ClickMeeting http://blog.clickmeeting.com Online Meetings. Solved! Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:27:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Box? What box? Stepping outside of the Monitor http://blog.clickmeeting.com/box-box-stepping-outside-monitor http://blog.clickmeeting.com/box-box-stepping-outside-monitor#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:27:50 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=3353 Read more

Box? What box? Stepping outside of the Monitor is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Thinking outside of the box is such a typical cliché that we all apply from time to time when faced with the need to revamp our business model. So if you are in a box, and you know it, then that is the first step: Getting over the denial, so to speak. The smart thing about this realization is that now you can start to look around at a sea of opportunities for you to stand out against the rest and make a strategic plan to establish yourself, your business model, and your product as the investment that you know is already worth the time. By combining webinars, videoconferencing, and a few in-person tactics you can completely shatter the box.

The World Of Talking Heads.

We live in a era when we see people all of the time through media in one form or another. Whether it’s on TV, electronic advertising, or even just talking to family over video, the world of talking heads is one we live in. So how do you keep yourself from becoming just another one of the talking heads? Well, for starters obviously being unique and having relevant information is the most important, but beyond that there are a few tips that you can implement to help you bust your business out of the box and give it that supercharged rush that causes people to begin to buzz. You want the world of talking heads on your side. Remember that and you will begin to see how currents in trends can begin to work in your favor.

 

Give People The Ability To Reach You

154066058An email address just isn’t enough anymore. Now we all have websites, rich blog content, information, and even at times a touch of the personal. These are all good and in order to bring it to the next level, you have to begin correspondence. Sounds tedious and time consuming, considering all of the other work that goes into pulling together a project, remember though, that the end result is worth it. That end result is a stronger relationship with the people that are going to help keep you afloat. It’s about connections and not numbers.

 

Offer Incentives, Give Away Prizes.

Yep. Even adults love to win prizes. Who doesn’t? So if you have something that you can offer as an award it really can bring in the attention and show that you care about your audience. The giveaway also opens up your opportunity to establish a greater callback opportunity. Have people sign up for a newsletter, get them to get o n a mailing list, have them recommend the site through their social media. Utilize these free resources to build your business. If you need to give away a few t-shirts in the process, than that’s just even more advertising that’s going out into the world to spread the word of what you are producing.

 

Do Some Legwork

102115754Offering free seminars can be an awesome way to truly establish that human connection that will get your project out of the box. You may have to do a little traveling to get to a prime location to host your event. Once you find the right location all you have to do is put out the word that you will be having a live seminar to your online audience and watch as people pour in. There is still much to be said about having legitimate, actual, face-to-face time.

When you supplement your videoconferences and webinars with live work you get the double benefit of meeting people face-to-face, but then also you have the opportunity to broadcast through the web and even charge for that. Show-up, get in free, go online and you pay. You don’t have to charge a lot, but it is enough to boost the incentive for people to come out and actually get to know you and your brand.

 

Be Patient, They Will Arrive

200309838-001Don’t get too caught up in how high your attendance is on any of these out-of-the-box techniques. You may only have two people sign up for a sweepstakes that you offer. Maybe only fifty people show up at your first in-person seminar. These are times when it is important to remember that it is quality and not quantity that are going to carry you over. Sometimes people just don’t get the chance to respond to everything that is going on through the social media spheres. In fact, hardly anyone does.

For this reason, simply putting the opportunities out there for people to see you as more than just another talking head is where the critical elements lie. It’s isn’t so important that you have the active participation, but you do need to have the presentation and the access in case one would want to get further involved with your aims.

Box? What box? Stepping outside of the Monitor is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Signed, Sealed, Delivered: 5 Steps to Improving Information Delivery in a Webinar http://blog.clickmeeting.com/signed-sealed-delivered-5-steps-improving-information-delivery-webinar-2 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/signed-sealed-delivered-5-steps-improving-information-delivery-webinar-2#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 12:01:52 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=3344 Read more

Signed, Sealed, Delivered: 5 Steps to Improving Information Delivery in a Webinar is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Webinars average about an hour in length. The average attention span is 8 seconds. When you deliver a webinar, you are racing against time in two dimensions: the amount of time you have to present, and the amount of time you’ll have your audience’s attention. There is no time to waste with superfluous slides and discussions. Effectively delivering the information you want to get across is your #1 objective as a presenter.

Eliminate distractions

In order to have your audience’s full attention, look into what possible distractions exist in your presenting environment. Excess noise is an obvious one. Conduct your webinar in a quiet space and inform others of your presence so no one will walk in and interrupt. If you are in a home office, take the dog outside, put the baby to bed, and finish running your laundry before running your live webinar. Test your microphone to make sure there won’t be any feedback when you speak. Visually speaking, when you’re delivering your webinar, don’t have other windows open that aren’t related to your discussion. And not to nag, but clean up your computer desktop. Odds are your audience will see it, and a messy one looks bad and is yet another distraction.

 

Don’t be married to what’s in your slides

pytanieYou put a lot of work into your slides, and that’s great. A solid set of slides made with Powerpoint or other presentation software is essential. However, following the slides exactly as planned is not. In fact, it can be detrimental to your presentation to be so rigid. Loosen up. Ultimately, you want to deliver information that your audience can use. So find out early on in the presentation what they are interested in learning. Do a poll or take a moment to get feedback. Their interests, not yours, should guide your webinar. You can add in additional information as appropriate, or move around out of order to cover specific topics. Dare to go out of sequence if it will make your presentation more relevant to your audience.

 

Weed out slides that don’t deliver key information

It seemed like a good idea at the time. That slide looked good when you made it, but maybe it only looked good next to the other stellar ones around it. When it comes to showing it on its own in the presentation, it stands out in a bad way. Sometimes, information that you want to present gets clouded by unnecessary slides. Not every point you make needs its own slide, especially if you have a long presentation already. Slides that are inserted for “fun,” like those containing quotes and images, are fine as long as they stay on point. Examples of slides that can be weeded out include:

  • Short slides that you only plan to show for a few seconds
  • Slides that include repeat information
  • Slides that contain mostly images and not much content
  • Slides that contain large blocks of text (no one will read this!)
  • “Flashy” slides that show off your design skills, and not your message

Consider consolidating the information in slides you want to eliminate into other slides. However, don’t let any individual slide get too cluttered. Some content may just have to be let go.

 

Build a relationship with your audience

dv1954038Your audience is there for you. You need to be there for your audience. From the first minute of your presentation, you should be fully engaging your webinar attendees. First, get to know them. Welcome each person as they enter the virtual room. Conduct polls to find out more about them, and pay attention to questions that are typed into the chat box. Start off your presentation with an interesting story, factoid or anecdote that will get them hooked on what you have to say. Take questions as they come up to give a natural flow to the discussion and to make sure they’re stay with you.

An audience that is well taken care of will be appreciative. Give them any information they need about the videoconferencing software to get the most from their experience. Make use of application-sharing features that enhance their sense of being right there with you – show them a website in the browser and click through what you want to show them, rather displaying screenshots. Provide your contact information, and follow up within 24 hours with any presentation materials you want to send. And always thank them for their time.

 

Don’t make a live presentation sound pre-recorded

76756458A webinar that could just as easily have been recorded as delivered live leaves audience members thinking that they could have spent their time on something better. And the truth is, they could. What you want is for them to feel like attending your webinar was a positive, invaluable experience. Pre-recorded webinars that are not originally presented to a live audience are often read from a script, or worse, read directly from the presentation slides. Avoid doing either of these things, as your audience will recognize what you’re doing and tune out, just like they might with a pre-recorded session.

Utilize the tips above to make your webinar as close to the live experience as possible. People attend live webinars in part because they want to have a social experience. Give them that, and the information you want them to take away will sink in that much easier.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered: 5 Steps to Improving Information Delivery in a Webinar is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Your Presentation, The Movie: Turning a Recording into a Blockbuster Hit http://blog.clickmeeting.com/presentation-movie-turning-recording-blockbuster-hit http://blog.clickmeeting.com/presentation-movie-turning-recording-blockbuster-hit#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 13:45:21 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=3332 Read more

Your Presentation, The Movie: Turning a Recording into a Blockbuster Hit is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Lights, camera, action! Recording a version of your presentation can draw Internet attention to what you have to say and reach many more people than a face-to-face talk.  But on the Web, anyone can be a star.  There is plenty of other content to compete for your audience’s attention.  How can you maximize the time they spend watching your recorded presentation?

Kind of like writing, captivating the collective Web is more a matter of editing than it is a matter of creating.  Of course, elements like lighting, sound quality and content are all key to any presentation recording worth watching.  But assuming that you – and many others – already have this going, there are some additional steps that can keep your audience tuned in.  If your production is focused, so will be their eyes on your content.

 

Better viewership through segmented content

head-clockThe average person doesn’t watch anything for more than a few minutes online.  Even when watching TV, commercials provide for a constant interruption.  Modern minds are not accustomed to paying attention for extended periods of time.  So as a general rule, you’ll want to keep your videos to 5 minutes or less. “Five minutes?!” you may exclaim.  “But I’ve got hours of content worth watching!”

That may be true – you may even be the Steven Spielberg of recorded PowerPoint presentations.  It doesn’t matter.  When browsing online, people want to get concise information that they can absorb quickly.  Attention spans seem to wane on the Internet.  Your goal is to optimize how much they can get from the presentation – and how much of your content you can market.  This is best achieved by honing in on a very specific topic.

013If giving a longer presentation, break it up into shorter segments based on logical stopping points and design a menu to display the links to each one.  This gives an added advantage of making the content 20, 30, or 40 minutes into your presentation more visible to your audience.  Instead of being buried in the middle of a 1-hour video, what most interests a particular viewer is right there for them to click on.

 

Never forget your lines again

In a face-to-face presentation, you don’t have to fight for attention.  Your audience is there in front of you, and while they may make idle chat with their neighbor from time to time, for the most part you’re the center of the universe for the duration of your talk.  But when your webinar is recorded, there’s no unspoken agreement to pay attention.

105939356Reading from a script is a no-no when you’re giving a face-to-face presentation.  The point then is to engage with your audience by looking at them and addressing them directly with a natural, conversational demeanor.  That’s your end of the bargain.  But with a presentation recording, it’s just the opposite.  Captivating your audience depends on your reading from a script.  Having the words right in front of you will keep you from tripping on the words your memory provides – which are sometimes wrong or not there at all.  A smooth reading of exactly what you want to say is best, no matter how well you know the material.

 

Autopilot audio will crash and burn

It sounded perfect when you read it aloud during your recording.  There’s only one way to be sure: check your audio!  Listen to the recording before publishing it, and edit or re-record as needed.  Nothing turns away an audience like mumbling, muttering, or background noise.  Without clear audio, your message won’t get across in your speech, and they’ll have to resort to reading the slides – which defeats the entire purpose of the video!

Stack of  movie films spool with filmTo make editing easier, record the audio for each slide separately.  That way, the producer or editor of the video can note places on each slide where sound was muffled or the speaker slipped up.  Then you can just re-record the audio for that slide without having to edit one large audio file for the entire segment.

 

Slide to slide in 60 seconds

Though the recording couldn’t be made without audio, the meat of the project is still the presentation itself – the visual candy that makes sense of the fancy talk.  Your slides should be filled with captivating content and images, used appropriately but not to excess.

No matter how great the slides are, it’s bad narrative practice to let any one slide linger too long.  Keeping them moving at a pace of about one slide every 60 seconds will help your audience “get” your message.  You won’t want the slides to go by too quickly so that viewers don’t absorb the content; yet leaving them stuck on one slide for a long time detaches what you’re saying from the visual cue.  Sixty seconds is a good length to shoot for that will give them enough time to read and be ready for the next great piece of content.

Your Presentation, The Movie: Turning a Recording into a Blockbuster Hit is a post from: ClickMeeting

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How A Webinar Can Facilitate You To Establish Expertise And Become An Influencer In Your Industry http://blog.clickmeeting.com/webinar-can-facilitate-establish-expertise-become-influencer-industry http://blog.clickmeeting.com/webinar-can-facilitate-establish-expertise-become-influencer-industry#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:37:58 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=3319 Read more

How A Webinar Can Facilitate You To Establish Expertise And Become An Influencer In Your Industry is a post from: ClickMeeting

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There’s always something about expertise that commands a stream of followers and loyal patrons. In whichever industry, the market is almost always captured by those who are considered experts in their respective fields. People want to deal with experts when they are looking for the best person or company to do business with. They are willing to listen and partner with persons or entities that exhibit a fair share of expertise. People are looking for who to trust, and expertise, both perceived and realized, is an important cornerstone in building that trust.

Whatever the task at hand, an air of expertise lends credence to those who offer specific services and seek a stream of captured audience. Clients and audiences are always searching for the right information tools, services and products that fit their needs and they are raring to be influenced in making the right choice. There is a full spectrum of industries and businesses and the rules of the game is inclusive yet simple: Expertise commands influence, and influencing your target audience means followers, patrons, clients and an increase in the bottom line.

 

  • So, you are a consultant for some type of industry and you want to build your client base? Clients will not hire you simply because you are a consultant; they will hire you because you are an expert.
  • Maybe you are a blogger who wants to rake in subscribers? Show your online audience that you have an expert opinion and you will have them subscribing to your feeds in an instant.
  • Are you a company that offers information technology products and services who want a fair share of the market? You need to build your reputation as an expert who will provide people with the best possible solutions.
  • Are you an educator whose sheer business is training and pedagogy? Show the public that your name has earned expertise in your field.

 

expertsWhatever industry you belong to, there is an ever present need to establish your expertise so you can influence people to take your lead. But, before you go brandishing a literal seal of expertise on the landing page of your site or your social media profile, bear in mind that expertise is not something that could just be claimed. Cliche as it may sound, expertise, even in our time when the Internet has created tools to make hefty claims to credible information and knowledge at times a lot easier to manufacture and showcase, is something that needs to be earned. You need to exhibit your expertise, and make that claim real in the consciousness of your target audience.

There is, however, a myth that often shrouds our views on how expertise is delineated. While others may think that experts are those who know more than everybody else, social psychology points to the fact that in most cases, expertise is actually a badge exhibited by someone who knows something and is willing to share that knowledge so that others may also learn. Your target audiences and clients will think of you as an expert if they know that you know something because you are sharing that knowledge with them.

 

The Ideal Solution To Exhibiting Your Expertise

163271853And here is where webinars offer a fitting solution to your expertise building woes. This nifty communication and knowledge sharing tool works perfectly to establish and prove your expertise to your target audience. Audiences are raring to learn and webinars provide just the right kind of interactive venue to seize your target audience and provide them with information.

 

  • Since a webinar is a virtual seminar, your voice and the variety of efficient tools at your disposal, such as, desktop sharing, images, Powerpoint slides, graphs, charts and much more allow for the most efficient manner in which to convey expertise and influence your target audience.
  • When doing webinars, you have more time to establish and exhibit your knowledge and audiences can then ask questions and scrutinize that knowledge, which is something that a blog post or twitter feed simply cannot offer in an instant.
  • Webinars also allow you to share valuable content without making your audience single-handedly leaf through lines upon lines of printed material or web posts.
  • Through webinars, your audience learns not because they persevered in reading your views but because you personally walked them through what you actually know.
  • Whether you host your own webinar or sign up for a webinar gathering of other players in your niche community, you are also able to choose for yourself a topic that allows you to venture into something you are particularly good at.
  • You can also customize your webinar input not only to suit the needs of your audience but also create an air of anticipation for what you have to share and discuss.

 

Bottom Line

Truth be told, establishing your expertise is an achievable goal when you create and use the right tools that the Internet and social media offer. Given their versatility and proven benefits, webinars can help you build your credibility, establish your expertise in your field, provide a venue to engage your audience and ultimately influence them to choose you in a sea of industry contenders.

How A Webinar Can Facilitate You To Establish Expertise And Become An Influencer In Your Industry is a post from: ClickMeeting

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5 Ways Webinars Help Boost Social Media Campaigns http://blog.clickmeeting.com/5-ways-webinars-help-boost-social-media-campaigns http://blog.clickmeeting.com/5-ways-webinars-help-boost-social-media-campaigns#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 12:47:03 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=3305 Read more

5 Ways Webinars Help Boost Social Media Campaigns is a post from: ClickMeeting

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The advent of social media has deeply changed the way companies communicate with their customers. What was once a one-way communication to offer products or services has become a two-way dialogue, with companies offering marketing pitches and customers discussing their feedbacks within the unifying realm of social media.


Through social media, communication barriers between companies and customers have seemingly disappeared, and what’s left on its previous path is a string of social media tools to help boost marketing strategies. It is thus not surprising that companies and marketers who want to harness the power of this phenomenon have quite cleverly taken to task the development of their own social media campaign. Given the breadth and variety of popular social media platforms available these days, the key question then is which tools could really help boost a company’s social media campaign?

 

To answer this question, a quick description of our social media landscape is in order.

  • First, 74% of Internet users are on social networking sites, with Facebook, Twitter and Youtube as the most popular social media platforms.
  • Second, our generation of social media users have also ushered in an online video explosion.

Stack of  movie films spool with filmWith 700 videos shared every minute on Twitter and Facebook users sharing videos 12 times more than texts and links, online videos are undoubtedly the most widely viewed and shared online content. Given the popularity of videos, marketers can thus guarantee the success of their social media campaign by integrating the use of webinars.

 

So, how can webinars help boost a social media campaign? Let us count the ways.

 

Webinars Build Brand And Establish Expertise

One thing is certain: You are not the only marketer who is using social media to generate awareness on your brand and your company is not the only one providing that product. You need to differentiate your brand from the rest and you need to stand out from among your competitors.

expertWebinars provide a platform to exhibit your uniqueness and expertise in your field without testing the patience of your audience with lengthy written rhetoric. Product brochures that provide a visual representation of your brand was a hit when they debuted in the market precisely because they captured targeted information in an easily digestible form. Imagine how you could hit the nail using a video as an even better and extraordinary medium. Remember that in social media, being remarkable, short and sweet is key.

 

Webinars Are A Cost Effective Way To Connect With A Target Audience In Your Niche

The cog that turns social media’s wheels is instantaneous interaction. Social media has taken the world by storm because it provides a venue to make possible and amplify the reach of our social interaction. Webinars take the principle of social interaction a notch higher with its ability to simulate face-to-face conversations despite physical distances.

163271853You can describe your product better than any printed or online content and your audience, while also interspersing visual tools such as photos, illustrations and infographics with your presentation. Webinars are the visual cousins of telemarketing and you can talk to your target audience, respond to their questions, and encourage their interest in your product while they see for sure that you’re not batting an eyelash. And all these you can do without spending a single cent on travel costs or long-distance phone call. You can also have utilize your company’s existing website or free video hosting sites such as Youtube and not spend any additional costs against your marketing budget.

 

Webinars Increase Your Brand’s Presence

Social media goes by the adage Sharing is Caring, and with good reason. In the world of social media, remarkable content means shareable content, and shareable content creates multiple presence. A single content can spark a prairie fire of viral content, thus establishing an almost boundless reach for your brand. Because videos are indeed the most shared content in social media, webinars can do what no other online content could do in terms of increasing traffic to your website landing page, Facebook page or even Amazon storefront.

social_mediaIncluding a built-in share button in your webinar also facilitates its sharing to your audience’s social network. Because they are in video format, webinars are also friendly to mobile users, who are fast becoming the more active section of social media enthusiasts. Webinars could be viewed by your target audiences even if they are using just their mobile phones, which could actually be challenging when viewing other forms of online content.

 

Webinars Can measure Your Marketing Reach And Return On Investment

Social media has created for marketing an entirely different reach and return patterns that operate on an easily measurable platform. Back in the day when marketers communicate with customers mainly through traditional media formats of print, broadcast and billboard advertising, it was almost impossible to accurately measure the number of customers reached, let alone conversions made.

counterWith the age of social media all upon us, marketers now have tools to accurately measure the reach and return of their marketing pitches literally at their fingertips. You can even have a counter built on your webinar to know how many times it was viewed and shared over social media from the moment you make an announcement for your upcoming webinar to even when you are already past your webinar launch.

 

Webinars Can Boost Your Entire Marketing Campaign

Webinars can indeed help boost your social media campaign, but they can definitely do more than that. You can also utilize them as a component of your whole marketing campaign by including links or screen shots of your latest webinar in your e-mail marketing or print advertising materials or by featuring your webinars in the landing page of your website. You may even use your webinars when you do presentations, marketing pitches or customer conferences in person as you would use any other presentation tools.

 

Final Thoughts

The uses of webinars in your social media and marketing strategies could indeed be limitless if coupled with the right amount of creativity and awareness of the changing characteristics of audiences and customers.

5 Ways Webinars Help Boost Social Media Campaigns is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Finding the Voice of Your Webinar http://blog.clickmeeting.com/finding-voice-webinar http://blog.clickmeeting.com/finding-voice-webinar#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 13:18:31 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=3299 Read more

Finding the Voice of Your Webinar is a post from: ClickMeeting

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063Just like the perfect soundtrack to your life, your webinar should have one too. At least in the sense that it should have that same sort of appeal that music has on us. You want your webinar to be one of those things that when people purchase it, they want to come back to it over and over again. You know this though. But bridging the gap between wanting to create a video people will learn and grow from each time to being able to actually build it, isn’t as simple as following a formula.

 

Formulas are Formulaic

Formulas are, well, formulaic. That means that when you go out there and hear individuals or companies that are promising big returns if you follow their system to success, you end up getting exactly the same end result as everyone else. Far worse you are stripping the individuality of your end product. That is the exact thing that is going to make you marketable.

dv1954038It is true that studying different formulas to success can help you learn to develop your own path toward your own goals. Just like the old adage that you have to learn the rules before you can break them, the same applies to working with presentations. Whether you are starting to develop a webinar for the first time ever, or are a well-seasoned vet, it is always a good idea to see where the mainstream of what is expected falls into place. To reach the broadest audience you have to appeal to the broadest audience.

 

The Basics

The basics of a good presentation are fundamentally always the same: good communication, strong message, relevant content, professional (or at least suitably themed) appearance, and accuracy.

brainAccuracy is perhaps one of the most overlooked of this list. For many, getting right into the appearance and packaging of their webinar is the most alluring aspect, and for good reason. It is easy to get caught up in making sure that you have the right look, or the trendiest of styles and packaging so that things will leap right off the shelf these days. But when you stop to consider that most people are searching for information through relevant channels that utilize metadata and a content based search so that consumers are reaching the relevant products they desire, you can begin to see how the glossy shiny packaging and trendy lettering isn’t just the thing you thought it was cracked up to be. Surely it is important but the need to rely on accuracy in your product is what is going to help you get it into the right hands to build your audience and help you get your product or business proposal or project out there in the world.

 

Getting Out of the Grey

So how do you manage to bust out of the gray static that fills the internet with the same sort of information? Social Media is clearly the growing trend, and this makes things even easier on your side. Sure it may seem complicated and time consuming to reach out into the seemingly infinite land of different social media apps, but the payoff is immense. Try to spread yourself across too many of these platforms at once and it will drive you crazy. Consolidate where possible, and focus primarily on consistent and direct interaction with your business contacts. This leads to the sort of direct feedback that will help you attend to the accuracy of your product.

 

Don’t Say, “I can Do That Too”.

homeworkWhen you start really reaching out to others and seeing what people you respect in your field are doing, thoughts of comparison can quickly add up. It doesn’t take long to find yourself thinking, “I can do that too.” Before you know it you are hard at work making your own replicated version of something that is already out there. Instead of looking at others as stepping stones to your own success it is more important to see how other people have focused their attention to make their goals happen. This can give you the proper motivation to go out and excel at achieving your own level of success.

When it comes to take away, you want to walk away from examining others work with a greater sense of how you can approach your own project. Ask yourself, “Am I pushing myself as hard as I can?” If you really feel the answer is a strong and adamant “Yes”, then you most certainly aren’t. You may feel like you are, but you could simply pushing against a wall that won’t budge. Examine all of your options and search hard and wide for opportunities for growth. Know that you will get there and above and beyond all else, keep raising the bar. Getting your webinar up and running and on the scale that you know is possible, requires dedication and consistent questioning. Always give yourself the room to change. You never know which new path is going to get you over that roadblock.

Finding the Voice of Your Webinar is a post from: ClickMeeting

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How to Write a Perfect Meeting Agenda http://blog.clickmeeting.com/write-perfect-meeting-agenda http://blog.clickmeeting.com/write-perfect-meeting-agenda#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 12:33:08 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=3286 Read more

How to Write a Perfect Meeting Agenda is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Making an agenda for a meeting seems like a no-brainer – yet how many times have you shown up at a meeting and you’re not sure why you’re meeting?  Failure to put the meeting details on paper is sometimes due to a clear lack of organizational skills.  But most of the time, it’s simply lack of forethought.

It doesn’t take much additional time to write an agenda than it does to plan a meeting.  Some planning has to take place on the part of the person who will run the meeting.  What the agenda does is communicate those plans to the meeting participants.  It tells them, “I want you to know what’s going on so you can do your job well.”

 

Why agendas are important

bulbWhen employees are expected to attend a meeting, they expect there to be organization and flow.  They want to be on the same page so discussion can lead to action.  Without an agenda, key information about the meeting topics and goals eludes them.  They might have a vague sense of what the meeting is about.  However, they don’t have the full story of what will happen at the meeting.

Lack of an agenda can make a meeting less productive, as participants do not receive information prior to the meeting that would have helped them prepare.  Participants may not fully engage in the discussion because they feel lost or are not informed about the topic.  Clearing up questions during the meeting tacks on time and makes meetings go longer, another common pitfall. People have limited time in an increasingly busy work world.  Meeting attendees have a right to know what they are spending their time on, and what they need to contribute to the meeting.  Without this information, the meeting might, for them, seem like a waste of time.  And it can be a waste of time for you and your company if the meeting fails to meet the goals set because people were not informed.

 

What should be included in the agenda

On the most basic level, agendas need to include 1) when and where the meeting is taking place; 2) what will be discussed; 3) the meeting goals; and 4) who will attend the meeting.

1) When and where the meeting is taking place: It will serve as a reminder of the time and location in a clear and logical place.

2) What will be discussed: This information can be as brief or as detailed as you think it needs to be.  You can always elaborate on this in an e-mail, but everything that you plan to bring up at the meeting should be on the agenda.

3) The meeting goals: Briefly state what the desired outcome of the meeting will be.  This answers the question, “Why are we having a meeting?”

4) Who will attend the meeting: Think carefully about this one.  Only people who really need to be at the meeting should be on this list.  Sometimes, people are invited to meetings as a kneejerk reaction, but they don’t have a purpose.  There’s not need to waste their time!

 

Best practices for creating an agenda

At the top of the page, include the date and time of the meeting, as well as a summary of the main topic(s) to be discussed and the goals to be met.  If the meeting is for a specific committee or group, you can also put that at the top of the page.

In the main body of the agenda, write out a meeting schedule containing each agenda item, approximately how much time will be spent on that item, and who the item pertains to/who is presenting the information.  For example, one line of your meeting schedule might look like this:

Meeting Agenda
Topic Owner Time
Discuss the plot of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleyberry Finn (15 min.) Samuel Clemens 11:00 – 11:15 a.m.

 

Below the meeting schedule, you can also include details about what participants will need to read or do before the meeting, or things that they will want to bring when they attend.

Preparation (documents to bring, reading material, etc.)
Description Prepared by
Discussion questions Samuel Clemens

 

At the very bottom of the agenda, it can be helpful to include a section about meeting follow-up.  This is space where during or after the meeting, participants can write down the action items that they need to take based on what was discussed in the meeting.

Actions to Take
What Who When
Read Chapter 2 of Huckleberry Finn All book club members By June 30, 2014

 

To allow meeting attendees adequate time to prepare, it’s best to send the agenda out at least 48 hours in advance.  Getting it out early also gives them time to ask questions and to make sure that their schedule is clear to attend the meeting.  Bring extra copies of the agenda to the meeting so everyone has the same details in front of them.

 

Agendas – where the party’s at

165250290Think of an agenda as an object of common courtesy and goodwill toward your meeting participants.  Before you go to a party or a wedding, you usually receive an invitation with the date, time, and location, and details about what the event is about.  If you were invited to your cousin Susan’s wedding, you would want to know what hotel to stay at, how to get transportation to the venue, and what kind of food is being served.  Without knowing these things, it might turn into a stressful event.

Parties and weddings are fun events; meetings most often aren’t something people look forward to.  Ideally, an agenda gives meeting participants what they need to make the most of a necessary but perhaps not so stimulating get-together.  The best agendas make meetings tolerable, if not enjoyable.  Moreover, spending 20 minutes on creating an agenda can save hours in lost productivity and employee frustration.  Employees can feel good about the meeting and be more likely to consider their time well spent.

How to Write a Perfect Meeting Agenda is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Constructive Criticism Without Insult http://blog.clickmeeting.com/constructive-criticism-without-insult http://blog.clickmeeting.com/constructive-criticism-without-insult#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 12:58:34 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=3281 Read more

Constructive Criticism Without Insult is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Productive Criticism Techniques are important when evaluating team member’s performance. On the one side you want to make sure that you are getting work done in the most productive means possible, and on the other there is the need to make sure that you don’t end up offending somebody with harsh criticism. The criticism may be important and vital to advancing the project and propelling the team forward, and for that reason it is a complete necessity to be sure that the review runs as efficient as possible.


 

To Cater To Emotions Or Not

Most team leaders know that they have to take their team’s emotions into account when providing feedback. When you are doing it through a videoconference the same sort of rules apply as would during an in-person meeting. One of the best ways to approach providing feedback is to put into the demands of your client. For instance, “The way you completed the task was sufficient. When we look at things from our client’s needs we can see that we missed the mark though. This is what our client needs.” By shifting from the perspective of saying “You should’ve done this,” you begin to enter the sphere of communication that reminds your team member of the ultimate end goal: meeting the client’s needs.

 

Go For A Group Setting

dv1954038Another important approach to feedback is offering it in a group setting to the group as a whole. When you are addressing the whole team it is easier to dig into the meat of some of what may be truly holding your team back from accomplishing goals. This also opens up a nice discussion platform for members of the team to address concerns that they may be having. Allow them to field you these questions privately through the videoconference so that they don’t have to worry about the way they appear to the group. This open fielding establishes a private means for real-time reactions to help instantly address concerns that are actively influencing the team. This gives you the opportunity to be a stronger leader and build a better team environment.

 

Watch The Wording

Your wording and your tone really set off a swarm of indicators that can instantly cause your audience to tune out. For instance, when you are telling somebody something about their performance and the dialogue goes as follows, “Jim, your ability to contact new clients and establish better working conditions has been great, but I need you to wear a tie to work now,” you can guarantee Jim has quit listening.

brainWhen we hear the word “but” in a sentence most of us automatically forget the first part of the statement, the compliment part. Instead, the brain automatically focuses on the second part and suddenly Jim feels that he has let his boss down and that he doesn’t stand up to company standards. This sort of language can start to breed dissonance among team members. A better tactic is to simply compliment Jim on his work behavior. Leave out the word “but”, and simply let him know that you have professional standards of attire. It is just a small difference in wording and in the end it helps you develop stronger communication skills.

Tone really says a lot, that much sort of goes without saying, along with your body language. Pay attention to these sorts of details and try to speak from a place of compassion about the project you are working. Remember to reward your team members for their hard work by simply showing them basic human respect. It isn’t a difficult thing to do and when we get wrapped up in trying to meet deadlines and raise profit margins, we can easily lose sight of the gel that holds a project together: the people.

 

Keep Them Online

153694647Sometimes working with a team is a little like herding cattle. People all seem to want to go their own ways, they each have their own private agendas, and can often times seemingly one to defy your every word of advice. When these sorts of individuals enter your team they can be the strongest asset to help you keep things moving forward on a timely manner. There is just that one little problem of keeping your team all inline. When things start to get away from the collective agenda, don’t hesitate to pull everyone together for an online meeting.

Along with being able to be quick and concise, the videoconference lets you address issues in a manner that is clearly more personable than simply sending out a group email. Group emails can sound dry and harsh, especially if you are dishing out some constructive criticism. With the help of your videoconferencing setup you can extend a warm smile while helping to build your team.

Constructive Criticism Without Insult is a post from: ClickMeeting

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How to Use Webinars for IT Departments http://blog.clickmeeting.com/use-webinars-departments http://blog.clickmeeting.com/use-webinars-departments#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 13:01:39 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=3272 Read more

How to Use Webinars for IT Departments is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Nobody knows the importance of managing information systematically in an environment of rapidly advancing technology better than IT professionals. Today’s latest and most advanced system may be tomorrow’s bag of old clothes. Constant development and up-to-date information exchange are thus an IT professional’s tools of the trade. Evolution is the fire that IT professionals breathe, and in this constantly evolving world, it’s always a challenge to keep up with the latest in technological development and successful information management.

But, what happens when older modes of communication, such as personal, face-to-face meetings and phone information exchange are becoming thorny issues in a business environment that is increasingly shaped by more instant and more streamlined communication that are part of a cost-effective IT infrastructure? How do IT professionals and departments become adaptable to a business world where success is measured by the speed and efficiency of IT interaction? The answer, if we are to assess the success of web-based high-speed communication, may lie in the genius of webinars.

 

How Webinars Serve The Business Of IT

Cost Efficient Streamlined Communication

153694647Webinars make the most of high-speed Internet technology to efficiently communicate messages without losing a feature most important in the lives of modern businesses: face-to-face interaction. While maintaining personal communication seems to be the buzz-word in today’s business world, there’s also a grain of truth to the business sense that efficient operations require the ability to maximize technological development.

Webinars in the time of an increasingly integrated global economy and high-speed Internet are doing for businesses what annual conferences, board room meetings and hotel press conferences did for companies in the previous decade. It’s like doing a training conference without shutting down the whole operation of a company department for days, or sharing your company’s expertise and latest innovations without having to fly your IT department’s creme de la creme across several miles. Through webinars, any company can maintain face-to-face interaction with clients, partners and even among their employees wherever they are in the world and without having to spend a ton of company resources.

 

Marketing And Awareness

marketing globalWhile it is also true that modern businesses use webinars primarily for lead generation in marketing and sales, IT departments also benefit from webinars through increased client awareness on product innovations and new service offerings. Instead of launching a massive public ad campaign on the latest in technological development, which tends to put a strain on resources, webinars can instead do the job of delivering high-value information to a huge number of attendees simultaneously.

In this vein, webinars are also great platforms for reaching out to media organizations so that time-sensitive and important messages can reach an even larger audience. It is also important to realize that the audience for webinars is highly targeted, as opposed to other, marketing mediums. Targeting is an essential element in any marketing campaign because it is a major catalyst for conversions. Since webinars require registration, the people who sign up and attend are genuinely interested in the particular topic and so are may already be ‘presold’ to the marketing message.

 

Training

educationIT departments can also use webinars as training events aimed to provide continuous guidance to customers and even company employees and partners on the use of products and services. Webinars discussing the latest software solution to particular customer needs, for example, can be organized to help ease customer woes in using new products or assist them in choosing the right product. This can span from the simplest of software usage to complicated large servers that support an organization of 100,000 or more employees.

For the latter, webinars are the most ideal training method of choice because the variety of presentation elements they provide allow for the most effective educational platforms where even the most complicated topics can be illustrated through visuals, such as, video, images and desktop sharing demonstrations. All of which, as opposed to text, and even voice alone is innumerable. These types of webinars are also useful in informing salespeople and customer service representatives about new technology or processes so they could deliver company messages accurately and more effectively.

 

Internal Communications

meetingWhile webinars are used as a mode of external communication, companies can also use them to facilitate internal communication. IT departments can create webinars for use as periodic work meetings or as annual shareholders meetings to ensure that attendees at different locations receive standardized information simultaneously without going through an elaborate system of bringing all of them together in a single physical space.

Continuous staff training and constant sharing of expertise can also be achieved within a company through webinars. IT departments can schedule innovative webinars as a regular program for knowledge exchange and professional development among staff. Working with the company’s HR department, the IT department may also design a series of webinars on human resource topics to address specific company concerns.

 

Conclusion

The possibilities of webinars in optimizing a company’s information system are indeed limitless. Necessity is the mother of invention, so to speak, and the constant need to develop efficient information and communication systems is definitely turning webinars into a powerful tool for IT professionals.

How to Use Webinars for IT Departments is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Tips for Virtual Interviews That Will Virtually Get You the Job http://blog.clickmeeting.com/tips-virtual-interviews-will-virtually-get-job http://blog.clickmeeting.com/tips-virtual-interviews-will-virtually-get-job#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 12:46:32 +0000 http://blog.clickmeeting.com/?p=3268 Read more

Tips for Virtual Interviews That Will Virtually Get You the Job is a post from: ClickMeeting

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Congratulations – you got the interview!  As the company you want to work for is forward-thinking and tech-minded, they may want to do your interview on a videoconferencing platform.  For many businesses, this is now the preferred way to go about it.  The number of applicants for every job being filled has been rising since the recession.  A virtual interview lets them learn more about each candidate than a telephone interview would allow, before bringing them in for the real deal.

 

Interviewing on the telephone can be awkward.  People commonly talk all over each other, and without the aid of eye contact, facial expressions, and body language, it’s hard to interpret the undertones of what people say.  Interviewing on a videoconferencing platform takes away some of that awkwardness – but requires a little more effort to get it right.  To put your best foot forward on a virtual platform, you’ll need a bit of Steve Jobs and a pinch of Emily Post – both technical know-how and classical etiquette are essential for acing a virtual interview.

 

Are you experienced?

businessFirst off, understand the ins and outs of the software that you’ll be using for videoconferencing.  Take some time to play around with the different features, such as the microphone, sound, split screen, and screen sharing.  Even if you’ve used the program before, don’t let yourself get overconfident.  Pretend like you’re a newbie who’s never laid eyes on it.  You may even learn something new and be able to show them a trick or two.  They’ll be impressed by your savvy with the software of choice if you can use it with flair – and they won’t if you seem clueless.

 

Put on Your Monday Best

Videoconferencing are a little less formal than in-person interviews, but only by a fraction.  With the opportunity to see you, the search committee will be paying attention to your personal traits, and that includes what you’re wearing.  You can probably get away with not wearing a suit, but look professional.  Find out what the dress code is at the company, and then aim a little above that.  You’re trying to impress them, but you also want to look like you could be one of them.  A keen eye for their style sense will subconsciously help them envision having you as part of the team.  Even if it’s a telecommute position, wait until you’re actually hired before you start working in your PJs.

 

How About a Little Peace and Quiet?

153778573Dogs barking?  Kids crying?  Dishwasher running?  These may be everyday noises in and around your home, but you’d never hear them in an interview!  Set aside a quiet space free from distractions where you can hide away while you answer the big questions.  There will be plenty of time to deal with your usual multi-tasking after you’ve secured your spot in the short list.  If you don’t have a private office, any quiet space – the basement, your bedroom – will work.  Just be sure to keep the dirty laundry out of sight.

 

Look Me in the Eyes

The web is full of distractions.  I can haz more cute cat pictures plz?  In your web interview, your full attention should always be on the interviewers and their questions (and when it’s not, it should be on your responses!)  Avoid fidgeting, looking away from the webcam, twiddling your fingers, rubbing your eyes, or anything that’s not engaging with the search committee.  These bad habits can become reasons for them to consider you a less desirable candidate.

eyesMake eye contact.  Some practice can help here, as webcams are fussy about orientation: test out talking to someone via your webcam to make sure you’ll actually be making eye contact, and not staring at a spot in the corner of the room.  Unless you plan on sharing documents or websites, avoid opening any other windows on your computer.  Searching through your desktop will make you look distracted. Instead, print out anything you’ll need to reference beforehand – just like you’d do in person.

 

Be Expressive!  Be-E-Expressive!

The squeaky wheel gets the job.  Use the advantage of videoconferencing to convey why the company should bring you back for a second interview.  You can do this directly, by stating how your qualifications and characteristics fit well with the company and job.  Or you can be more coy about it, by expressing something you find particularly interesting about the company/job, or relating a work story that demonstrates you’re the one.  Either way, be vocal about why you want to work with them.  Be natural with your voice and facial expressions: it’s common when you’re nervous about an interview to freeze up, go monotone, and forget to smile.  Make sure you express what you’re thinking and feeling both with your body language as well as your voice, and you’ll get the message across.

 

Tips for Virtual Interviews That Will Virtually Get You the Job is a post from: ClickMeeting

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