ClickMeeting http://blog.clickmeeting.com Online Meetings. Solved! Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:19:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 How Videoconferencing Helps Business Communication http://blog.clickmeeting.com/videoconferencing-helps-business-communication http://blog.clickmeeting.com/videoconferencing-helps-business-communication#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:19:40 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=3603 Read more

How Videoconferencing Helps Business Communication is a post from: ClickMeeting

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What a great time we live in with technology consistently improving and enhancing our lives, and, there is no better example than videoconference. There is no denying that videoconferencing has come of age and is now a widely used communication platform across a broad spectrum of business organizations. Developments in wireless and communications technology have allowed several of today’s business environments to take full advantage of videoconferencing technologies to foster real-time, face to face interactions anytime and from almost everywhere.

The benefits of videoconferencing in businesses enterprises are far and wide. From cutting travel expenses to saving time and resources, videoconferencing allows companies to efficiently manage business communication systems in order to achieve strategic benefits of higher productivity and improved business processes.

 

Communication Is Key

Any company that sets its sights on business success knows that fostering a communication process that allows empowerment, collaboration and knowledge and information sharing should be a key strategy.

This is where videoconferencing, which allows for real time interactions and improved relationships among colleagues and across the organizational ladder, proves its advantage.

 

Why?

Because videoconferencing simply allows companies to reap the advantages of face to face communication without being constrained by physical distances.

The reality in many of today’s business setup is that company operations and a whole gamut of experts and staff are spread out across different locations. While written memos and occasional business meetings that entail travel are quite commonplace, a better communications strategy would include face to face meetings conducted almost as soon as expediencies allow.

By doing videoconferences, company assets could meet whenever and wherever they are, thus speeding up necessary responses, crucial decisions and ultimately the whole business process as a result of more frequent and timely communication.

And, let us not forget the all-important client relations that can be greatly improved upon with this platform. By choosing videoconference over faceless old school conference calls your business relationships can be skyrocketed to all new levels.

 

Improved Relationships

In the art of doing good business, relationships are best built rather than just simple interaction. Building relationships entail constant and responsive communication. Doing frequent face to face meetings will somehow do the trick, if only resources are not scant and the perpetual race to the plane of competitive advantage was a thing of the past.

With huge meeting costs having the potential of saddling business finances and allotting time to attend meetings take away crucial time best spent for more productive endeavors, videoconferencing is the next best thing to traditional modes improving relationships through constant and responsive communication.

Unlike teleconferences, videoconferences are visual, and there lies the rub. Videoconferencing removes communication barriers by allowing meeting participants to see facial expressions and body language.

A basic telephone call cannot do that, and for this it is considered as a less personal mode of communication compared to face to face interaction. With videoconferencing, managers are able to deal with staff in a more personal way, hence fostering better relationships across the business organization.

 

Supporting Collaboration

It is also important to note that through this communication medium, files, images and presentations can be shared using advance technology, another way this platform wins over teleconference.

A company that conducts videoconferences instead of the usual memo sharing and email exchange is a company that invites collaboration within its organization. Information and ideas are exchanged faster, with the visual support of graphics and images to boot.

Videoconferencing is also a potent tool in elevating capacities within organizations by collaborating with experts from across the globe in training company staff and sharing with them ideas and information.

When interaction with experts can be done almost anytime and from wherever they are, stronger collaborations without the constraints of tight schedules and loss of precious time are created and cultivated. Videoconference sessions may even be recorded, with the consent of these experts, to provide training tools for future use and compliance regulations within the industry.

As a whole, videoconferencing provides an arsenal of tangible results in terms of improving business communication. In this age of powerful handheld devices, high speed internet connections and a rich selection of videoconferencing tools and applications that are becoming less and less prohibitive in costs, business organizations of today are more and more finding videoconferencing a reliable ally in enhancing communication strategies and company performance.

 

Bottom Line

As you can see the benefits are plentiful and short of being there to shake hands in person, videoconferencing is the ultimate blend of cost and communication effectiveness.

While for some technology may be intimidating, the truth is that today’s advanced and user-friendly videoconference platforms allow even the most gun shy tech user to excel in this modern day communication medium.

It is definitely worth the time, effort and cost to invest in this medium to reap all the benefits it brings.

How Videoconferencing Helps Business Communication is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Customizing Webinar Content for Diverse Market Segments http://blog.clickmeeting.com/customizing-webinar-content-diverse-market-segments http://blog.clickmeeting.com/customizing-webinar-content-diverse-market-segments#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 12:13:55 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=3598 Read more

Customizing Webinar Content for Diverse Market Segments is a post from: ClickMeeting

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The current landscape of consumer preferences and approaches to decision making has transformed so considerably that a more personal approach to marketing products and services has become a necessary strategy. Marketing organizations have become well aware that the hit and miss character of content blasting just won’t cut it, and a more targeted content sharing is necessary to engage diverse market segments.

Tailoring content to specific market segments is all about personalized marketing. In today’s world where competition over a more informed consumer base has become tighter than ever, personalized marketing is often what defines greater lead generation and customer conversion.

 

Vital Steps To Reaching Diverse Markets

 

Getting Personal With Webinar Content

While enhanced marketing strategies, such as, the use of webinars are leveraging on the availability of a more advanced communications technology to reach out to a vastly diversified consumer market, personalized marketing remains a vital factor in seeing positive marketing results.

For this reason alone, marketing organizations that are increasingly incorporating webinars in their strategies are realizing the need for customized content to make effective sales pitches and achieve better customer engagement.

Customizing webinar content to specific market segments makes audiences feel that companies know them well. When customers are engaged this way, the line between just receiving a sales pitch and being offered trust and reliability becomes more clearly delineated.

To the prospective consumer, it is no longer just a matter of getting to know a brand but choosing that brand over its competitors.

 

Segmenting Audiences And Making Personas

The bottom line in creating customized webinar content is to develop a strategy for audience segmentation. This means dividing audiences into subgroups based on specific demographics such as age, gender, geographic location, consumption patterns and communication behaviors.

When target webinar audiences have been segmented, marketers can then create audience personas in order to cater content that will appeal to them the most.

Audience segmentation enable marketers to create content that will be most engaging to specific audiences, hence webinars that speak directly to audiences and appeal to their specific preferences.

This strategy works with the premise that audiences that receive content that speak to their interests, needs and wants are more useful to them, and that they will choose products or services that seem to have been created especially to cater to their needs. This approach not only increases sales, but, also creates a more loyal customer base.

When hosting webinars that offer customized content for specific market segments, it may be necessary to develop a campaign that offers a series of webinars targeting each segment of your potential market.

This further means that designing the advertising phases for each part of your webinar series, from the announcement to the post-webinar evaluation phase, may have to be catered to the specific interests of your target audience.

For example, does your target market know of what’s happening through social media or through personal emails?

Identify specific characteristics of your target audience and you can cater webinar announcements and evaluation mechanisms around their preferred mode of communication and engagement.

 

Engage Audience Instantaneously

Developing customized webinar content is best matched with instantaneous interaction with your audience. Nothing will feel more personal than providing your audience the means to interact with your company, the presenter or with the other webinar participants as soon as they feel the need to do so.

Design a webinar event that will allow for maximum engagement with your audience by allotting time within your webinar event to answer questions, make clarifications and provide suggestions to your audience’s concerns.

Create an environment of like-minded people who have come together to discuss similar interests and engage content that are of a concern to all of them. And even if your webinar event turns out to be composed of participants with a variation in concerns and views, nonetheless create an enabling atmosphere for openness and sharing because this will only show that your company or your brand is willing to get to know your target market better.

Today’s consumer may be smarter and more adept with their needs and wants but, with the right communications strategy, your organization will be able to ride the tide and achieve success.

Customizing Webinar Content for Diverse Market Segments is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Are Webinars Effective Tools For Public Service Sectors? http://blog.clickmeeting.com/webinars-effective-tools-public-service-sectors http://blog.clickmeeting.com/webinars-effective-tools-public-service-sectors#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 10:46:09 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=3592 Read more

Are Webinars Effective Tools For Public Service Sectors? is a post from: ClickMeeting

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The effective and efficient provision of much needed services to public constituencies requires civil servants who are equipped not only with compassion and a desire to serve the people, but, also the capacity and professional training that will enable them to deliver quality services.

To be able to provide responsive services that would truly uplift the status of people, high standards of integrity, transparency and accountability in public service is needed. Oftentimes, a lowering of these standards, coupled with administrative and regulatory burdens, impede on the ability of the public sector to perform better, especially when public service professionals are ill equipped with the know-how to go beyond usual barriers to effective service.

 

Educating Public Service Professionals

In order to address these concerns, public service managers and policymakers have taken to task civil servants and public service professionals to undergo specialized education and training courses that will develop personnel capacities and raise the level of understanding standardized public sector ethics.

The delivery of better public services, after all, rests on better public sector professionals especially those who are frontline providers of a broad range of services available to constituencies.

While there are courses conducted in formal institutions of learning using traditional teaching methods, many such courses are now being offered using online tools such as webinars.

 

Why?

Because webinars provide an effective way of educating and raising capacities of public service professionals that cater to their specific needs and time constraints.

 

The Benefits Of Webinars

Cost-Effective

Perhaps one of the most enticing value points of webinars, or online seminars, are their cost-effectiveness. Government and non-government agencies can require their staff to enroll in online courses and learn to be better at providing public service without the usual need to take off time from work in order to attend classes in traditional learning institutions.

Even from the comfort of offices and homes, public service professionals are able to learn and be trained to be better at what they do.

Because webinars can be conducted exactly the same way as face to face seminars except for actually being in the same room as the lecturer or presenter, the public service sector can do away with sacrificing time and public resources in the name of raising levels of expertise and ethical values.

Public service is often about serving constituencies at the same time that the need for service arises, and it would actually help the public sector to save on time and resources to ensure that such services are provided.

 

Standardized Teaching

Taking online seminars allows for the standardization of modules and training courses that are delivered to public service professionals wherever they are and whenever they need them.

Common needs for the training of either back office or frontline service providers in a specific sector can be identified and a webinar course or a series of webinars could be designed or availed to suit these needs.

Once modules and courses are already standardized, these online trainings could be replicated for succeeding batches and even new civil service entrants.

Compare this with course offerings that differ from one traditional institution of learning to another, one lecturer to another and there will be public service professionals who may or may not be on equal footing and level of understanding and appreciation for the importance of the work that they do.

With webinars, on the other hand, the same training could be required of every civil servant in a whole department or sector, hence a more standardized performance of the public service sector.

 

Promoting E-Service

Another benefit of webinars as a tool for public service education is exactly what it isóan online tool that is also able to raise the capacities of those in the public sector to familiarize and control technology while also learning of the art of public service.

Technology has provided humanity with tools to improve our capacities and knowledge, and much of that is due to a generation that is increasingly adept at online technology.

The public sector has now learned from the experiences of the private sector, which admittedly grasped and made efficient use of technology to improve business and performance factors much earlier.

As the public sector gears to achieve better efficiency, exposing public servants to the myriad uses of technology, such as, in training and education through webinars also improves the overall capacities of the public sector in the effective uses of internet technology.

 

Educating The Public

Perhaps one of the most important benefits of webinars is their ability to educate the public on the many issues society has to deal with. Webinars can be created and posted online for topics related to health issues, education, financial planning, family unity and many others to provide the public with important information that they can readily access from home anytime they wish.

With their dynamic nature and their ability to draw and captivate a wide audience, they are much more effective than the typical mundane online copy, and so, are much better tools for turning even the most boring topics into highly receptive and easy to digest presentations.

 

Bottom Line

No one can argue about the fact that webinars are superior tools for both training and educating in the public service sector. Creating webinars is easier than ever before with powerful service providers, such as, ClickWebinar, that offer a full spectrum of features and support to ensure that the presentation will be of the highest quality.

Are Webinars Effective Tools For Public Service Sectors? is a post from: ClickMeeting

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11 Tips for Creating a Successful Q&A for Webinars http://blog.clickmeeting.com/11-tips-creating-successful-qa-webinars http://blog.clickmeeting.com/11-tips-creating-successful-qa-webinars#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 11:12:05 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=3587 Read more

11 Tips for Creating a Successful Q&A for Webinars is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Webinars are powerful online communication tools because they are live and interactive. The experience of attending a webinar stands miles apart from going through a website or a blog entry even if it offers online live support. Fact is, the more a virtual communication mimics a face to face experience, the more engaging it becomes, the more it appeals to our natural sense of human contact.

Whether in the real or in the virtual world, Q&A sessions are often the measure of an eventís success. An audience that found a presentation engaging will have questions to clarify points or know more about the topic. Audiences may even ask questions because they disagree with some of the things that the presenter said, but that only means they listened and it got them thinking.

This is why anyone who wants to host a successful webinar, to leap from just having a good webinar to achieving a great one, will include not just a thoroughly planned out and well executed presentation but also a lively and well managed Q&A segments that will really allow audiences to interact and speak their minds. How can this be achieved? Here are some ideas:

 

1. Planning The Schedule

Also, as the presenter, you should be the one to set the stage, so decide if you want to allow Q & A in during the presentation or reserve it for after. This type of planning is crucial because it will allow you to stick to a preset and organized schedule and to make sure the presentation runs according to that plan.

 

2. Avoid ‘death by monopolized conversation’

Don’t drown your audience with hearing only one voice talking all throughout the webinar. Plan out the structure of your webinar by doing ìbite-sizeî chunks of the presentation and inviting questions or comments from attendees in between. This way, you are able to maintain an interactive atmosphere all throughout the webinar.

 

3. Do not oblige your audience to raise questions

There is a thin line between feeling that your ideas are welcome and feeling obliged to ask questions you might not want to share or donít even have. A presenter should learn how to invite questions naturally. Give your audience a few seconds after you ask if they have questions, then move on to the next point in the discussion before the silence becomes deafening.

 

4. Leave verbal clues that you are open to questions

Once in a while, do tell your audience that they are welcome to ask questions or share their thoughts when they are ready to do so. Sometimes, a simple ‘Did we get that clear?’ from a presenter could spark interest or encourage an attendee to speak up.

 

5. Provide your audience with supplemental venues to raise questions

Your audience need not raise clarifications or ask for a follow-up only after you tell them to. Sometimes, there are attendees who would feel uncomfortable identifying with a particular question in front of all other attendees. Questions could also dawn upon attendees who might think it rude to interrupt your talking.

Opening a chat room for questions such as these will encourage your audience to ask when the need arises. You can then answer questions as they arise or at least acknowledge that you read them and will answer later on.

 

6. Establish eye contact

It’s rude talk to people without looking straight into their eyes, and there’s no way you should forget this when doing it online. When presenting online, you will have to establish eye contact by looking straight at the camera, especially when you acknowledge a question and move on to answer it.

 

7. Be conversational

There is a time to present and a time to converse, and this holds true even during online presentations. You might not be sitting in the same room as your audience but that is no reason why you should be caught up in how you look on camera. You need to engage your audience, and sometimes all it takes is to be yourself.

 

8. Ask input from your audience

Keeping things interactive does not stop with your audience asking and you answering their questions all the time. You may use the device of asking your audience for input on a question presented in order to invite interaction among them. This is especially helpful when you want to weigh in on a topic by first getting the pulse of your audience, or when you want to punctuate a point by having the last word.

 

9. Tell your audience what you are doing

It may be as simple as saying that you are reading their questions or you are accessing information you want to share with them. The point is, never let an uncomfortable silence leave your audience guessing what in the world you are up to or if something wrong happened with your internet connection.

 

10. Minimize verbal clutter

Your ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ are the last thing you want your audience to focus on, especially as these unnecessary sounds are amplified when you are speaking online. When you need some time to think, just pause or inhale briefly and then get it right on.

 

11. Share resources to your audience

When your audience wants clarification, sometimes the best thing to do is show, not tell. Point your audience to resources such as websites, charts, PowerPoint slides, images and other stuff to support your response.

You can either show them these resources from your screen as you speak or you may copy and paste a URL to your chat box and share it with all attendees so they could check it out later. This way, you can give concise answers while also sharing more information with your audience.

 

The bottom line

Achieving a successful Q&A within your webinar is not so much different than when you do it offline. Keeping things engaging and interactive may not always be an easy task but if you prepare well by anticipating what your audience will most likely ask, thinking your answers ahead and remembering to be yourself will give you an arsenal of tools to make your whole webinar a success.

11 Tips for Creating a Successful Q&A for Webinars is a post from: ClickMeeting

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How to Organize a Successful Webinar http://blog.clickmeeting.com/organize-successful-webinar http://blog.clickmeeting.com/organize-successful-webinar#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 12:00:17 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=3579 Read more

How to Organize a Successful Webinar is a post from: ClickMeeting

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It does not matter which industry you belong to, or how much you have embraced the fact that we now live in the age of internet technology, it is undeniable that online seminars, or what we have come to call webinars, have taken our current age of online communication by storm. People of different strokes are organizing webinars to introduce or advertise products and services, share new information, train people and staff, do business meetings, conduct lectures and even hold workshops. Indeed, the ways through which different organizations and industries are using webinars are as varied, and to a certain extent boundless, as the nature of communication itself.

Webinars have undoubtedly become one of the Digital Age’s most popular modes to realize a meeting of minds, so to speak, and nothing could stop this exchange of ideas and information other than perhaps a technical glitch in your high-speed internet’s performance. Or, of course, poor planning and preparation. For no matter how much the odds of technical capabilities are in your favor, a webinar could fall short of being a success if it is poorly planned and organized. So if you are training your sights on delivering a successful webinar, keep these processes in mind.

 

Plan Your Webinar Topic

So you are convinced that hosting a webinar is your best available platform for communicating with your target audience, but how exactly will you realize your objectives?Start by keeping in mind that just like with offline seminars or meetings, you need to set your agenda for your webinar. Identify your priorities and delimit the scope of your webinar to your preferred agenda.

There is a limit to you and your audience’s time and ability to grasp ideas and topics and webinars ideally run for an hour and a half to two hours because that is the usual attention span of online audiences. Identify how far you can go with your discussion within that time frame and prepare your presentation outline accordingly.

 

Design The Format

The golden rule in communication is that seminars and meetings should always be engaging. When doing it online, you need to exert extra effort to keep your presentation engaging because getting out of the room is quite as simple as hitting the exit button on your audience’s screen.

Restricting your webinar to slides that are heavy on textual content interspersed with the presenter’s speech could bore your audiences. Bring your presentation to life by using images, videos, and even games and music could be helpful, depending on the topic and can keep your audience interested. Design a format for your webinar that will tackle your agenda while keeping your audiences engaged.

 

Enlist A Presentation Team

When you have identified your agenda and format for your webinar, enlist the help of a team to help you out. You may opt to have a host who will open your webinar and facilitate questions and other comments from your audience.

You may also consider enlisting a team of presenters instead of just one. You also need to assign someone to manage technical issues from the time you start setting up your webinar down to the post-session phase of your webinar, especially if you plan to upload or send out a recording of your webinar.

 

Set Up Technology And Space

Never let technology be a barrier before, during or even after your webinar. Choose an online meeting tool or web conferencing platform based on features and functionality that matches your needs. Depending on the format of your webinar, you might need a webinar tool that will allow you to change between presenters, do a split-screen between a presenter and a visual tool, or record your presentation for online posting. Whatever tool you eventually choose, make sure that your provider walks you through the ins and outs of your tools so you will be well equipped to use it.

Make sure that you have access to all needed equipment, such as headsets, microphones, power cords, network cable (if you are not using wireless connection). Make sure that the computer you will be using could access and open the file formats of all your presentation aids. Identify and reserve a quiet and well lighted space where you will set up your webinar, and make sure that your preferred space is receiving a strong internet signal, especially if you are using a wireless connection.

 

Choose Date And Time

Schedule your webinar event in advance so you are able to give ample notice to your invited audiences. Refrain from choosing a day that falls on a holiday or a weekend, as your audience may have other personal business to attend to. Also consider time zone differences when scheduling your event, especially if you are inviting attendees from different countries.

You may also want to think against scheduling your event too close to the end of the day when your attendees could be hankering to wind down and go home to personal matters.

 

Practice Running The Webinar

The adage, practice makes perfect, could very well work for your webinar especially since there are a lot of considerations your need to assess before your actual event. You would want the best possible synergy between your actual presentation and technological factors, so it is best to practice running your webinar days ahead of your actual event.

This will give you enough time to tweak a few points here and there, and even bridge technical gaps so you are assured that you deliver the best possible webinar to your audience.

 

Publicize Early And Widely

Being able to gather as many attendees as practicable and allowable by your online tool would be your objective, and nothing could give you a head start to achieving this than sending out announcements and invitations as early as possible and to a widest possible reach.

Employ a registration or reply mechanism to your invitation so you are able to monitor the number of your expected attendees and troubleshoot if necessary. Use printed material, online event calendars, social media platforms and your organization’s website to announce your event. Incorporate sending out several reminders to your invitees and even registered attendees days ahead of your actual event to keep them hooked to your event.

How to Organize a Successful Webinar is a post from: ClickMeeting

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The “Me” in “Team”: How to Be a Good Team Player http://blog.clickmeeting.com/team-good-team-player http://blog.clickmeeting.com/team-good-team-player#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 12:00:59 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=3572 Read more

The “Me” in “Team”: How to Be a Good Team Player is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Whether you’re creating a webinar or completing a presentation to show during a meeting, odds are you have to work with other people to get the job done. The working world was not design to be a one-man or one-woman show. Teamwork is hard work, whether or not you’re the one leading the pack. Ego, differing priorities, and conflicts of interest can arise when teamwork is sub par. While differences need to be addressed, the focus during a team project should be the final result or product. Being a good team player means not letting frivolities get in the way of that. Though there may not be an “I” in team – it’s not all about you – there is a “me,” in the sense that the success of the team depends on each individual’s participation as a good team player.

 

Understand the goals of the project

Before setting forth on any task, be sure that you are clear what the objectives are. Ask questions if anything is a little foggy, and repeat back what was said to get any further clarification. Don’t hesitate to provide information to your teammates, too, and be a sounding board for their uncertainties.

 

Keep open, honest, and respectful communication

Say exactly what you mean, and say it as short and sweet as you possibly can. Thinking before you speak is especially important with group work: everyone is going to have something to say, and there’s only so much time to say it. Before you open your mouth, be sure that it’s going to contribute something positive to the group.

 

Make others feel welcome and encouraged

You can develop a positive rapport with your fellow group members by treating them how you would want to be treated. Listen to what they have to say and compliment them on their good ideas. Provide feedback on their contributions, and if you have to criticize, make it constructive. Don’t be quick to judge or cause conflict. If conflicts do arise, handle them professionally and make sure there are no hard feelings in the end.

 

Exercise your creativity and unique contributions

Part of employing the “me” in “team” is giving all you have to give on a particular team project. You are unique and have skills, knowledge and ideas that no one else does. Don’t be afraid of people passing judgments of your ideas or creative work: even if it’s not adopted by the team on the first go-around, your contributions can be used or modified for the benefit of the team. As they say: “Be yourself – everyone else is taken.”

 

Constantly look for ways to improve

While you want to express a positive attitude when working in a group, it doesn’t mean you have to be a Pollyanna. A dose of realistic expectations is needed to make the project the best it can be. Look closely at how your own contributions can be improved as well as those of your teammates. Though changing the game plan can take a little more work, it can be worth it in the end. When looking at how you can improve, also identify what you’re doing right. No need to fix it if it’s not broken.

 

Lead from the middle

Every group has a designated leader. But there are also covert leaders – not revolutionaries trying to raise a coup, but rather people who work with the leaders to get things done. Someone who “leads from the middle” in this way volunteers to do things when needed, says yes when asked to complete tasks, and generally puts forth a helpful effort toward the goals of the group. The designated leader and your teammates will all be grateful.

The “Me” in “Team”: How to Be a Good Team Player is a post from: ClickMeeting

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The 5 Sources of Power in an Organization http://blog.clickmeeting.com/5-sources-power-organization http://blog.clickmeeting.com/5-sources-power-organization#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 12:00:55 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=3566 Read more

The 5 Sources of Power in an Organization is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Power makes the world go ‘round – and in the professional world, it enhances our careers.  Depending on who has power and how that power is used, both positive and negative outcomes can results from the use (or abuse) of power.  The more power you had, the more carefully it needs to be exercised.  But in general, we all want more power: it gives us a bigger say in decision-making and more control over our environment.

A 1959 academic article published by sociologists John French and Bertram Raven called “The Bases of Social Power” explains how we go about doing this.  It outlines what the authors identify as the five types of social power: legitimate, reward, coercive, referent, and expert power.  The business world has taken these concepts and applied them to the working world, where power is what determines how coworkers view us, how much we’re respected, and what we’re paid, among other things.  To some degree, by leveraging skills, social capital and leadership, the amount of these different types of power is in your own hands.

 

Legitimate Power

Power that is given to a person based on their position or role is known as legitimate power (or positional power).  It’s determined by the hierarchy of the organization; junior managers report to senior managers and senior managers report to directors.  Other than being promoted, there’s not much you can do directly to get more legitimate power.  Increasing some of your other types of power – mainly referent and expert power – leads to having more legitimate power.  Legitimate power can’t be faked: in order for it to be wielded, the person claiming the power has to have earned it legitimately.

 

Reward Power

Tied in closely with legitimate power, reward power is the ability that one holds to dole out incentives and compensation in an organization.  This includes salary raises and bonuses, praise, recognition, and promotion.  Reward power that is used fairly can be highly motivating to employees.  They’ll do more and better things by going for the rewards with the knowledge that they are achievable.  However, if the rewards are given out unfairly and favoritism is used, this will demotivate them and make reward power less legitimate.

 

Coercive Power

Coercive power can be scary: it’s what sets in the fear of being punished for poor performance and keeps us coming in early and staying at the office late.  People who wield coercive power can influence others’ behavior by their ability to threaten and punish others.  These actions might include demotion, firing, and reprimanding, but can also be less concrete and abusive in the form of social ostracizing and shaming.  A good dose of coercive power keeps employees in line, and with good management doesn’t need to be used often or severely.  The mere knowledge that it’s there is usually enough.

 

Referent Power

Even if you don’t have any granted power in an organization, you can still influence others’ behavior and decision-making.  Referent power is the ability to influence others because they respect, admire, or like you.  There are many ways to earn referent power at work.  Especially if you are new to an organization, you can start building social capital right away by saying “yes” when people ask you to do things.  Never say, “No, that’s not my job” – especially to your boss.  It’s OK to say no when you really can’t do something – just say, “no, but…” and give another solution.  Also, befriend others with referent power – find the influential people in your organization, be part of the “in” crowd, and others will respect you.

 

Expert Power

Expert power is another way to earn respect and influence independently of the hierarchy of your organization.  With expert power, you have the ability to influence others because of recognized talent, abilities, and knowledge.  The key to gaining expert power is to know your job: be conscious of what you need to know to do your job well and build those skills.  Cross-training is another way to gain expert power – you won’t just know your job, but others’ jobs as well.  Look for opportunities in your skillset and offer to do things in areas that you’re skilled in to gain more expert power.

 

Cultivate Your Own Powers

As you can see, the different types of power come from different sources – some are inherent in the hierarchy of an organization, while others are earned by demonstrated social and practical skills.  Anyone, even the lowest on the totem pole, can gain influence and power in an organization.  Building your referent and expert powers leads to respect and influence, and can also lead to promotion and sources of legitimate, reward, and coercive powers.  In this sense, referent and expert powers are the building blocks of organizational influence.

The 5 Sources of Power in an Organization is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Dealing with Struggle in Style: Overcoming Conflict Aversion http://blog.clickmeeting.com/dealing-struggle-style-overcoming-conflict-aversion http://blog.clickmeeting.com/dealing-struggle-style-overcoming-conflict-aversion#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 12:00:48 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=3559 Read more

Dealing with Struggle in Style: Overcoming Conflict Aversion is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Conflict is central to the human experience.  There is some degree of conflict in most areas of life, and particularly in work situations and in meetings.  In general we tend to want to avoid conflict, but in fact it is unavoidable – and often the more you avoid a situation, the worse it can become.  There are ways that we can use conflict to progress through a situation instead of trying to avoid it.  Dealing with conflict is a skill, and one that you can get better at the more you meet conflict with strategic intervention.

 

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

A universal truth about conflict is that it is uncomfortable.  The first step to overcoming conflict aversion is to make peace with this fact.  Acknowledging that you will not be in your comfort zone while dealing with a particular conflict can actually help steel your nerves against the tension that results when you deal with it.  Conflict is messy, but we have to learn to love the messiness of it.

 

Know your conflicts when you see them

Not all conflicts are created equal.  There are different types of conflicts and arguments, and the type will determine how you should handle it.

Pseudoconflict: We’ve all been in an “argument” with someone thinking that there was a disagreement, where in the end, it turns out we were on the same page all along.  These types of conflicts are called pseudoconflicts because there isn’t really a conflict – it’s all in your head.  Perceptions and misunderstanding lead to pseudoconflict.  In this type of conflict, it’s important to keep your cool and look at the big picture.

Simple conflict: This is just as it sounds: a simple conflict is a direct conflict surrounding a particular issue or idea.  It’s not personal, and can usually be resolved if each party stays as logical and clear in stating their case as possible.  Listening is also key.  If not handled well it can lead to the next kind of conflict – ego conflict.

Ego conflict: This one is personal.  Everyone has an ego – some are bigger than others.  Ego comes into play when personalities clash, one person doesn’t like what another person did, or people just decide not to get along.  In an ego conflict, one or more parties feels personally attacked, and the situation is emotionally charged.  Without care, it can quickly escalate to full-fledged drama.

 

Approach each conflict with the appropriate style

When it comes to facing conflict, there’s not necessarily one wrong or a right way to approach it – it all depends on the situation.  Consider the different styles in which we can respond to conflict – each has its own merits, but can be detrimental if applied to the wrong situation.

Avoidance: Yes, we were just saying that it’s best not to avoid conflict.  However, sometimes it can be beneficial – for example, if you’re not directly involved in a conflict but rather are on the sidelines, avoiding the conflict keeps you from getting wrapped up in it.  You have to choose whether or not the problem is yours to deal with.

Domination: Domination involves pulling rank or expertise over another person in the interest of ending a conflict.  In a work situation, managers can use domination to get things done when it’s not prudent to discuss it.  This isn’t the ideal solution, but sometimes it must be done for the sake of time.

Accommodation: This is one for the pacifists.  Have you ever seen a mother with a toddler in public that won’t stop crying, and eventually she just gives it Cheerios to shut it up?  Accommodation in conflict with two or more adults means that one person will give what the other wants so they can both move on.  Leaders should take extra care in using accommodation so that they don’t appear weak or seem like a pushover.

Compromise: Essentially, compromise is negotiation.  No one leaves the conflict completely satisfied, but a resolution is found in giving everyone at least part of what they wanted.  The upside of using compromise is that people can be mostly content with the outcome.  Sometimes, though, people say they’re OK with a compromise but they really aren’t, and feel like they got the short end of the stick.  Compromise usually leaves one or more people feeling disappointed to a degree.

Consensus: When possible, consensus is really the best way to manage a conflict.  Everyone works together to select an option that everyone can live with.  Not everyone has to agree with the outcome wholeheartedly, but they can at least agree to it.  Consensus is great for small groups and meetings, but gets harder to achieve the larger the group becomes.  This is why big company decisions are not made with consensus but rather from the top (domination).

 

Don’t be in conflict about conflict

Avoiding conflict is an inner struggle – should I deal with this now or later? – and one that can cause a lot of anxiety.  It’s better to accept that conflict will happen and that sooner or later, you’ll need to fact it.  Don’t rush into it, but don’t put it off, either: consider carefully the type of conflict and how best to manage it.  The sooner and more skilfully you can handle the conflict, the less anxiety you’ll have over it.

Dealing with Struggle in Style: Overcoming Conflict Aversion is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Getting to the Point Without PowerPoint http://blog.clickmeeting.com/getting-point-without-powerpoint http://blog.clickmeeting.com/getting-point-without-powerpoint#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 12:27:18 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=3549 Read more

Getting to the Point Without PowerPoint is a post from: ClickMeeting

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PowerPoint is old school, and it’s not likely to go away anytime soon. As a user-friendly presentation tool, it still makes a regularly scheduled appearance at conferences and in web presentations, and it still serves its purpose. But you’re not likely to wow your audience with slide transitions and sound effects. There are literally dozens of other options for presentation software that offer new tricks that many audiences haven’t yet seen – or at least haven’t seen enough of to get bored with yet. Showing your audience a novel platform for your information delivery will get them focused on your presentation – if only because they want to see how it works and what you can do with it! Here we present and compare our top three choices for the best PowerPoint alternatives.


 

Prezi

For many presenters, Prezi is the next logical step in upping their click-to-next-slide game. The coolest thing about Prezi and it’s major selling point is that you can make text boxes and images into objects that become an instant new “slide” – and when you go to that slide, Prezi zooms in on it. Rather than moving laterally from slide, content zooms in and out, creating a sense of emphasis and even drama. This feature makes for a dynamic experience both in creating the Prezi and showing it off.

Pros: Making a basic Prezi is easy and can be done by anyone from students to executives. Give presentations online or off, and on multiple devices. Educators can get a free account!

Cons: Prezi takes more time to customize, so be prepared to put forth more effort than you would with PowerPoint to take full advantage of the features.

 

SlideDog

SlideDog is a different kind of presentation animal. It’s branded as a While not a way to create slides in the traditional sense, SlideDog takes content from different applications – like PowerPoint, Word, Adobe Reader, and Flash – and organizes them into a seamless playlist. SlideDog is compatible with nearly all types of files, from images and animations to text documents and full-fledged presentations.

Pros: Use different types of applications in your presentation without having to switch back and forth between programs. Smooth transitions avoid awkwardness and distraction.

Cons: This is not a way to create a presentation in a traditional sense. You’ll have to do most of the work in other applications, and then use SlideDog to organize and display it.

 

PowToon

Powtoon creates animations that can be used for explanatory videos, marketing content, and product demos. Using the tutorials and simple creative features, you can make an animated video that looks professionals and does interesting things on screen. This tool is ideal for marketing professionals, small businesses and startups, and trainers and educators to get key points across in a way that resonates with the audience. Because cartoons and comics are much more interesting to watch than live people.

Pros: It’s free and relatively easy to learn. Entertain your audience without breaking the bank or stretching your time. It also exports directly to YouTube.

Cons: Powtoon creates videos, so for a live presentation a Powtoon video can’t make up the entirety of your set. For use in videoconferencing, it has the best effectiveness as part of a webinar.

 

KnowledgeVision

A full-spectrum package of presentation tools, KnowledgeVisions was designed to be more interactive with the audience that’s watching. The basics are what you would expect: you can create a fully customizable presentation template and publish it online. The bells and whistles are more than you could ask for: embed third-party interactive modules, track viewer analytics and connect content to other platforms – like learning management and customer relationship management systems. KnowledgeVisions lets you better understand your audience, how they are using your presentation and what information is most important to them.

Pros: Create and present from either a desktop, laptop or iPad device. Do more than just share content – get feedback and continuously improve and enhance it.

Con: KnowledgeVision is one of the more complex presentation options, with a steep learning curve. Expect to not get it the first time around, but reap the benefits of doing something a little more challenging.

Getting to the Point Without PowerPoint is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Get Cultured: Resources for International Business Etiquette http://blog.clickmeeting.com/get-cultured-resources-international-business-etiquette http://blog.clickmeeting.com/get-cultured-resources-international-business-etiquette#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 13:26:19 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=3540 Read more

Get Cultured: Resources for International Business Etiquette is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Business is global, and so should be our thinking about how to do business.  Cultural differences don’t go away in a business meeting.  In fact, awareness of different cultural practices and the business etiquette followed abroad can make all the difference in forming a new business partnership or making a sale.  Videoconferencing is frequently used to reach business partners and clients abroad.  Knowing how to behave during these meetings – how and what to say – will produce the best outcome for your company.

We’ve curated a list of some of the best resources for learning about business etiquette and cultural customs on every continent (well, except Antarctica – we can’t help you if you’re doing business with sea lions).  Consult these sources whether you’re meeting in-person, or more likely, talking on a videoconference with clients, investors, or partners in another country.

 

Books

Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands (The Bestselling Guide to Doing Business in More than 60 Countries) by Terri Morrison and Wayna A. Conaway (2006)

The classic text on gaining acceptable social and business skills across the globe, this book is written by Terri Morrison, who runs an internationally recognized training program for global businesses.  Discover how to properly greet, have dinner with, and do business with people from all walks of life.  Country profiles include background and culture, business values, protocol for dress and gifting, business practices and key phrases in local languages.  This is a must-have for anyone doing international business.

 

Global Business Etiquette: A Guide to International Communication and Customs by Jeanette S. Martin (2012)

Another great book to take when traveling for international  business, this guide is a starter course on how to act when other cultures play into your business dealings.  It’s not easy navigating the waters of another culture, especially when so much is on the line.  The advice in this book will help you avoid any embarrassing missteps when meeting, speaking, and dining with others.  Don’t leave for your flight without it!

 

Bridging the Culture Gap: A Practical Guide to International Business Communication by Penny Carte and Chris Fox (2008)

What’s great about Bridging the Culture Gap is the wealth of real-life tips it provides.  Not only will you get a primer on the customs and values of other cultures, but you’ll read up on case studies that give concrete examples and be able to test your own knowledge and cultural awareness in different scenarios.  The updated second addition gives new insights based on more further experiences and knowledge gathered after the original publishing.  This book will help you overcome barriers to communication and cultural thinking, whether you’re giving a presentation via web conference or negotiating a business deal in-person.

 

Websites

 

Cyborlink (www.cyborlink.com)

Billing itself as “the Web’s leading resource for international business etiquette, manners, and culture,” Cyborlink has a detailed list of topics for each country it covers.  The site is used not only by executives and businesses but is also recommended by college professors who teach business school courses.  For each country that the site discusses, its writers give information about the country’s population, heritage, religion, dress, behaviors, and communication styles.  It also talks about what’s called the Geert Hofstede Analysis, a model that differentiates cultures using four different scoring categories.

 

Executive Planet (www.executiveplanet.com)

A wiki organized for executives by executives, Executive Planet contains a wealth of knowledge about doing business in other countries.  Their business culture guides are tailored to learning the ropes of etiquette and in a wide variety of countries, from Brazil to Iran.  This is a one-stop shop for those who frequently travel or otherwise do business with people in other countries.

 

InterNations (www.internations.org)

InterNations is an online community for expats around the world.  The site regularly posts articles on topics like international business etiquette and adjusting to working in a foreign country.  Whether you’re abroad for a short business trip or being relocated to an office in another country, InterNations has tons of information crowdsourced from its users.

Get Cultured: Resources for International Business Etiquette is a post from: ClickMeeting

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