Some students in New Jersey recently got a lot more out of their show and tell session than usual because they were having show and tell with a class in another country.
A classroom in the U.S. and a classroom in Taiwan were both outfitted with video cameras and television sets so that the students could have an international exchange. It is one thing to read about another country or see pictures of objects from that country…but it a completely different experience to actually see and interact with people in that country.
Setting up a video conference can help you take the classroom experience to new levels.
If your city has a sister city in another country or if your school has formed a relationship with another school, consider using video technology to take advantage of the partnership. Seeing it on a screen really is the next best thing to going there.
Perhaps your class has already made a trip to a foreign country. In that case, use a video conference for follow-up and to cement ties between your students and their new friends they made on their trip. There may have been some things your students were curious about, but unable to see during their stay. And surely you found that your hosts abroad had many questions for you. A video conference is a great way to keep the lines of communication flowing.
Every town, city, or county has matters that must be set before the public prior to a decision being made. Local governments do their duty by holding public forums, but quite often these forums are not well-attended.
Teleconferences are a very useful tool for municipalities looking to engage the public on issues that concern and affect the majority of citizens. There are many people who would hesitate to attend a public forum for any number of reasons such as bad weather, physically unable, lack transportation, busy schedules, the reluctance to give an opinion, or the feeling that they really can’t make a difference. You cannot get everyone to participate, but you may be able to broaden your audience if you use a teleconference to communicate with citizens.
With a two-way teleconference you can give voice to those whom you would not normally see at a town hall or city council meeting. Those who are afraid to give their opinion in person will be less inhibited if they are in their own living rooms. You will be able to really get a sense of public opinion about a topic this way. It will increase good will because residents will feel as though local government is really interested in connecting with them and values their thoughts and ideas.
It is the buzz on the Web – social networking, but just exactly how can you use social networking with conference calls? Here are a few suggestions to help you dive in and use social networking tools to boost attendance at your next teleconference.
First it's important to know of and to have accounts set up at some of the top social networking sites. We see lots of activity on Facebook, LinkedIn, Rover, and MySpace. Additionally, there are a plethora of other new sites that seem to be appearing daily in the social networking arena. Select one or two that you find easy to use and then harvest Outlook or your address book and start inviting people you know to be a part of your social network. It's easy. Many of the social networking services actually allow you to upload your Outlook contact files and then the services will send out automated invitations to people you know. I get lots of invitations and I haven't turned one down yet, so don't be fearful of rejection. Social networking is just that, socializing with others online and adding them to your network as they add you to theirs.
Second, once you have worked to build your network, now's the time to update your site with information about your conference call schedule. Facebook allows people in your network to see when you post something new to your home page. Other social networking sites have similar functions. Why not use the power of social networking to help you get your message out about your next teleconference. You may find that for the small amount of time you spend in getting connected with others using Facebook or LinkedIn, that the payoffs can be huge.
If you are speaking as part of a conference call, you have to remember that it isn't just a phone call. It is business! You cannot talk the way you'd talk to a friend or relative on the phone.
Act as if the audience can see you
Have you ever been advised to smile when answering the telephone? The person on the other end cannot see you, but they can sense the friendliness of your tone and smiling will help you convey warmth. The same thought applies to public speaking over the phone. If you are slouching, this will come across in your voice. Sit up straight as if every participant can see you.
Work the room
No, you cannot actually go around the room shaking hands, but you can make everyone on the line feel welcome. When people introduce themselves, say hello or make a brief comment that adds onto what they've said.
"I'm Fran from Silver Industrial."
"Hello Fran, I've visited your company's new facility. It is state-of-the-art."
Use imagery to help participants get the picture
You won't have any charts or pie graphs to show, but you can help your audience create mental pictures.
"Industry analysts predict unstable growth in that sector—it will be kind of like riding a roller coaster."
"These variables tend to appear suddenly and the experience can be jarring—imagine yourself in a bumper car being bumped by a several other bumper cars all at once."
Most people don't have any idea what it takes to put on a successful conference call or audio workshop. What they DO remember, however, is how much fun they had, who they shared stories with, and having a good laugh. It is widely known that people relax when they are happy and they also learn faster and remember more. By being astute in your planning, you can make your next teleconference or audio workshop something to be remembered by making sure it incorporates many elements of "fun".
Most conference call organizers think that building in fun or irreverent activities will make people think they are being "silly", but when the teleconference staff starts thinking of and planning fun activities, they start feeling much more positive and energetic about the whole conference. If YOU are having fun, it becomes infectious and the teleconference attendees will join in. Take your teleconference seriously, but not yourselves! Below are some ways to infuse an element of fun into your next conference call or audio workshop and make your attendees really remember the good times they had there, the great information they received, and the great contacts they made.
- Use a title that promises fun AND reflects the theme of your teleconference. You can always have a serious subtitle. Try and reflect the promise of fun in your pre-conference communications.
- Open the call or audio workshop with a light-hearted opening that plays off its location, theme, and the nature of your audience. Remind attendees that the point of the conference is to meet new people, get new information, and most of all to have FUN while doing it.
- Make sure that you circulate the names of attendees and business names prior to getting on the phone, if appropriate. Better yet, depending on your teleconference and how much advance notice you have, ask each attendee to send you a one sentence blurb on a specific fun topic like favorite ice cream, food or pet and include this in the email introduction prior to the call that will list the attendees. If appropriate, you could even include the email addresses and phone numbers of participants so that contact and networking can be done after your event. This may not be appropriate in all circumstances but would definitely work in interoffice teleconferences or team events.
All things every business wishes for itself and the products it sells.
Whether you are a small business or a huge enterprise, you are always trying to build up the emotional excitement of your product. It just seems there are some products and industries where this comes a little more naturally. Heroes on the sportsfield or battlefield create tremoundous loyatly and emotional excitement. On such example is the hero from the game series Halo, Master Chief. Halo is a video game for the XBOX made by Bungie Studios.
Here at AccuConference, we don't just look at the marketing aspects of how Microsoft and Bungie are promoting the newest installment to the series (Halo 3) in order to gain more marketing perspective. We also decide to sit back, relax and enjoy the wave of hype and excitement before diving headfirst into the fictional world of Halo on September 25th.
September 25th is the day Halo 3 will be released, and there are some of us here at AccuConference who will be diving in and playing online.
Work Hard. Play Hard. Play Halo 3 Harder.
See you online!