At some point the business traveler who spends countless hours waiting in airports or on runways has to wonder if it is really worth it.
There are times when you really do need to appear at a meeting or event, but there are just as many cases where you find that the expense and hassle of travel may not have been worth it after all.
After the travel arrangements have been made, you are whisked to the airport, you go through security, walk through the terminal to your gate, wait for your flight, return phone calls, spend the flight time reviewing notes—all this before you are arrive at your destination. You may feel as though you already completed a day’s work although your work has yet to begin,
This is where teleconferencing comes in because it allows you to accomplish your communication goals without having to hail one taxi.
When you choose to conduct business by teleconference, you will avoid the hassles of travel. You’ll be more alert and ready for discussion in familiar surroundings. By choosing to teleconference, you can be certain that you have all the up-to-the- minute information you need because you will be in your own office.
You may want to consider the value and importance of copyrighting you audio, video, and PowerPoint conference materials, especially if they are available online for anyone to access. Putting your presentation in PowerPoint rather than word makes it harder to copy and steal (adapt). You can also make your documents permission based, read-only so they cannot be edited. Be sure to include a copyright symbol on the bottom of the page, and at the beginning and end of every recording.
If you are amenable to sharing the information, as long as you or your organization is cited as the source, you can state that policy also.
The point is you want to retain control of your content and your concepts. You may even want to register a copy of your presentation with the Library of Congress (www.loc.gov) in advance, so that if anyone tries to copy or repurpose it, that you will have protection under the Copyright Act. While every document you create IS copyrighted at its inception, filing the copyright gives you protection if you have to mount a lawsuit.
By the same token, if you are using anyone else's content in your presentation, you should call, email, or write them and ask for permission to use their content. If you are just using a sentence or two, you can simply cite it with the proper attribution or website, and you are sufficiently covered.
Be smart. Be honest. Better to be safe than sorry.
Agencies that provide health care can use teleconferencing to confer with and counsel patients.
A network of mental health agencies in Ohio has used teleconferencing technology since the 1990s. They faced several hurdles in training staff and reaching patients, especially in rural areas. Teleconferencing provided a way for them to keep staff up-to-date and communicate with patients who lacked transportation.
At the Woodland Centers there were some questions about how patients would handle talking to a screen, but they found that the technology was a boon to their operations.
In addition to the challenges the agencies faced in instructing their own staff, it was also difficult to find qualified psychiatric staff. They were able to find the staff they needed by offering a teleconferencing option.
For example, a psychiatrist can have patient records sent to a computer in a home office. This file transfer can take place while the professional is teleconferencing with a patient. This way doctors can cut down on travel time to medical facilities.
Continual improvements to technology mean that medical professionals and patients who communicate through teleconferencing can see and hear each other much better than in the past.
Using teleconferencing can benefit health care providers and communities they serve.
For students at community colleges with multiple campuses, it can be a big hassle to travel from campus to campus, sometimes hours away from each other. Thanks to teleconferencing technology, students from any campus can be taught by one teacher in one "virtual classroom." This increases the availability of students to be able to take the course, as well as decreasing the need for multiple teachers a college has to hire to teach one specific course.
This amazing technology makes classroom teaching more educationally efficient, by being able to share pictures, slides, and video, virtually anywhere and to anyone. This idea is also very fuel efficient, as it cuts down on travel for both students and faculty.
Most community colleges in the United States are taking advantage of this astounding breakthrough in the world of virtual interaction. Teleconferencing can be great for almost any subject, especially the sciences, math, liberal arts, history, foreign languages, business, economics, human resources and anything else that involves a great deal of talking and visual learning. With special microphones built into each of the screens, teleconferencing can also be a practical tool for class discussions.
Teleconferencing has changed the traditional classroom into a worldwide network of educational possibilities.
Teleconferencing isn't just for moguls and executives: this technology can be used to plan all kinds of events.
Many families spend a lot of time and energy on the phone planning family reunions. You can cut down on numerous phone calls by using teleconferencing. Seeing everyone face-to-face can minimize the time spent organizing the festivities.
Although the reunion is a social occasion, there is nothing wrong with taking a business-minded approach as you put it together.
If there are things that family members in other parts of the country need to see videoconferencing makes it easy to share. Relatives can preview and give their opinion on the family reunion t-shirts, decorations and other items.
Teleconferencing can make planning smoother and cut down on any misunderstanding. It is much easier to understand people when you can see them. Plus, there will be no need to pass on messages when you have everyone right there.
Using teleconferencing is also a way to get some of the family together beforehand. There'll be fewer awkward greetings because a number of you will have been working together. Those of you who have already built some camaraderie can spread the cheer around once the reunion actually takes place.
The amount of pollution in the atmosphere is increasing; there is no doubt about it. One way you can help reduce air pollution is to try and use less fossil fuel, limit your use of aerosols, as well as monitor your paper and energy consumption.
The air pollution caused by the use of fossil fuels like carbon, petroleum, and oil shale are impacting many of our metropolitan areas causing an increase in the incidence of asthma in children and adults alike. Many major metropolitan cities have adapted to these changes by requiring increasing amounts of ethanol in fuels as well as establishing an air quality index indicator. These air quality index indicators are broadcast on television, the radio, and featured prominently in the newspaper to encourage city residents to minimize travel, carpool, use mass transit, and even change the time when they fuel their car or mow their grass. Air quality in these metropolitan areas is impacted not only by the high amount of cars on the road but the time of year, heat index, and cloud cover.
Any significant decrease of travel in these times can be beneficial for children, asthmatics, seniors, and others who are pollution sensitive. By teleconferencing you lessen your own personal impact on your regions air pollution. You can help make a difference in the quality of the air in your own city if you make an effort to cut the amount of travel you absolutely have to make. One small step magnified by others making that same small step amounts to a significant step.
There is a lot of talk these days about how people should be doing more conference calling to save money. We all know, however, that there are some things you just can't do or information you just can't get in a conference call that you can in a face-to-face meeting. Below are some considerations to think about when deciding on whether you really need a face-to-face or whether a conference call or videoconference will do.
- Consider the purpose of getting these people together and what you hope to achieve.
- Examine all your communication options and whether a conference call is the best way to get what you need to have a successful meeting. Maybe what needs to be done can just be done by email or in an email chat room? Ask yourself, does it really need a fully facilitated meeting? Does the meeting goal depend on observing body language or high levels of personal interaction, trust, and relationship building?
- How many people will be involved? Remember that if you have 12 people involved, each person only has, on average, 5 minutes to speak. Don't engage people if they are not going to participate.
- How highly dependent is the content on visual images that you need to walk your participants through. Will it be detrimental if they can't see what is going on?
- If you have a highly distributed group you are getting together, what will be the effect of different time zones on people being able to be there and alert. This is an increasingly more important consideration as more businesses go global.
Once you know the answers to these questions, you can then determine whether it is a plain vanilla teleconferencing that is needed, or a video conference, or a real face-to-face meeting.
Nothing is more important than the relationships a company builds with its customers and partners. To foster these relationships, larger companies sometimes have annual conferences where people from across the country come together to meet each other, catch up on new company products and services, and learn new ways to use the company’s system. These usually cost quite a bit of money for both the company and the participants.
Although nothing beats a good physical face-to-face conference, just in terms of time and money it is not something that can be done more than once every year or two. And, getting together with key clients and partners only once every year or two to fill them in on what’s going on is just not sufficient to build a real relationship.
What some companies have decided to do is to still offer the once-a-year physical meeting, but to augment them with quarterly web meetings that are similar to their large conferences, but smaller in scope (50 to 75 people) and that target different market niches and that use audio and video tools to provide interaction between parties.
Due to the more intimate nature of the web meetings over the physical get together, this becomes a venue to find out how clients are actually using the product and its features and get them to share what they are doing and what they are finding out about it. It also proves to be a great vehicle to brainstorm and troubleshoot with clients about products under development; and provides a great way to find out what the client’s priorities are for new products, allowing the meeting convener to better prioritize product enhancements or new product releases.
Because webinars don't require people to go anywhere, there's a lot of flexibility in deciding when they can be scheduled. Most presenters have not adjusted to this brave new world of freedom or the kind of things they need to think about when scheduling their webinar. Sometimes the best time for a webinar is completely counter to when you think the best time for a face-to-face seminar should be held.
First, and this you would think is the most obvious, is to be sure you arrange your webinar so that it works with the time zone in which your attendees live.
Depending on whether you are looking for a national or international audience, you may need to think, about scheduling your webinar twice.
Believe it or not, industry surveys have found out that if you are targeting professionals, Mondays and Fridays generally have good attendance, not what you would think. But these are bad days if your target is the support staff.
Also summer months and holiday weeks, like the beginning of the week of Thanksgiving or the week between Christmas and New Year can work well, though scheduling can again depend on your target audience. For example if you are looking to attract express delivery people, anytime two months before Christmas is off limits.
Because other meetings usually begin and end on the hour, start your webinar at a quarter after the hour and end on the hour or an hour and a half later. This lets your attendees get back from their previous meeting and get ready and lets them finish your webinar before they have to get to their next meeting.
Try to avoid the lunch hour. The best times to consider are generally 10 A.M. and 2 P.M. because people are already at work, generally no matter how late their workday starts, and your webinar will be over before those who come in early have to go home.
The world of virtual conferencing is changing and I have seen the future! Just as email radically changed how businesses and people communicate, virtual conferencing is going to revolutionize the conferencing industry. You can see the embryonic stages of this if you go to Second Life on the Internet and log on.
Second Life is a virtual world created by Linden Research where people create digital entities, also known as avatars, that interact in real time by voice, if you have a microphone, or via keyboarding if you don't. Since it went online in 2003, more than a million users have joined and the number is growing dramatically each year.
It is a place where you can own property, create a business, start your own radio station, earn real money, and…… hold meetings and seminars. In fact there are hundreds of groups from 12-steppers to government agencies to businesses like Toyota and IBM that are opening up shop and holding meetings and information sessions there now.
Although manipulating an avatar takes still takes some getting used to, so it is not something that will be in the conferencing mainstream for some time yet. Because you can move freely though the virtual world as you talk with the other people in your conversation, this exciting new technology promises to fill the gap between the static videoconferencing environment and the face-to-face meeting or site visit.