In the blogging world, we talk a lot about engaging our audience (Twitter, fan pages, comment threads) and how that’s going to make for a more rewarding experience for both you and the reader. How can you take the ideas of reaching out to an audience with written words, and make them feel the same closeness with spoken word?
Many times when you’re dealing with a conference call, you’re going to be speaking to people who may not necessarily want to be there, but have to be there. How do you engage an audience that isn’t really keen to listening to you right now?
Games. Conferences that involve training are easy. Anything can be more fun if competition is thrown into the mix so set up a contest for your teams and include it as part of the invitation. It can be a simple game, but it’s best to make it tie into your conference topic somehow. There’s always a way to start a game and have some fun, even if it is business. For example, if your conference is a safety meeting, find or take a picture that has a lot of unsafe situations, and have your different participants figure out the things in the picture that are unsafe. The person who gets the most, gets to leave an hour early on a Friday.
Ask Questions. If you’re having a recurring conference, you should always leave your participants with something to think about between the last conference and the one now. It can be any kind of question that will help to lead you into the next conference. Any time you can make people think at the very end, you’ll keep them wanting more.
Be passionate. You’re a part of the company you are with for a reason. No matter what the conference topic is about, you should believe in it with your full heart, no hesitation or second guessing allowed. When you speak, speak emphatically. Explain to your participants why this is an important topic and how it affects them. If you want your team to get behind what you’re talking about, you will first have to prove to them that you are.
Humor, passion, and questions are used on many blogs to keep the audience excited about the topic at hand.
How do you keep your audience engaged on a conference?
So this is my desk.
Yes it’s a different desk than around Christmas time. I had enough of that tiny little corner and I like being out in the office. The drawback of my new desk is that it’s a glass top, so every time I turn around there is another smear smudge. For most people, this is no big deal; but for me it might as well be a punch in the face.
Today I decided to do a test. I spilled something on my desk that smeared when I wiped it up. I am now going on thirty minutes of this big nasty smudge staring at me. If I’m completely honest with myself I will admit that it is driving me a bit insane. I was going to clean it up right away, but as a self proclaimed clean freak, I decided to test myself.
How long can I allow this smudge to sit here, unanswered? I am completely out of my comfort zone and I keep staring at it like it has eyes and we could have a stare off contest. The point of this is that I’m breaking my boundaries, getting out of my comfort zone and learning how much I really can take.
Maybe I don’t need the desk as clean as I thought. So far, it’s going on two hours and I haven’t had an anxiety attack yet. If I hadn’t pushed myself, I never would have known.
Will you push yourself today?
Happy Friday to you all. Amber took a little spin on the board today with her rendition of the flaming tomato.
There are a ton of things to consider when planning a conference. Believe it or not, one of the considerations that can give you the biggest headache is “What time?”. Here are three things to take into consideration when setting your conference time.
Be advised. Always alert participants that the time zones listed on the meeting invitation may not reflect their time zone. Be sure to note on the invitation what time zone you’re listing things in. For example, our company is in central time, so anytime you hear us refer to times, it would be CST. We note all the major US time zones on invitations and agreements, so hopefully; we can help keep things clear.
Special Considerations. When the US goes on Daylight Savings Time, everyone skips ahead an hour – except for the state of Arizona. As confusing as it can be for you, I’ve actually found it is pretty confusing for them too. When DST is in effect, it’s a good idea to note your invitation that the times reflect daylight savings.
International Participants. When setting up your meetings, remember when dealing with international participants they can sometimes be up to a day ahead of you currently time wise.
Knowing who is invited to your conference and where they are located makes the planning process smoother as well as helping things move along well. Being well prepared will help relieve your stress and make things go a little smoother so that you can focus on the reason why everyone is together.
Besides time zones, what are some other things to consider when planning a conference?
It’s been an active winter across the US, we even had a white Christmas here in DFW, something that hasn’t happened in about 20 years. Last week, the Northeast was struck with what has been dubbed “Snowmageddon” and they are slated to get another round of heavy snow this week. Snow has a nasty habit of crippling travel, business, and even education as airline travel stalls and classes get cancelled. Today, widespread air travel delays and cancellations are already striking airports from Washington DC to Philadelphia, which will only serve to ripple across the US.
Weeks like this make it important to have some sort of backup plan in place and a conference call is the perfect fit for trying to keep your business moving, even when cars and jets cannot. Instead of having to cancel a meeting that many people probably cleared their schedule for, you can apologize for inclement weather and send them conferencing information instead.
As an educator, you can still invite your students to their lectures and classes, so as not to fall behind, via conferencing. Since a lot of professors include PowerPoint presentations in their lectures, you can include a link to share that over the web. This way classes still continue as planned, as well as business.
Mother Nature loves to play tricks on us all, the question is, are you prepared for her to bring it on?
Television, sometimes affectionately known as the “idiot box”, for the most part shows us nothing about the world. Reality television has given us glances into human interaction that promote backstabbing, immunity challenges, and fist pumping. Programs that show us the deeper sides of human emotions can be passed over for programs that are full of drama. (Two exceptions come to mind: “The Biggest Loser” and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”). TV is an escape and we don’t want to be “taught” anything from the things we do to distract ourselves from the stress of the day.
After the SuperBowl last night, CBS aired a show called “Undercover Boss”. The basic premise is a CEO of a major company immerses themselves in the day to day work of the average person in their company. Last night, we saw a CEO picking trash off a conveyer belt, collecting errant paper from a hillside, and steam cleaning port-a-potties. What things can we learn from this as business owners or management? I have some thoughts.
1.) Understanding your workforce will help you understand customers’ needs. Stream-lining processes, identifying understaffing issues, or changing the way things are done improves your productivity and directly affects your customers’ happiness. Making it easier on the front line employee will help them make it easier for the customers.
2.) You can’t see the face of your company staring at numbers. Sure, numbers are the bottom line, and in the end, as the CEO it’s your responsibility to keep the company profitable. Remember that every “number” on the page is actually the face of someone who works tirelessly for you.
Did you watch “Undercover Boss”? Did you like it? I really enjoyed myself with it and I feel like it was trying to be socially relevant in a time when people feel like their head offices or CEO’s are a million miles away and have no real idea what goes on in their company.
How are you going to connect to your workforce today?