ClickMeeting Blog http://blog.clickmeeting.com Webinars Tips & Tricks Thu, 20 Aug 2015 13:09:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Agree to Agree: 4 Steps to Consensus in Meetings http://blog.clickmeeting.com/agree-to-agree-4-steps-to-consensus-in-meetings http://blog.clickmeeting.com/agree-to-agree-4-steps-to-consensus-in-meetings#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 12:42:37 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=4203 Read more

Agree to Agree: 4 Steps to Consensus in Meetings is a post from: ClickMeeting Blog

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A decision-making meeting is exactly what it sounds like: the purpose of the meeting is to come out with a decision after thoughtful discussion. There is more than one way for a decision to be made. The leader of the meeting might be the ultimate decision-maker regardless of what others in the room think. There might be a vote taken and the majority rules. Another method, consensus decision-making, involves getting members of the group to agree to support a decision in the best interest of the whole.

Consensus decision-making can lead to higher job and leadership satisfaction rates by promoting a sense of community and respect. However, decisions made by consensus do not come easy. Consensus does not mean that everyone agrees completely with a decision; rather, it means that it is a decision everyone can “live with.” Even so, getting everyone to “agree to agree” is in fact the most challenging way to go about making a decision. Here are four tips for smoothing the road to consensus.

 

Emphasize Data and Numbers

Opinions tend to have a lot of emotion behind them. The best decisions, however, and backed by data. Not only does the data help show the course of action to be taken, it can also steer people on the other side of the fence in the right direction. People tend to put more faith in the use of data-driven facts than in statements of belief. Using graphs and charts will make your point appear more scientific and thus be more trustworthy, leading people to agree on what the data indicates.

 

Encourage Productive Discussion

Obviously, your meeting will be filled with discussion. However, there are certain things that a meeting leader (and even participants) can do to achieve productive discussion – that which leads to the ultimate goal, which is consensus. The mindset and behavior of meeting participants is highly dependent on the tone set in the meeting. How you say things as a meeting leader is extremely important in setting this tone.

One way to encourage discussion that is respectful and thoughtful is to avoid completely dismissing ideas, even highly disputed ones. Instead of shutting an idea down, prompt the individual to briefly explain the approach and how it would be implemented. Throughout the meeting, be sure to use a positive tone of voice, which makes the meeting seem like a “safe space” where all ideas are welcome.

 

Be Collaborative, Not Competitive

Consensus decision-making is supposed to be a win-win situation, not a win-lose. It’s not about getting your idea chosen by the group, but working together to achieve the goals of the organization. When working toward consensus, it’s to the benefit of everyone in the meeting to work in a collaborative way. Approaching the meeting with a competitive stance will only deter progress. Come into the meeting with the mindset that everyone’s opinions are as important as your own – which they are – and it will be much easier to meet them the middle.

 

Address Individual and Group Concerns

Unless you’re really lucky, you will most likely have several members on your team that do not fully agree with everything that a certain decision entails. Their qualms may be keeping the group from meeting a consensus. The first step to overcoming the naysayers is to identify the positives of the potential decision on which everyone agrees. Once those are highlighted, then work on the concerns of the dissenters – which may be legitimate. Often, those who disagree are seen as Negative Nancies, but in reality they can see potential roadblocks that others may not. Commit to investigating those potential issues if the decision goes through. This will allow the group to move forward in the current meeting, and give flexibility to resume deliberation if the problems are insurmountable. The ultimate solution will be one that has the support of the entire group.

You know what they say about opinions: everyone has one. At the same time, everyone has the ability to understand one another and reach a compromise. As the meeting leader, you have the power to help participants find it within themselves to hear out the views of their colleagues and consider other options. Though it may take more time to gather data, solicit opinions, and address concerns, in the end the group and organization will be better off because there will be more information to make a well-reasoned decision. Maintaining a collaborative environment in the meeting will help facilitate the information-sharing stages of the meeting to lead to a consensus that meeting participants can feel good about.

Agree to Agree: 4 Steps to Consensus in Meetings is a post from: ClickMeeting Blog

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7 Advantages of Dispersed Teams http://blog.clickmeeting.com/7-advantages-of-dispersed-teams http://blog.clickmeeting.com/7-advantages-of-dispersed-teams#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2015 10:31:05 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=4198 Read more

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There was once a time when being far apart was an inconvenience to business. In order to work with someone, you’d have to travel long distances or pay a lot of money for long-distance phone calls. It could be such a drag that many people avoided it altogether and focused just on local business, limiting their potential for growth.

We’re lucky to live in a time with technologies like videoconferencing make it possible to work with people across the state, country, or even the world. Increasingly, companies are hiring virtual employees based in different locations who work together through online communication – these are called dispersed (or virtual) teams. It may seem that even with available technologies, working together in-person is still the ideal. On the contrary, there are many advantages to working in dispersed teams. Here are seven reasons why some businesses are choosing to hire around the globe.

 

Wide Variety of Talent

When you’re only looking at local applicants, you might not get what you’re looking for. Expanding your hiring pool to a national or international search will bring in more candidates that meet or exceed the job qualifications. Often, however, these candidates aren’t able to relocate, or require a hefty relocation fee – not to mention the travel arrangement just to get them in for an interview. Hiring them as virtual team members makes it feasible to choose from a diverse array of skills and talent. Your business will benefit from going with the best of the best, regardless of location.

 

High Job Satisfaction

What can managers do to make their employees happier (and therefore more productive?) Let them work from home. Studies show that telecommuting is linked to increased job satisfaction because it gives workers flexibility and better work-life balance. Unless they have offices in multiple locations (and sometimes even if they do), companies with dispersed teams usually have most of their team members working in a telecommute situation.

 

Increased Productivity

Telecommuting is also associated with increased productivity, often a result of being able to choose one’s own work environment. With dispersed teams, employees can be expected to show better overall job performance. Virtual meetings can be held quickly and efficiently, saving time for other work duties.

 

Cultural and Educational Diversity

In the global market, knowledge of different cultures is key to understanding your client base and gaining new business. When you hire virtual workers in different locations, you’re more likely to add people to your team who are from diverse cultures and backgrounds. You’ll also find people from diverse educational backgrounds, who attended unique training and degree programs that focused on desirable skills. There are many benefits to having a diverse workplace, such as increased creativity and innovation.

 

Expanded Business Hours

The typical 9-to-5 schedule works for a lot of businesses, but the standard workday isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Some companies could benefit from having extended hours, especially those that provide customer service or who have clients in other time zones. Hiring employees from different areas of the world will make it so you can expand your service hours as needed to include working hours in those locations.

 

Access to New Markets

Your dispersed team will be able to make connections with potential clients in their area. That means not only new business, but new markets that will open up to you. Imagine having access to a whole new wave of people interested in your product or service. It could be a huge boost for your company’s growth.

 

Decreased Office Costs

Now let’s talk numbers: the cost of an employee doesn’t stop at their salary and benefits. It also includes things like workspace, computer equipment, office supplies – and the list goes on. Your dispersed team won’t need a big communal office because they’ll each have one of their own. You’ll also save on those employee costs, by the way, since people living in some areas have a lower cost of living than others. Hire from smaller cities or emerging countries and you’ll end up with extra cash for growing your business.

The benefits of hiring at least some of your employees from dispersed locations far outweigh the downsides. Sure, you’ll have to have a reliable videoconferencing setup to be able to communicate, and you won’t be able to look forward to office holiday parties. There are still plenty of ways for dispersed teams to be social, stay in touch, and become close-knit. If you’re looking for ways to decrease costs, boost productivity, and expand your reach, consider getting some virtual employees on board.

7 Advantages of Dispersed Teams is a post from: ClickMeeting Blog

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Creating Engaging Webinar Titles that Capture Audience Attention http://blog.clickmeeting.com/creating-engaging-webinar-titles-that-capture-audience-attention http://blog.clickmeeting.com/creating-engaging-webinar-titles-that-capture-audience-attention#comments Fri, 14 Aug 2015 08:00:40 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=4193 Read more

Creating Engaging Webinar Titles that Capture Audience Attention is a post from: ClickMeeting Blog

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When it comes to different forms of media, your title is everything. It is the first thing people will see and it determines whether or not they will explore your article, video, or in this case, webinar, further. Even if you’ve got something interesting or highly important to say, a dull title is likely to repel customer interest. Luckily, you can turn this all around by learning to create engaging webinar titles that will grab and hold public attention effortlessly.

 

Spotting the Difference Between a Dull Title and a Catchy Once

The type of title you create depends solely on your topic, so you must let that guide you. Your topic may be about how to do something, in which your presentation will be a tutorial webinar. It may also be about educating your audience about something, so you would have to make it clear that this is your goal. Whatever your webinar intends to do, that’s how the title should start—but there is a right and wrong way to do this.

The do’s and don’ts of a webinar title can be understood by learning how to spot the difference between a good title and a bad one. Use the following criteria to decipher what will heighten interest or cause potential audience members to pass on your webinar:

 

A Dull Title:

Sounds Pedantic: If your webinar title sounds pedantic or condescending, you’re less likely to secure an audience. You don’t want to sound as if you’re putting your viewers down, and a title that addresses something they may not know or fully understand in a rude way won’t make them want to learn more from you. An example of a pedantic title would be, “Why You Probably Don’t Understand How SEO Optimization Works.” Immediately this title belittles the reader and insults their intelligence. A better title that will also catch interest would be, “How to Make SEO Optimization Easier.” This title acknowledges how your audience probably feels about the topic, and invites them to learn how to make it easier on themselves.

Rambles: Sure, you may have a lot of information to cover, but that doesn’t mean it all belongs in your title. Titles that try to include every important point of the presentation are going to repel interest every time, even if what you’ve got to say is attention-grabbing itself. Always try to be concise when creating a title so that your audience knows what to expect when they tune into your webinar. An example of a rambling title would be, “Telling Your Children the Truth about Death and Understanding their Different Reactions Depending Upon their Age and Comprehension.” A more concise way to say this would be, “How to Explain Death to Children of Different Ages.” This title encompasses all of the points of the first one, but says it in a shorter, clearer sentence.

Is Much Too Complicated: You want your audience to be able to understand what they’re getting into when they learn about your webinar, so an overcomplicated title is not going to serve you well. Instead, keep things simple and to the point so that your audience knows what to expect from your presentation. For example, an overcomplicated title would be, “The Different Stages of Decomposition in Various Species of Flora.” Translation? “Following the Deterioration of Different Plants.” Use words your audience will understand to keep them interested.

Doesn’t Try to Appeal to the Audience: The best way to alienate your audience is to forget that your webinar is targeted toward them. Without them, you have no webinar, so it is important to understand who your demographic is and how to appeal to their interests. For example, if your target audience is new parents, the following title wouldn’t work: “New Parents? Why Having Children is Financially Crippling.” Yes, this topic does relate to your target audience, but it is both insulting and frightening in one fell swoop. New parents want encouragement and helpful tips for their new journey with their children, not a pessimistic piece that is only going to bring them down and make them worry. Instead, try this title: “Planning Ahead: How to Avoid the Financial Pitfalls of New Parenthood.” This title addresses the same problem of low finances, but also offers a helpful.

 

A Catchy Title:

Employs an Action Verb to Get Things Rolling: Grab audience attention immediately by starting your title with an action verb. It immediately pulls the participant in and gives them an end goal to look forward to. For example, the title “Grow Your Business with a Brand” gives your audience something to learn, an activity to carry out, and an incentive at the end, all in one.

Contains Searchable Keywords: Optimize your webinar but including searchable keywords in the title. These are imperative for search engine optimization, which means that the better the keywords, the more likely they are to be typed into a search engine. If your title contains a good amount of keywords, your webinar should show up higher and higher on the results page, giving it (and business) more visibility and traffic. For example, if your webinar is about increasing website visitors, you will want to try a title like this, “Increase Visitors to Your Website with these Simple Changes.”

Uses a Question and Intended Outcome or a Direction: Is your webinar conquering a problem? Present it with a question and answer in your title. Is it teaching your audience how to do something through a tutorial? Put “how to” in the title to give it clear purpose and direction. These straightforward titles help potential audience members make a quick, informed decision about whether or not they want to participate in your webinar. An example of a question/answer title would be, “Are You Tired of Feeling Wired at Night? Wind Down By Turning Off Your Smartphone.” This title addresses a common problem and offers an intended solution that your audience will want to learn more about. An example of a quick and simple “how to” title would be, “How to Create a Brand that Lasts.” This title offers information that your audience can use and tells them exactly how to do it! In short, it shows your audience that your webinar will offer the solutions they’re looking for.

Has Humor: A little personality never hurt, and this is a great way to grab audience attention. By adding in a joke or a pun, your audience understands that the presentation will be both informative and fun. This is also gives you an outlet to be fun and personable in the delivery of your webinar, which can endear you to your audience and prompt them to register for your next webinar—and bring their friends. An example of a humorous, or “punny” title would be, “It’s More than a Façade: How Faux Sod Can Save Your Water Bill.”

Creating Engaging Webinar Titles that Capture Audience Attention is a post from: ClickMeeting Blog

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7 Easy Ways to Improve Virtual Meetings http://blog.clickmeeting.com/7-easy-ways-to-improve-virtual-meetings http://blog.clickmeeting.com/7-easy-ways-to-improve-virtual-meetings#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2015 07:00:02 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=4189 Read more

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Meetings are an opportunity for individuals to come together as a team for group discussion, decision-making, and debriefing. They’re far from easy: disagreements and confusion can occur, and some meetings can be long and tedious. Whether the meeting is in-person or virtual, it is up to the meeting leader or facilitator to make it as pleasant as possible for attendees, which will in turn make meeting participants more effective at achieving goals.

In any meeting, people need three things for effective collaboration, according to the late American psychologist Will Schutz: inclusion, control, and openness. Because of the distance factor, meeting leaders need to think creatively about how they can provide for these basic needs. The following 7 tips are designed specifically to make a difference in achieving this for virtual teams.

 

Call People By Their Name

Using someone’s name when you address them is a sign of respect and trust. You might do this occasionally in face-to-face meetings, but it’s even more important in virtual meetings. It can be difficult to tell who is being addressed in a videoconference if names aren’t used frequently. In addition to providing clarity, it also makes people feel included.

 

Take Polls for Agreement and Understanding

Before moving on to the next topic, everyone in a meeting should be on the same page. Whenever the group is working toward an agreement, address everyone by name and ask for their opinion. If the group decides to move forward with a decision, make sure, one by one, that each person understands the decision and agrees to move forward. Be direct and specific: ask whether they understand X statement, what they think about X opinion, etc. This step provides all group members with a sense of control.

 

Have IT Specialists on Call

Even when you put all your ducks in a row, you never know when you’re going to have technical difficulties in an online meeting. Don’t rely on the people in the meeting to solve the issue. Instead, inform your local IT team (or someone else who knows what they’re doing) that you’re having a virtual meeting so they can be ready for you to call them for support when needed. Quickly resolving any technical issues will make your group have more confidence in the meeting.

 

Explain Roles and Contributions

Sometimes, people arrive a meeting, but they’re unsure what their role is. If they never find out, they may lose interest. It’s hard to be interested in a meeting topic when you don’t know why you should be interested. At the beginning of the meeting, clarify to the group who each person is (if they haven’t met) and what they can be expected to contribute to the meeting. On the agenda, include each person’s name next to the items that pertain to them.

 

Organize Topics Deliberately

Every person in your meeting may not need to stay the entire time. This fact should be considered when you’re putting together the meeting agenda. Organize the order of topics in a way that caters to the group members’ schedules. If Linda has to leave 15 minutes early, put her issue early in the meeting. There may be a topic that relates to the entire team, but the rest of the meeting is only intended for a few people; in this case, have the all-inclusive topic be the first thing you discuss. Show respect for people’s time and their respect for you will increase in kind.

 

Set Ground Rules for Using the Software

Ground rules are a must for any meeting. For virtual meetings, the ground rules should include do’s and don’ts for using the videoconferencing software appropriately. For example, you might make a rule that no side conversation is allowed in the chat box, and another that states participants who don’t currently have the floor should mute their microphones. Making everyone agree to these rules puts all members on a level playing field and reduces distractions.

 

Put Shared Notes on the Screen

Often in face-to-face meetings, a scribe is designated to take notes for the group on a whiteboard or easel notepad. All participants need to be able to see these notes to maintain their accuracy and use it a frame of reference. When hosting some virtual attendees in an otherwise face-to-face meeting, make sure notes are clearly visible to them. You may even want to take the notes on a computer – put them on a projector for in-person attendees and share your screen with virtual team members. For an all-virtual meeting, the note-taker can share their screen throughout the meeting or when appropriate to reference notes.

The quality of virtual meetings is much improved even from a few years ago. Part of this has to do with more advanced technologies, like better image quality and increased Internet service speeds. The other part is enhanced understanding of meeting dynamics. Even when technology performs imperfectly, you can make a meeting better with these simple steps. They’ll lead to more collaborative meetings by catering to the social and informational needs of your team members.

7 Easy Ways to Improve Virtual Meetings is a post from: ClickMeeting Blog

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5 Reasons to Hire a Virtual Assistant http://blog.clickmeeting.com/5-reasons-to-hire-a-virtual-assistant http://blog.clickmeeting.com/5-reasons-to-hire-a-virtual-assistant#comments Mon, 10 Aug 2015 07:43:46 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=4185 Read more

5 Reasons to Hire a Virtual Assistant is a post from: ClickMeeting Blog

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Virtual assistants are new breed of secretaries that are changing the way people do business. Most of them are contractors or freelancers who do work as needed or for a set number of part-time hours each week. They’re helping entrepreneurs, business owners and independent consultants get hours of their workweek back and make their businesses more efficient. Videoconferencing has made hiring and managing virtual assistants extremely easy.

There are thousands of contractors to be found on websites like Upwork that are experts at bookkeeping, online research, data entry, scheduling, and other repetitive tasks. These tasks are essential to a smoothly run business, but are somewhat removed from the role of CEO. Getting someone else to pick up this work can be a weight off the shoulders, and virtual assistants don’t require things like office space or a benefits package. Here are 5 reasons why you might consider hiring a virtual assistant to deal with the minutiae.

 

Focus on Running Your Business

Being the head of a company means creating a business strategy, meeting with potential clients, making decisions, and managing your staff, among a half-dozen other things. If you have to do all the administrative stuff, too, it takes away from doing what it takes to make your business thrive. You don’t have to do it all. Save your time for doing the work that you do best: making your business thrive.

 

Increase Your Productivity

You might be a superstar, but you’re still human. Like all of us, you’ve got a personal life as well as a professional life. Unfortunately, one can often get in the way of another. A virtual assistant can take care of personal tasks, like arranging the delivery of your new bedroom set and making doctor appointments.

 

Get Your Mornings (and Evenings) Back

The first hour of the day is the most important. A productive first hour can set the tone for the rest. Similarly, your last few hours are a time for much-needed rest to save energy for the next day. With a virtual assistant, you’ll never spend another early morning or late night doing paperwork.

 

Do More of What You Enjoy

You started a business for a reason: you wanted to see your dream become reality. Odds are, that dream didn’t include crunching numbers or doing hours of Google research. If you bog yourself down with too much of the day-to-day stuff, being your own boss is going to seem like a chore. Bring the fun back into your work by enlisting a virtual assistant.

 

A Virtual Assistant Can Do It Better

Business owners have a certain skillset, but it varies depending on the individual. You are probably a strong leader who is able to follow a vision with practical steps. However, you might not be good with numbers or be savvy with PowerPoint. Whatever you aren’t particularly skilled in, those are the tasks you should assign to your virtual assistant. They will get done more efficiently and effectively.

Virtual assistants also have unique skillsets. Look for someone who’s a good match with your needs as well as your budget. The great thing about hiring a virtual assistant is that they’re typically quite affordable compared to a salaried secretary. Though they work remotely, virtual assistants can be integral, essential parts of a business team.

5 Reasons to Hire a Virtual Assistant is a post from: ClickMeeting Blog

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Is Your Webinar Agenda Lacking? http://blog.clickmeeting.com/is-your-webinar-agenda-lacking http://blog.clickmeeting.com/is-your-webinar-agenda-lacking#comments Fri, 07 Aug 2015 07:10:24 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=4181 Read more

Is Your Webinar Agenda Lacking? is a post from: ClickMeeting Blog

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When you have important information to relay to a classroom, in a meeting, to your boss, or your customers, you want to do it in such a way that it grabs the attention of your audience. This can already be difficult when holding a presentation in person, but what about when holding a webinar?

Webinars, or online seminars, are a modern and engaging way to present information to geographically dispersed audiences for a low cost. They provide the invaluable convenience of being able to reach potentially thousands of people live without having to spend hundreds on travel expenses.

Your audience will receive a valuable service as well as necessary information while you get the flexibility of a virtual-based lecture. While webinars provide such a dynamic service, it’s easy to lose audience interest if you present a less than stimulating seminar. Like any presentation, it is important to plan well so that your seminar will not only effectively convey information, but also hold your audience’s attention. If your webinar agenda is lacking, you could be losing more than just attention over time.

 

How To Know Your Webinar Agenda May Be Lacking

In person, it doesn’t take long to notice when a presentation is bombing. People may begin to pull out their phones, fidget, doodle on scraps of paper, and zone out. While this can make you feel embarrassed and even disrespected, at least you know straight away that your lecture could use some livening up.

However, when conducting a webinar you could miss some cues from your audience simply because you cannot see them and subsequently have no idea if and when your presentation starts to falter.

With this in mind, it is important to consider your webinar from an objective point of view to see what should be dropped, added, and whether or not it is as interesting as it could be.

Scrutinize your webinar for the following factors:

Disorganization: It might seem obvious to have a set plan for your webinar, but not all presentations are as organized as they ought to be. When there’s no organization to what you’re saying, your audience will be able to notice and will most likely react accordingly. To remedy this, always draw up an itinerary for your webinar the same way a teacher creates a lesson plan. Be sure to fill every minute of your webinar with either information, activities, questions, or visual aids.

It’s Not Interactive: One of the best parts about webinars is that they allow both you and your audience to be open to different technologies and features. If you’re hosting a webinar and treat, it as nothing more than lecture, your audience is going to be bored and your webinar is going to fail. Take advantage of polls, games, and other interactive components that can be used in a webinar to engage your audience and keep them involved with what you’re saying.

There are No Visual Aids: Even if you don’t (or can’t) use interactive technology and apps you should still have something of interest in your webinar. Visual aids are a great way to help you audience stay interested and engaged even if they can’t interact. These aids are also great for audience members who are visual learners. If your presentation has a large volume of statistics use visual aids of graphs, charts, and infographics to help your audience make sense of all your data.

Your Presentation Doesn’t Cater to Your Product/Business/Lesson: It is important to make sure that a webinar is the best choice to convey the information you want. Sometimes, things can be better said using a Powerpoint presentation, a typed report, a video, or even a conference call. The best way to figure out whether this option is best for you is to take a poll and even try a few test runs with a test audience. Once you’ve collected the data, you’ll be able to make an informed decision.

 

Top Two Tips For Creating An Engaging Agenda

So now that you know the pitfalls to avoid, how can you create an engaging agenda for your webinar?

Again, like a lesson plan in a classroom, you have to make sure that everything you want to say is said in a concise, informative, and interesting manner. The best way to create an engaging agenda is to do the following:

Know Your Audience: When giving a presentation, you don’t want to just throw out information and hope it’ll stick or interest someone. You want your audience to already have an interest in what you have to say—otherwise why are they attending the webinar? The best way to get to know your audience is to advertise your webinar accordingly. Find them where they live whether that means reaching them through email, Facebook, Twitter or other social media accounts where they may exist and be most likely to congregate. You can also gather information about your audience by including sign up and registration steps before allowing attendance. This will help you to identify themes and trends, if any, amongst those who sign up. Once you have this information, you’ll be better prepared to create webinar that plays to audience interests.

Plan to Fill In All Your Time: When you have idle time in your webinar, you’re susceptible to a lot of filler words and wasted time. You might even find yourself with long silences and a lot of “ummmmms.” When this happens, your audience can lose attention and they’ll most likely notice that you didn’t plan as well as you could have. This circles back to creating an itinerary and a plan that you can follow down to the very last minute so that you’re always on, always engaging, and you never lose your flow or your pace. Be careful not to put too much into each minute because that can overload you and your audience, leaving them feeling exhausted and overtaxed. Instead, make sure each topic is focused on for five to ten minutes at most; adjust times when needed.

Is Your Webinar Agenda Lacking? is a post from: ClickMeeting Blog

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10 Tips To Rock Your Next Educational Webinar http://blog.clickmeeting.com/10-tips-to-rock-your-next-educational-webinar http://blog.clickmeeting.com/10-tips-to-rock-your-next-educational-webinar#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 07:44:07 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=4165 Read more

10 Tips To Rock Your Next Educational Webinar is a post from: ClickMeeting Blog

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Educational webinars are all over the web, and for good reason. Using webinar technology to hold educational seminars online is one of the most effective tools to bring people together for learning no matter where they maybe in the world. Educational webinars are used by government entities, schools, and also by marketers and businesses who want to reach a targeted audience in their industry or niche. The use of a webinar platform allows you to reach an unlimited audience pool without them or you ever having to leave home.

While webinars are an exciting form of media, they can be daunting, especially when using them as a teaching tool. One of the main reasons for this is that you cannot see your audience, and so their engagement and interest can be harder to gage, two important elements that help teachers perfect their art in a traditional classroom.

 

10 Tips To Rock Your Next Educational Webinar

Here are some guidelines to help you rock your next educational webinar.

 

1. Be Creative. Don’t be afraid to research and try new ideas for your website. Slide shows are the standard, but it doesn’t mean they are the only tool available. Consider interactive aspects such as polls, question-and-answer sessions, or interactive graphs, if available.

 

2. Remember Your Audience. Having a general idea of how much your audience knows about the subject of your webinar provides the context you need to keep them interested. It will help the presenter to not spend too much time on general overviews. Asking beforehand the kind of information they would like to know about your subject can be a great benefit as well.

 

3. Advertise. Make sure you webinar is well-known on all the social media outlets your company uses. This means updating them regularly and posting about it more than once (but not more than once a day, as this can lead to tuning out). Also be sure that there is a clear, obvious link to the presentation right on your company’s main page- any difficulty in finding the webinar itself will detract customers.

 

4. Call for Questions. The adage is a cliché, but still true: “There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers.” While public input needs to be closely monitored to avoid virtual hecklers (which is rarely a problem unless you are presenting something especially controversial), genuine curiosity needs to be addressed in your webinar.

 

5. Interact with the audience. Interactivity is an excellent way to ensure your audience’s attention and help them retain what they have learned. Since you do not have the advantage of hands-on activities in an online webinar, asking for questions using a chat feature will help to keep them engaged.

 

6. Compartmentalize. Remember, if you feel like you cannot cover all the necessary content in the hour or so your audience has dedicated to the webinar that means that the opportunity for new content is available. Making fresh, new content will allow you to diversify between a general and advanced level and create loyal, returning customers.

 

7. Know Your Tone. Being able to speak one-on-one with each person in the webinar rather than a general audience is a great way to maintain focus. An example of how to achieve this is to have an interview with another person during the webinar or to describe whatever your subject is to a person who is physically in the room with you during the presentation.

 

8. Remember Your Focus. If you are planning to use your educational webinar to market your product or service, make your intention clear before starting the webinar, and keep it brief. Your audience does not want to feel as if they have spent their precious free time watching an infomercial, and it will leave a poor impression, regardless of the quality of the presentation as a whole.

 

9. Make it Accessible. Especially if your business is too small for social media or IT staff, it is crucial to make sure that your webinar will work across multiple browsers, operating systems, and platforms. Remember that mobile access is a must- your customers will be trying to watch your presentation with a smartphone or tablet, and they may be running on limited data access.

 

10. Entertain. Don’t be afraid to have some fun with your subject. Videos, anecdotes, and pictures, as long as they are relevant to the content at hand, can be a great way to leave a positive impression. Not everyone can dress up in their subject like Mrs. Frizzle of The Magic School Bus, but there are always original ways to incorporate your theme.

 

Most importantly, practice makes perfect. Using these general tips with discipline over time can make a serious difference in the quality of your content and generate more business.

10 Tips To Rock Your Next Educational Webinar is a post from: ClickMeeting Blog

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5 Things That May Be Derailing Your Work-at-Home Productivity http://blog.clickmeeting.com/5-things-that-may-be-derailing-your-work-at-home-productivity http://blog.clickmeeting.com/5-things-that-may-be-derailing-your-work-at-home-productivity#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 08:40:32 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=4161 Read more

5 Things That May Be Derailing Your Work-at-Home Productivity is a post from: ClickMeeting Blog

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Working at home comes with a lot of perks. You can work in your pajamas, be flexible with your hours, and take breaks whenever you want, all in the comfort of your own home. But the question is, should you be doing these things? While there’s no doubt that working at home has the potential to increase productivity, certain habits acquired while working at home can actually decrease productivity. The conveniences of videoconferencing software have made the privilege of telecommuting possible. Use it responsibly by avoiding these five work-at-home no-nos.

 

Setting Up Shop in Bed (or Your Kitchen, or Your Living Room)

There are a lot of comfortable places in your home: your bed, of course, but also maybe the couch in your living room and the breakfast nook in your kitchen. It’s important to be comfortable when you’re working, and you might be tempted to work in one of these spaces. The problem in that these spaces are more designed for relaxing, not working. Instead of trying to get work done in a space meant for other activities, set up a designated work space, such as an office or, if that isn’t possible, a desk and chair in the corner of a quiet room. You’ll be able to focus better because your mind will associate that space with being productive.

 

Working Odd Hours

Your telecommuting situation gives you some flexibility in your work schedule. You could do a little work in the morning, clean the bathrooms in the afternoon and finish up your workday in the evening. But to stay on track it’s best to keep regular work hours rather than breaking them up throughout the 24 hours in a day. If your coworkers are working a 9 to 5 schedule, you should be too (or roughly that; 7 to 4 or 10 to 6 would also be acceptable). The idea here is to keep yourself in “work mode” and also make yourself more available to coworkers and clients who might need to get in touch during those hours.

 

Misusing Your Break Time

Everyone needs regular breaks during the workday. Scheduling breaks is as important for telecommuters as it is for in-office workers. Yet break time can be much more accessible for people who work at home. Oh, sure, you can just stop for 20 minutes to play a game on the Xbox or take your dog for a walk… and suddenly, a full hour has passed. Keeping careful track of break time, and choosing break time activities that don’t eat up your day, are two key ways to maintain control of your work schedule.

 

Staying in Your PJs

This is probably the hardest “don’t” in this article. Being able to wear your PJs all day seems like a given when you’re working from home. However, just like the space you decide to work in, what you decide to wear also determines your mindset. If you go throughout your day and never change from your PJs into work clothes, mentally you’ll feel as relaxed and detached from work as you did when you went to bed. Make it part of your morning routine to act as though you were heading to the office: shower, brush your teeth, and dress for the part.

 

Being Incommunicado

If you complete projects on time and don’t hear any complaints, that’s a good thing. But if you’re getting your work done and not interacting with your peers, you’re not fully doing your job. Part of work is being social with coworkers and your boss: checking in about new projects, exchanging ideas, and getting feedback. For employees who work at home 5 days a week, neglecting to check in could make them forget that you even exist. Take it upon yourself to connect with your peers so you stay in the loop and your good work gets recognized.

Even if you eliminate these five bad habits, there are still a lot of benefits to working at home. If you have a child, you can stay home with them and save on daycare; you’ll never forget your lunch again; and you can easily run a quick errand near your house on break time. Just remember that working at home is still work. Hold yourself accountable to fulfilling your duties, and you’ll reap the benefits of being both at home and at work.

5 Things That May Be Derailing Your Work-at-Home Productivity is a post from: ClickMeeting Blog

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What Videoconferencing Can Do For Business Communication http://blog.clickmeeting.com/what-videoconferencing-can-do-for-business-communication http://blog.clickmeeting.com/what-videoconferencing-can-do-for-business-communication#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 08:10:16 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=4154 Read more

What Videoconferencing Can Do For Business Communication is a post from: ClickMeeting Blog

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Videoconferencing has been helping businesses achieve their goals since its inception. Yet many businesses are still working primarily with audio-only forms of communication to communicate remotely. Still others aren’t optimizing the ways in which they use videoconferencing. The number of businesses using videoconferencing is increasing at a rapid rate, but do businesses really know all of what videoconferencing can do?

All businesses rely on communication to get their work done. There are many different scenarios where communication is necessary: hiring new employees, training current ones, collaborating on projects, and interacting with customers or clients are the primary ones. These processes translate very well to a videoconferencing platform, and this can save money and time.

 

Meetings and Collaborations

No matter what the topic, conference calls naturally make people want to zone out. The reason for this, at least in part, is that people pay more attention at meetings when they are physically present with others. If no one can see them, and they can’t see the speaker, their attention may wander. A videoconference-based meeting simulates a face-to-face meeting much more accurately than a conference call. They’re also more convenient than a face-to-face meeting; if people can’t attend in person, the meeting doesn’t have to be rescheduled if they can attend on videoconference. Collaborations with remote workers, long-distance clients and satellite offices are made easier, and meetings become more engaging with multimedia capabilities.

 

Recruiting and Hiring

Each position at a company is unique, and finding the right person for the job requires detailed scrutiny of each candidate’s credentials. Face-to-face interviews are an opportunity to get to know candidates and see what they know about your field – but they can be time-consuming and if paying for travel costs, they can also be expensive. Remote interviews via videoconferencing allow search committees to interview the best candidates from a broader pool of qualified professionals around the world. They can also conduct the interviews sooner without the need for travel. A videoconference-based initial interview far exceeds the quality of a phone interview, as recruiters can have face-to-face interactions and observe candidates’ personality and professionalism first-hand.

 

Training and Professional Development

Keeping employees up-to-date on skills and knowledge is paramount to business success, as is implementing the latest processes and technologies. Training is an investment in your employees as well as your company. Get the most bang for your buck by holding training sessions over videoconferencing software. You can even invite guest speakers to talk about important ideas in your field in an online seminar. Optional trainings will be more highly attended if employees can tune in from their own offices, whether it’s upstairs or across the country. With the ability to easily record these sessions, live trainings can be converted to recorded videos that your employees can access anytime.

 

Customer Service and Satisfaction

Videoconferencing can do a lot for internal communications, but it also has potential for being a point-of-service for interacting with customers and checking in with clients. A consultation over a videoconference is personal, fast, and reassuring compared to communication via a phone call or social media. Customers want more reliable assistance, and videoconferencing can deliver just that by allowing employees to reach them face-to-face at the click of a mouse. All types of businesses are using videoconferencing to reach their client base – from health care providers providing a diagnosis to retailers helping a customer with a return.

 

There are many other ways that businesses communicate internally, with other businesses, and with clients. Businesses are becoming innovative in how they use videoconferencing to increase their value and improve services through accessible communication. With the ability to reach anyone, anywhere, anytime, videoconferencing will only grow as a communication medium – and the most successful businesses will be those that can capitalize on it.

How does videoconferencing improve your business communications? Share your story in the comments.

What Videoconferencing Can Do For Business Communication is a post from: ClickMeeting Blog

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10 Reasons to Create A Webinar Today! http://blog.clickmeeting.com/10-reasons-to-create-a-webinar-today http://blog.clickmeeting.com/10-reasons-to-create-a-webinar-today#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 08:06:15 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=4151 Read more

10 Reasons to Create A Webinar Today! is a post from: ClickMeeting Blog

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If you’re unsure whether or not you should create a webinar for your business, brand, product, or skills, this is the article for you. Webinars are useful for reaching many people with very little effort.

There are apps and software programs available online that help you promote your webinar, register attendees, and even set up payments if you webinar requires that service. When conducting a webinar, you are most likely hoping to reach potential clients and customers from all around the world. The appeal of the webinar, of course, is based in this ability to be accessible worldwide because it means that your business, brand, or product can be seen and gain popularity, thus fueling the fire of success.

Still need convincing to create a webinar? Here are 10 reasons why you should.

    1. Build An Email Marketing List: When creating a webinar, attendees will have to register to sign in to view your presentation. During this registration process you can collect general information about your attendees such as their email addresses. This is great for future marketing plans because you’ll have a built in audience ready to receive your information and pass it on to their family, colleagues, and friends—thus building an even wider marketing list.

 

  • Promote A Product: Let’s face it: not many people enjoy reading long articles or over hyped faceless sales pages explaining what a product does. Instead, show them and their interest will be almost immediate! A webinar is the perfect mix of video and article because it lets you explain your product with a flawless visual right there with you the entire time. It doesn’t hurt either that a webinar is better than promoting products in person because you can reach more people through the web.

 

 

  • Connect With An Audience: Again, webinars are most useful for reaching a lot of people at one time. When you use a webinar to get your name, face, and brand out there, you have a chance to connect with your virtual audience. Show your personality through your webinar by including fun but useful props, videos, and more. It is also helpful that through a webinar you lose the tension and nervousness that comes from speaking in front of a live crowd, allowing your cool, confident, and relaxed persona to stand front and center.

 

 

  • Build Your Brand: Your brand is the name, logo, and face you present to the world. It’s what represents your product or business and lets your clients and customers know where you are. Brands are only useful when they are built up to be strong and far-reaching so that as many people as possible can recognize them. A webinar can help this along by promoting your brand to your viewers and those who will distribute your webinar across social media accounts and blogs, building awareness and interest.

 

 

  • Establish Your Expertise In Your Industry: You can advertise your skills and talk about them all you want, but your followers are going to want and need proof before they offer money or support of any kind to your cause, product, or business. Webinars can help establish your expertise because these useful presentations promote a sense of professionalism and experience for a company or individual. Webinars are meant to convey information in a fast, efficient way. If you can create a well put-together webinar that showcases your knowledge of your product, your field, and your brand, you can build up trust and understanding amongst your followers.

 

 

  • Educate Your Customers in Your Niche: Do you have a product or idea that’s not widely known or understood? Are you trying to build up an industry that doesn’t have a lot of information on it already? If so, a webinar is a great way to educate your audience about your specific niche. Invite them in and explain how things work, what they can expect, how it’s done, why it’s useful, or anything you can think of to make the waters of your brand a little less murky.

 

 

  • Teach Customers How to Use Software Products: Many people are visual learners which means they learn best when being shown how to do something rather than just having it explained to them. Radio broadcasts and articles can only verbally explain how to do something either aloud or in writing, and for some, this type of explanation makes no impression. Visual learners need to see by example; they need to see it done before they can ever hope to understand the explanation. If you have tech or software products that require a lot of steps or explaining, a webinar is a great way to turn your explanation into a visual aid.

 

 

  • Promote Your Company or Business: Think of this type of webinar as one long, extremely informative commercial about your company or business. When using a webinar to promote, you have the space to include as much information as you want or need. Take advantage of your allotted time and the fact that your audience wants to be here and get everything out into the open. Remember that promotion relies heavily on marketing, so be sure to look into advertising strategies to make your “promotion webinar” go smoothly.

 

 

  • Leverage and Grow Your Credibility: As previously stated, webinars establish a certain amount of professionalism. This means that the more webinars you do, the more your audience can get to know you and your business or company, as well as your product or brand. Build your credibility by creating informative webinars that are as interesting as they are useful. This is a great, quick way to build credibility and generate widespread interest in your product or company.

 

 

  • One on One Contact With Your Customers: If you allow feedback or provide contact information in your webinar, you give the luxury of one on one contact with you to your audience. They may have specific questions and concerns that cannot be found in the FAQ section of your website, making this direct line to you extremely valuable.

 

10 Reasons to Create A Webinar Today! is a post from: ClickMeeting Blog

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