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Manners Maketh Man… Etiquette for the Faithful Teleconference

The introduction of webinars, web conferences and webcasts has meant that the faithfulteleconference has taken a bit of a backseat.

However, the original virtual conferencing technology is still going strong and even with the introduction of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) still has great appeal due to its reliability and constant improvements in functionality.

Of course, the one thing a teleconference does not offer is the ability to visually see meeting participants.

The question then is, does the lack of visual engagement mean that we are at risk of neglecting our manners and simple meeting etiquette?

Here are some simple etiquette tips for your next teleconference…

Set expectations…
People always like to know what to expect. Sending an agenda will not only achieve this, it will avoid conversations going off track and will ensure that all parties are prepared!

Find a quiet place…
Background noise can be very distracting to other participants. Be conscious of your surroundings… are you joining from home with a noisy dog in the background? Are you participating in the call from your car? Either way, ensure you find a quiet place where you will be comfortable for a certain period of time.

Identify yourself…
Ever walked into a dinner party and gone straight for the food without saying hello to anyone? Just like a face to face event, it’s always polite to introduce yourself.

It may also be a good idea to activate a roll call feature on your teleconference. This means that all parties joining the call will have no choice but to announce their name on entry.

Etiquette - If you have to ask the question, then you probably already know the answer!

Use the mute command… appropriately!
Also known as “The God Feature,” the mute command during a teleconference gives you the power to silence one or many parties. As a moderator, ensure you let people know before you mute them and as a participant, ensure you do the same. The last thing you want is someone on the other end talking into thin air!

Hold that thought…
Hold music can be annoying at the best of times, let alone when you have multiple people on a teleconference trying to have a conversation. If you have to leave a conference call for any period of time, hang up the phone and call back in when you are ready to rejoin.

Thank you goes a long way…
Let’s be honest, a teleconference isn’t exactly the most intimate of meetings. As a moderator, it’s a nice idea to send your participants a thank you email including any action items or discussion points which were covered in the meeting.

Timing…
To many, punctuality is a sign of respect. Try to avoid dialling into the call late and expecting participants to provide you with a “catch up.”  This will not only disrupt the entire call, but it has the potential to come across as slightly rude.

Of course, for those who do like to mix it up a bit, there’s always the option to combine a teleconference with an interactive webcam… at the end of the day, it’s your call!
Until next time…
Sara Gonzalez


Stand out From the Crowd – Top Tips for Marketing Your Webinars!

Whether it be for Professional Development or Lead Generation, more people are tapping into webinars due to their reach, convenience and user friendly applications.

Once you have your presenter and topic it’s a matter or marketing your webinar to your target audience. Sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately many get it wrong. Take a look at the tips below to ensure you gain maximum exposure from your next webinar.

Use Dedicated Emails

These days people don’t really have the time to crawl through your websites event page. Send a dedicated email to your database for each webinar you have. If you think you are going to run the risk of saturating your database with emails then setup a separate database for those who want to receive your webinar invites – you might be pleasantly surprised by the response!

Timing is of the essence…

I constantly receive webinar invitations for events which are scheduled anywhere up to a month in advance. Hmmm, let me see, it’s Monday morning I have no idea what I am doing next weekend let alone a month in advance! The point is, by advertising your event more than two weeks in advance you run the risk of a) people forgetting about it or b) people saying to themselves “it’s a month away, it’s not that urgent.” The key to gaining registrations is urgency and the best way to do this is to send dedicated emails to your audience about week in advance.

Social Media...explained

Consistency is the key

Get your customers familiar with your webinars; try and schedule them regularly and on the same day of the week. People will eventually get to know when they are held and will come to expect, and lookout for your invites. An easy way to do this is to create a webinar series and advertise it at the end of each event you hold.

Get Social

For those of you who do it, you know there is no escaping it and for those of you who don’t… why not? Social Media, if done properly, can work greatly to your advantage.

Twitter: Start building up your network through Twitter and post the links to your invites. On the day of your webinar, send a reminder email to your registrants and include a re tweet button and a hashtag (#). This will get people talking about your events and you will soon see your Twitter community flourish.

LinkedIn: Create your events on LinkedIn and promote them to groups that you think will be interested. If you are hosting regular events then create your own group and allow people to opt in for regular invites.

YouTube: Record your webinars and upload them to your YouTube channel! Not only will this increase your educational content and give people a little teaser… but Google will love you!

What are you waiting for? Jump in and start marketing your webinars now – after all, there’s no time like the present!

Until next time…
Sara Gonzalez


From the Chalk to Online Talk – Top Tips for Rolling out Online Training Programs

Did you know that as much as 40 cents of every dollar spent on training goes towards travel and accommodation costs?

It’s no secret that training your employees gives your organisation an edge in today’s competitive market. In spite of this, the impact of the global recession has meant that companies of all sizes are also looking for ways to improve efficiencies and cut costs.

Online training and e-learning are providing more and more organisations with the opportunity to train their employees more effectively and efficiently. So, when it comes to rolling out an online training program where do you actually start? Here are our top tips to go from the chalk to online talk…

1. Aims: First, ask yourself what problem you are trying to solve and what you want to achieve with your training. Capturing this information can also be done in the planning stages. Have your participants register for each session within your program and ask them why they are hoping to gain from the training. This will ensure you cover all bases!

2. Who are we talking to? Ideally your target market will already be defined by your organisational marketing plan, don’t try to be all things to all people! Defining your market will help you narrow down your message – the more you can reach a definable audience with a webinar geared to their specific needs, the more successful you will be.

3. Resources: Gather all of your resources before you begin – put together timings, speakers, budget, event coordinators, written content and a detailed marketing plan for every session you plan to deliver.

4.Content: Try and create ‘must see’ and unique content by giving information that is current, relevant, informative and important. It should be delivered by a specialist or expert and be full of specifics and examples. Make sure your content poses or answers one of the ‘big’ questions relevant to your participants.

These days there are more inventive ways to cut costs and increase efficiency!

5. Timings: Send timely email invitations to a relevant opt-in email list. Make sure your invitations and reminders feature the name of the webinar and the benefits of participating.

6. Rehearse: Not only will this help with timings but it will enable you to fine tune your content and polish your presentation skills.

7. Record and Promote: Record trainings for improvement purposes! Having available on-demand content will also give you access to new participants who may want the content but have missed the event and help you create a training library.

8. Follow-up: A great online training and education webinar can create excitement about your organisation or business. If you have success with a particular series of trainings, consider repeating them, rolling them out over a longer period or to a different audience – ask yourself which elements of the webinar worked well (e.g. a particularly good speaker) and try to incorporate them into future webinars.

There’s our top tips… have you recently implemented an Online Training Program? If so, feel free to share the knowledge and provide us with some tips of your own!

Until next time…
Sara Gonzalez


Web Conference, Webinar, Webcast – what does it all mean and what’s the difference?

These days it can be hard enough to keep up with the weather let alone all the technology which seems to be changing daily!

When it comes to communicating, collaborating and presenting online there are many platforms which can accommodate your needs. However, what do they all mean and which solution will work best for you?

Here’s a summary of the three online conferencing platforms, their features, differences and common uses.

Web Conference

Web Conferences allow you to share and collaborate online with participants from any location and are known to be more interactive than the other online solutions.

Web Conferences are usually conducted in conjunction with a telephone allowing moderators and participants to share ideas and thoughts verbally throughout.

Web Conferences are typically used for business meetings, online training, sales presentations and interviews.

Some common features of a web conference include:

Screen Sharing: The ability to work live off documents and allow participants to edit them in real time.

Whiteboards: Allowing you to launch a blank canvas and have participants draw, highlight and type – perfect for brainstorming!

Using the right technology for the right purposes can save lots of time and help avoid confusion.

Webinar:

A webinar or web seminar is similar to a web conference in that you and your participants join online and have access to a variety of tools.

These days, webinars are commonly used for delivering presentations or lectures and are typically one way methods of communication.

Hybrid systems are also a common way to deliver webinars. This option allows your participants to listen to the webinar either through their computer speakers (VoIP) or their telephones.

Many webinar providers recommend that you cap your event at 250 participants.

Webinars are commonly used for delivering professional development, lead generation, online learningand product launches.

Some common features of a webinar include:

Polling: Ask for, receive and share feedback with your participants. Perfect for quizzes and feedback!

Live Webcams: Activating webcams puts a face to the name and increases interaction.


Webcast:

A webcast uses streaming media technology to broadcast events over the Internet and simultaneously distributes them to audiences anywhere in the world.

Webcasts can be delivered live or on-demand and are usually done so under the guidance of a professional production team.

These days, webcasts are commonly used for broadcasting live events and trade shows, delivering shareholder announcements and member services.

The main differences between a webcast and a webinar are:

The sky’s the limit: A webcast can be broadcasted to an unlimited audience anywhere in the world!

High Definition: A webcast uses high definition video and audio feeds and can be delivered by experienced videographers.

Streaming: A webcast uses streaming technology which is transmitted over the internet. This means it can be viewed in live time and can be accessed with the click of a mouse!

Hopefully the breakdown of these solutions has made it a little clearer for you. And just a little techie tip – make sure that you complete thorough testing for whichever service you choose.

Until next time…
Hank Evecek


How to get from the car to the conference – top tips for going green and encouraging change!

Let’s be honest, even the most flexible of organisations struggle with change. However, progressive and aware decision makers continually look for ways to improve the morale, performance and productivity of their workforce.

The online conferencing platform provides a simple answer to the question of how to reduce our reliance on business travel – it uses less resources, costs much less, is more convenient and enables businesses to understand the important relationship between communication, productivity and profit.

The question is, how do you convince the rest of your organisation to jump on the bandwagon, embrace change and go green?

Here’s our top tips to get from the car to the conference and ultimately to Go Green!

Start Somewhere
The single greatest challenge for many businesses is how they will change their approach and strategy to business travel. The first step is to make the decision to change.

Buy-in
Environmental initiatives of any kind require the buy-in of senior management. Make sure to gain the support of all levels of management before proceeding.

Research
Did you know that a return flight from Australia to Singapore generates 906.02 kg of CO2?

As green travel programs become more prevalent, there is a wealth of information available to back-up your hunch that online platforms are a more sustainable alternative to air and car travel. Check out what your competitors are doing and don’t simply ‘greenwash’ – gather evidence to present to your superiors.

Make a plan
Creating a road map of what you want to achieve and how you’re going to find your way is critical. As well as cost benefits this should include possible benefits to employees, reviews of productivity, recruitment and retention, timelines and clear measurable outcomes.

Understand the costs
The internal perception of how hard it might be to ‘green’ the business travel function can often be overcome by creating a clear cost analysis, which will certainly identify cost savings by moving to integrated online conferencing. This will also help to gain a better understanding of the ROI which can include the introduction of tracking and reporting tools.

Check the company travel policy
What does it say about eliminating unnecessary emissions from air and road travel? Does it say anything? If it doesn’t, it may be time for a review.

Resist resistance
In many organisations the expectations of corporate travel can be at odds with a drive to reduce the carbon footprint. This can be alleviated by a holistic approach and strategy for change which incorporates awareness training and highlights the drivers for and benefits of making the shift online.

Communicate
Once green corporate travel policies begin to be implemented, communicating the program and the desired results to relative stakeholders are critical to ongoing success.

Below are some great sites that will be sure to assist you with your research. And remember, every little bit helps!

What will your next flight cost you?
http://www2.icao.int/en/carbonoffset/Pages/default.aspx

What are the Business Benefits?
http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/climate-change/carbon-offsets/benefits.asp

Tips for Green Events
http://www.carbonneutral.com.au/about-us/news/49-news/227-tips-for-green-events.html

Carbon Offset Guide
http://www.carbonoffsetguide.com.au/about

Until next time…
Sara Gonzalez


Presenting Online… Our top 5 tips to keeping online participants engaged!

So, you’ve organised your first webinar, you’ve exceeded your own expectations in terms of registrations and you have a presenter who is well experienced in face to face presenting…that’s it, right?

It’s important to know that presenting online is completely different to delivering a face to face presentation. Webinars can be less forgiving than face to face sessions as attendees can exit a webinar whenever they please without being “shamed.”

Here’s my top tips for delivering seamless online presentations and ensuring your next webinar is a hit!

Interact and Engage!
It’s a lot harder to keep people engaged on a webinar. Try using interactive tools to mix it up a little. Whiteboards, polling and interactive Q&A sessions are a great way to get people involved and keep them interested!

Share the load!
A presenter should be responsible for one thing – presenting! Of course, during a live webinar there may be other things to consider such as interacting with the audience and fielding technical questions. Using a facilitator or moderator is a great way to handle this. Plus, it’s sometimes nice to have another voice online!

Visual is key!
PowerPoint presentations are a great tool for hosting webinars. However, it’s important that you keep them interesting and visually appealing. Try adding images, eliminating blocks of text and sticking to one idea or thought per slide. If you are presenting on a text heavy subject, send an extended presentation to your attendees once the webinar is over.

Stick to it!
People will register for your webinar if they like what they see on your invitation. If you state the webinar will be 60 minutes long, chances are your attendees have allocated 60 minutes of their time for you. Sticking to the time limit and agenda is crucial in preventing drop offs.

Fail to plan and plan to fail!
We all know the importance of planning in any event; however, it’s especially important when presenting a webinar. Without adequate planning and rehearsal time you will find it very difficult to implement any other best practices.

I’m sure there are many of you out there who have hosted countless webinars in the past, do you have any other tips that you would like to share?

Until next time…
Gavin Hunt – Online Event Coordinator


Has Customer Service really flat lined or can we break out the life support?

Why do I have to beg for a napkin and then, once I finally get one, why is it the size of a piece of confetti?  $0.30 for a tiny sachet of Tomato Sauce – are you kidding me?

Do all waiters really suffer from Tunnel Vision – can they really not see that I need something?

If the store’s closing time is 5PM, why is it that I have to crawl on my stomach to get under the half lowered doors at 4:45?

When you ring up my order don’t ask me “Is that it?” – it makes me feel like I haven’t done enough. Try saying “Thank you – is there anything else I can do for you?” – now that makes me feel appreciated and well looked after.

You see, it is the little things that make up Customer Service and it is a whole bunch of little things all stacked up that makes great Customer Service.

We can immediately improve our Customer Service by simply understanding our place in the world.  Each and every one of us does not have a job (and it does not matter what that job is) unless we have customers.  Just like life, to get what you want, you have to first help others get what they want.  Look after your customers first and they will look after you.

Here are three quick things you can do to improve your level of customer service:

1)  Impress…

Just before you pick up that phone or engage face to face with a customer, remind yourself that    your goal is to impress them with this interaction.  It starts right now!

2) Find the Solution…    

Listen & learn what customer wants then quickly figure out how to get it for them.

3) Reverse Roles…

Always put yourself in the customer’s shoes and treat them the way you would want to be treated.

Changing your attitude about Customer Service can truly make your life so much better.  When you talk to someone, think about what it is that they want out of their conversation.  Help them get it and immediately, your life becomes so much richer and more satisfying.  This holds true at home or in the office.

So come on, put away that shovel, Customer Service isn’t dead, it just needs a little TLC!

Until next time…

Jeff Downs

Jeff Downs - CEO


Why the extra set of steak knives don’t work…anymore!

I miss VCR’s, I miss walkman’s and I miss having the ability to record music off the radio with a cassette tape. One thing I don’t miss is old school, in your face salesmen.

The knock at the door at 6:00pm, the telemarketing call as you are about to sit down to dinner and the Demtel “get a free pair of steak knives” advertisements – inescapable!

Luckily, things have changed and there are now new, exciting and much less intrusive ways to generate leads and sell!

The Origanl Sales Guru!

Webinars provide valuable and educational content and in return, deliver qualified leads and demand for your product or service. While the popularity of Lead Generation Webinars has skyrocketed, it’s important to remember the number one rule…

Never Sell!

You’re using advanced technology to market your company, product and brand, so why ruin it with an old school sales approach? Start thinking about the whole picture and get creative! Here’s my Top 5 Tips for Lead Generation Webinars.

1. Deliver the value…
Value based presentations work best. Give your audience something to take away from the webinar besides your contact number.

2. Survey the crowd
What do people actually think and how can you improve? Surveying your audience immediately after the   webinar is crucial for not only you, but also your sales team.

3. Interact and Engage
People have short attention spans. Use interactive tools such as polling, whiteboards and text chat to keep them interested!

4. Over and Over…
Record the webinar and let people access it online afterwards! You’ve gone to all that effort so why not make the most of it?

5. Follow through…
Follow up fast and keep in contact with all who attended. Remember the buying cycle and understand that not everyone is ready to buy because you say so!

To get more of an insight feel free to check out our recent webinar on generating and increasing leads with webinars.

Watch the webinar!

Until next time…
Kurt Juson


We’re Talkin’ the Talk!

I’m quite a patient person, but there are two things that get under my skin…

People who don’t wave when you let them cut in front of you while driving, and speaking to automated voice recognition systems. Although I have a little trick up my sleeve (saying blah blah blah into the phone works a treat!) I still struggle with why… why can’t someone just answer the phone and help me?

I guess this is why I ended up working for a company that actually “talks the talk!”

Behind all the fancy computers and advanced technology there’s a group of people that are, well, actually human. We take our work seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously, we listen to each other, we work together and we own up when we stuff up!

I invite you to subscribe to Redbacktalk and get to know us a little better – chances are you will eventually speak to a few of us anyway! This blog will be your one stop for tips, resources, industry updates and wonderful insights from the entire team.

Simply click here  to subscribe, ensure Weekly Blog is selected under your interests and we’ll update you each Friday afternoon!

Enjoy!
Sara Gonzalez