Seth Godin talks about the The new standard for meetings and conferences. Energy prices are rising and the cost of travel is climbing higher with wait times, canceled flights and more.
Now that the technology has arrived to replace almost every aspect of the face-to-face meeting, isn't it time to rethink "Do I really have to travel?"
As Seth says, "I flew all the way here for this?"
Another place for savings (time, energy and money) is working from home. One of our previous posts mentions the enormous savings that could be realized if employees worked from home one day a week.
As a collaboration company, all we can say to Seth is, "Amen!"
Lecture mode has to be one of the best and most influential features modern conference calls have. How else can you easily manage a call with fifty, one hundred, a thousand, or more people breathing and coughing and opening bags of potato chips?
With lecture mode on, your participants - no matter how many - can rest at ease to concentrate on your message without worrying if they are contributing to the background noise of the call. You, the host, can rest easy too, as no one can accidentally un-mute themselves, or worse, never mute to begin with.
As a participant, there is one thing you are responsible for: be ready when it's your turn. In lecture mode, you can signal the moderator that you have a question by pressing star 1 on your telephone keypad and you get put into a queue. Occasionally it will take a while to get to you, but you should make sure to be ready. Once you signal, you could be un-muted at any time, so stay on your toes!
When cashflow is low, small businesses need to find ways to continue their marketing/sales efforts on a limited budget. This post at a SBA Loan Blog outlines two ways to continue marketing on a shoe-string budget.
A conference call is very much like a regular meeting in many ways, but it also differs tremendously. Here are a few do's and don'ts to help you be a better teleconference participant.
Do's for participants:
- Arrive early online or on the phone
- Clearly state your name when you log in or arrive
- Mute your phone to prevent background noise from disturbing others
- Stay focused, don't drift off mentally by doing your email while attending a teleconference you may miss something important
- Participate and ask questions when appropriate
Don'ts for participants:
- Don't put your phone on hold if you step away everyone may hear your hold music
- Don't eat while you are listening in, the smacking and chewing is considered rude behavior
- Don't talk to others while you are on a teleconference - unless you are sure your phone is muted
- Don't multi-task while you are on the call turn off your cell phone and PDA
- Don't interrupt the speaker, wait until the question and answer period unless your teleconference has a more give and take format. Remember to unmute your phone to ask your question
The state of Missouri is in the process of reviewing legislation to regulate the telehealth industry.
"Senator Tom Dempsey of St. Peters wants the state health department to establish guidelines for use of telehealth and for the doctors who will use it. Dempsey says the system is especially useful in rural areas where specialists might be a long distance from the patient."
Right now some health care insurance providers will not pay for telehealth consultations for diagnosis or treatment and Missouri Senator Top Dempsey wants to change that by introducing legislation that will allow for the regulation of telehealth in an effort to provide low cost health care alternatives to rural residents.
With the bill being stuck in the House of Representative for the last 11 days as of May 5, 2008, telehealth program plans may be stymied in Missouri until the House comes back into session and schedules a committee meeting on this very important topic that is sure to benefit Missouri residents.
It has been estimated that by utilizing a teleconference instead of taking a two day business trip and travel six hundred miles you will save two thousand dollars or more in total travel costs. You will also save approximately a half a ton of carbon.
Take advantage of the carbon reduction that you as well as your clients and potential customers will cause by teleconferencing. Let them know that you are making a financial contribution to an organization that is working to lower the amount of carbon that is released into the atmosphere. You will stand out from the crowd and a large number of potential clients will be pleased to know that part of their payment is going to a good cause. Most CEO's will tell you that contributing to notable causes is good for business.
Provide the name of the specific organization you will be contributing to and the percentage or the amount you will be providing. The information can be placed in your sales copy and on the pages of your website. Carbon reduction by way of teleconferencing can provide you new customers.
After your latest conference call, you want to go back and review who attended. You look at the caller ID of each call, but several show up as Anonymous. What do you do?
Listen to the name recording - as each participant joins the conference, they are asked to record their name. This recording is available anytime.
This is also great during a Q&A session. Instead of stating, "go ahead caller, what is your question", you can say "We have Tom Andergain on the line, what is your question". It really adds a personal touch to your calls.
If you want even more ways to track your attendees, use a registration page. More on that later.
Have you ever wanted to go back and listen to a meeting you had, just to prove your point? I do it all the time…that is go back and listen. I listen to meetings I've recorded so I don't have to take notes - my full attention is focused on the meeting and those present. Also, it has saved the company a fair share of money - some people will agree to a price, then change their minds later. With a recording, you can hold them to the first-agreed upon price.
Currently I am using our 800 Forwarding service to record phone calls, meetings, and also to dictate notes I need for later - like a handheld voice recorder, but with no restrictions.
It's always polite (and important) to let the other person know the call is being recorded.
Finally, before you work yourself into a frenzy about what someone said (or didn’t), listen to the recording first….you don't want to be wrong do you?
A group of scientists have recently performed a study to determine if teleconferencing can be utilized by orthodontic experts to help disadvantaged children who would typically not have access to them. During the study, an orthodontic specialist located at remote location, provided supervision to a general dentist who was providing orthodontic treatments to children at a public health clinic in Toppenish Washington.
The results of the treatments were then compared to the results form orthodontic graduate students working on children who were provided direct supervision on site. The study showed that the two groups of children received similar treatments. In the future, disadvantaged children all over the country and perhaps all over the world can be provided with quality orthodontic care.
Teleconferencing has been quite useful for events such as business meetings, seminars and shareholders meetings. Utilizing teleconferencing for orthodontics and other medical services is an inexpensive approach that should be expanded. The internet offers a wide variety of quality information but most people, including children would probably prefer their dentist receive real time orthodontic advice from an expert than witness their dentist continually reading instructions from a website while dental instruments are being moved around in their mouth. Perhaps children will now be singing the praises of teleconferencing.
This increase in the use of technology has lead to management asking employees to do more. The name of the game is productivity. More output with fewer employees equals higher profits. If we are going to be asked to use technology then it makes sense that we use it to its full potential.
Telephone calls, conference calls, web or video conferencing, they all take time to organize and of course, they all take time from our schedule to participate. There is much in the way of software that can help a busy person plan and control their daily activities. If you are a MicroSoft Outlook user then you have a fairly comprehensive calendar and task manager right at your fingertips.
If the in-built features of Outlook aren't quite powerful enough to handle your requirements, you can download and install plugins that extend Outlook's capabilities. There are several plugins available including AccuConference Outlook Plugin. This is a free conference call scheduler.
Most schedulers allow you to view calendars for all the proposed participants to find common free periods. You are then able to book a conference call and send emails to each participant.
One of the benefits of using a plugin is the auto feature which will automatically dial the participant's phone numbers at the scheduled time. Using this feature, you can schedule individual calls throughout the day to an individual number or schedule a group of numbers for a conference call.
To use the software, you would normally activate the function through a button on Outlook's toolbar. To select the participant(s) from your contacts list (or manually insert numbers), select a time and day and save. You can set a reminder for any period prior to the scheduled start time. This appears as a popup displaying the reminder message and details. At the scheduled time the software would activate the auto call function.
Plugins help you to schedule your time. This helps you plan your day leading to more control over your activities, less stress and better productivity.