challenges. You should always introduce yourself when you speak so that other participants know who is talking. Avoid using a speakerphone and turn off (literally) background noise distractions.

PowerPoint is bad for your brain

Seth Godin points us to this article which says PowerPoint is bad for your brain.

To be fair, the problem is not PowerPoint itself, but how people use it.

This quote says it best:
"It is effective to speak to a diagram, because it presents information in a different form. But it is not effective to speak the same words that are written, because it is putting too much load on the mind and decreases your ability to understand what is being presented."

Video Conferencing versus Business Travel

Companies spend a lot of time, money, and energy on business travel when they could accomplish the same goals with video conferencing. There are outstanding benefits to video conferencing -- some of which you may not have discovered.

The first benefit is that you save time. With video conferencing you can eliminate the time-consuming business travel process. Avoid searching for a rental car, hotel or flight and don’t waste time flying or driving to your meeting. Instead of spending an entire weekend away from your office or home, get it over and done with quickly.

The second benefit of video conferencing – reduced cost.  Hotels, car rentals and flights can be surprisingly expensive, not to mention the other miscellaneous expenses like lunch and dinner. Video conferencing technology and equipment has become much more affordable in the last few years (whereas restaurants and traveling has become more expensive!).

Video conferencing is also better for your health. Why? Business travel can be stressful because you spend time away from family and you are forced to operate outside of your regular routine. This is also why video conferencing also make you more productive because you can work out of your own office, at your own computer, on your own time. Working out of your own office gives you access to important information the moment you need it.

Do you still need more reasons to start video conferencing? How about the fact that you can video tape and record your meeting for future reference? Or how you can enhance your meeting experience by using polling and file sharing features? Or the great impression you’ll make with your associates because you are utilizing cutting edge technology?

The next time you’re sitting in an airport for a three hour layover, or you’re in a hotel paying 25 dollars for internet access --- give us a call or visit our website for more information.

Web Cameras - Smaller and Sophisticated

Seeing people on screen while talking with them by phone has its advantages, but consumers have been slow to take to the video technology and its often grainy images. But there are now better cameras and video services that can change all of that.  There are also portable solutions which are very helpful, as discussed in this New York Times article.

So if you’re in the market for a new web cam, check out these web cam reviews at CNET.com.

PowerPoint Tips for the “Presentationally-impaired”

Bad presenters are like toned-def singers… they don’t know how bad they reallyare. So just in case, here are some tips that will catapult you to becoming the next presentation guru (…or at least point you in the right direction)!

The 10 / 20 / 30 Rule – This stands for ten slides, twenty minutes, and thirty-point font. This is a formula you can implement as you develop and revise your next power point. Remember that the average person can only comprehend about ten different concepts in one sitting. Keep your presentation under twenty minutes to ensure that you leave enough time for Q & A and that you don’t bore listeners with too much information. Lastly, using 30 point font will force you to use fewer words and make your slides easier to understand. This tip comes from Guy Kawasaki (http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2005/12/the_102030_rule.html), who’s blog points us to this PowerPoint competition.

Six Words Per Slide – So why use fewer words? Seth Godin, best selling author and marketing consultant, suggests no more than six words on a slide, EVER (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2007/01/really_bad_powe.html ). He says that PowerPoint is meant to compliment you as the speaker and not become a replacement. Instead, he suggests using captivating images and catchy headers that will blend well with what you are saying. The fewer the words and the better the image, the more memorable it will be.

Cue-Cards & Handouts – If you limit the amount of words for each slide, then you should make yourself cue-cards to remember the details. You should also create a hand-out with important information on it for your listeners. We advise however that you don’t provide a hand-out until after the presentation or else people might leave early or become distracted by your notes. 

Web Conference Light

web conferencing is a new product specifically designed to enhance the conferencing experience for AccuConference audio accountholders by allowing you to share PowerPoint presentations over the web. It has been demonstrated that including a PowerPoint presentation with your audio conference significantly increases the attention span of your participants.

Web Conferencing light is included in all audio conferencing accounts at no extra charge. It’s time to take advantage of this service and add an exciting new element to your conferences!

AccuConference | Five Things Every College Freshman Should Know

Five Things Every College Freshman Should Know

My cousin is going to college in the fall. Even better – she’s going to college where I graduated. Since she was six years old, I have always felt a kindred spirit to her. (Has it really been 11 years? I guess it has been.) She liked school, like I did, and dreamed of going to college, like I had, from a very young age. Like all kids, she has big dreams – she wants to do something amazing, be something great, and learn something new every single day.

When she announced she was going to my alma mater, I felt my chest swell up in pride. I remembered taking her to the campus and walking her around, showing her the different buildings telling her funny college stories. I remembered showing her my “hang out spot” on the quad and telling her that the professors were really amazing. Her eyes were bright, alive, and I could tell she was already picturing herself standing on the very campus that I called home. Now that’s she’ll be attending Henderson State University, it’s made me think of what I would tell high school graduates about their first year of college. What advice, thoughts, and warnings would I impart on those about to take that first step into adulthood?

  1. Learn a million things. Take advantage of your elective courses – they are there to encourage you to broaden your horizons and be introduced to things that you didn’t already know. It was through my elective courses that I discovered debate and found something I was truly passionate about.
  2. Make lots of friends. As a commuter for three out of my four years of college, I feel like this is the one thing I missed out on, but once I moved into the dorm, I was able to get some friends that have lasted a very long time.
  3. It’s not high school, most of the time. College courses are one of those places where you’re encouraged to raise your hand and get involved in the discussion. There’s no stigma of being a “nerd” or a “suck up” in college. It can lead to having a great mentor.
  4. Speaking of mentors. You will find professors who are willing to guide you and direct you along a path. There will be professors who will make the difference in your life, even if just for a split second, and will give you advice you will carry through your entire career. I can still remember mine – Dr. Daniel Kendie, the first professor to tell me I had great potential to do something amazing; Dr. Angela Boswell, my academic advisor who helped me see that just because I loved history didn’t mean I was meant to work in the subject; and Dr. Robert Steinmiller, affectionately known to his debate kids as “Dr. Bob”, who taught me everything I needed to know about public speaking and how I could be a mentor myself.
  5. Get involved in stuff.Don’t hesitate to get yourself into political or social groups on campus. Especially when being a commuter, it’s hard to get involved, because you’re often not on campus property when your school is hosting things. Check with your student services department to see if they offer special programs for commuters.

What would you tell those in your life heading off to college this year? If you could look at yourself, as a college freshman, and speak with all the wisdom and knowledge you have now, what would you tell yourself? Are you taking these tips and applying them to your business outlook?

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