Top 5 Conference Call Do's
June 30, 2009 @ 06:00 AM | By Nicole Scheel

2009-06-25-conference-dos- Last week we posted The InterCall UniversityTop 5 List of Conferencing Don'ts. Now, we’re back with a few ideas on things you can do to make your conference a success.

1. Do announce yourself when speaking

During a question and answer session or discussion time, say your name before you start speaking. It allows presenters to refer to you in a more personable way and they’ll be able to reference you or your question later on, if needed.


2. Do check the placement of your headset

One of the most common pet peeves in meetings is hearing the ‘heavy breather’ for the duration of the call. Make sure your headset microphone is at an appropriate distance from your mouth or nose.

3. Do send a meeting request rather than an email

In that first meeting request, do your best to include all information including a dial-in phone number, conference code and a link to the web meeting. It can be annoying to get five updates with time changes, added web conferencing information or new numbers, not to mention that it gets confusing and potentially makes it difficult for people to join your meeting.

4. Do pay attention

When you’re not in a face-to-face meeting, it’s very easy to get distracted. Limit your multi-tasking while on conference calls. One of the most embarrassing situations that can happen is to be called on and either not respond or not have a clue what is being asked of you. Act as if your conference call is a face-to-face meeting (hopefully you wouldn’t be checking your email or sending an IM if people were sitting across the table from you) and you won’t get caught in this sticky situation!

5. Do learn the mute function

This was by far the most popular response from my team! We all know that there are a variety of things that can happen in the “background” of a conference call: dogs barking, keyboards being typed on, sneezing, children running around, loud speaker announcements at the airport, etc. So, it’s important to learn how to mute your phone. On the flip side of that, make sure you know how to un-mute it, too. If I had a dollar for every time I heard, “Sorry, I was talking but my line was muted…” I’d be rich! 

Are there other things that you wish people would do on your conference calls? Tell me about them in the comments section!

 Nichole_blog 

Nicole Scheel is the Director of Training, and the “Tips & Training Blogger”. Nicole has been in training with InterCall for nine years and currently manages our internal and customer training departments, also known as InterCall University. When she's not training someone, you can find Nicole volunteering in her community or finishing her Masters in Training & Development at Roosevelt University.

Top 5 Conference Call Don'ts
June 26, 2009 @ 09:38 AM | By Nicole Scheel

2009-06-25-conference-call-

As some of you remember, previously I wrote about how to avoid being annoying on a conference call (5 Annoying Conference Call Mistakes to Avoid).

Now, we’re back with more! I’ve mentioned my fabulous team of trainers before and, as usual, I turned to them for help in writing this month’s blog. With that being said, we’d like to introduce you to the…

The InterCall University Top 5 List of Conferencing Don’ts





1. Don’t join a large group of people from a sub-par speaker phone

It is very hard to be on one end of a conference call and to try to hear a group of people in a large room gathered around a conference phone. If you need to do this, make sure you test the phone and assign one person to repeat any questions or comments.

2. Don’t let someone dominate the call

Make sure that you are being respectful of others’ time. Don’t let one person go on a tangent and rule the call. At a pause in the speaking, ask that person if he will continue the conversation off-line after the conference call.

3. Don’t talk over people

We realize that it can be difficult to get used to being on a conference call and not physically seeing when someone is about to talk. However, for that reason, you need to allow for the appropriate amount of silence before talking. If you’re asking for questions, allow your audience time to think. If you’ve talked over someone, allow that person to repeat what they’ve said. If you have a large group of people attending a call, I’d suggest using Operator Assisted or Direct Event conference calls so that an operator can facilitate the question and answer portion of the meeting.

4. Don’t stray from the agenda

This one is easier said than done! A good tip is to make sure that you have an agenda for every meeting. That way, if you get off task, you can always refer back to the agenda to get everyone focused. To start off on the right foot, either send out the agenda prior to the meeting or show it during your web meeting.   

5. Don’t be late

While the InterCall Lounge is fun to listen to while waiting for the call to start, it’s not professional to leave your audience waiting for more than a few minutes. Make it a practice to arrive at least three minutes before call start time. If you’re invited to a meeting, make sure to be on time. It’s disrespectful to leave a group of people waiting. 

By learning from your conferencing service and paying attention to these few tips, you’ll be conference call pro in no time! Is there a conference call don’t that really gets you going? Tell me about it below. 

 Nichole_blog 

Nicole Scheel is the Director of Training, and the “Tips & Training Blogger”. Nicole has been in training with InterCall for nine years and currently manages our internal and customer training departments, also known as InterCall University. When she's not training someone, you can find Nicole volunteering in her community or finishing her Masters in Training & Development at Roosevelt University.

3 Things You Should Know About Webinar Chit Chat
June 18, 2009 @ 01:29 PM | By Cambria Vaccaro

2009-06-18-webinar-chat Chatting. We all do it. Some of us do it by the water cooler in the break room. Others send an instant message to a co-worker and chat it up.  And from what we’ve seen on Twitter lately, many people send tweets or chat during conference calls and webinars. I admit I have been guilty of sending a quick message myself. 

However, when you’re putting on a webinar or web conferencing event, do you really want to encourage your participants to chat amongst themselves? Many virtual events use Twitter to take questions during their session, which generally results in a bit of banter. But, a public forum within your presentation dedicated to chit chat could be damaging. Here are a few reasons why.

  1. You Will be Sharing Attendee Information
  2. If you’re publicizing audience information during your web meeting (for example, the attendees’ first and last names or even email addresses), what’s to stop a competitor who may be in attendance from looking up that person or their company? With today’s social media tools, it’s not too difficult to find people online. Another concern is that if you have less than anticipated attendance, allowing attendees to 'see each other' highlights that there is a small audience, potentially discounting the quality and importance of your message.   
  3. Not All Chatting Will Be Safe for Work
  4. Chat panels are frequently used for support, meaning audience members can type in questions about the materials or speaker. If the moderator posts a private response to those individuals, other audience members could be left with the impression that those questions were ignored. Any time there is a public forum, you run the risk of less savory attitudes being on display. I have even seen some ambitious sales people post their contact information in the chat panel. No one wants to be spammed when they’re trying to focus on the speaker’s presentation.
  5. Your Audience Will Be Distracted
  6. Finally, there’s the distraction factor. If you have an important message to deliver, you probably want your audience to focus on the speaker and the content rather than to carry on side conversations that may veer off topic.
    These problems underscore the advantage of hiring an event management professional. Event managers can walk you through all the possible event scenarios and help you make decisions that ensure the success of your event—like whether to use public or private chat. They can also provide assistance behind the scenes of your live event by monitoring chat logs, replying to technical issues and forwarding content related questions directly to the speaker.

If you’ve experienced other issues with public chat functionality or have solutions to some of the problems I mentioned, please tell us in the comments section below.

Cam_blog Cambria Vaccaro is the Senior Director, Marketing Communications and our “Industry News” blogger.  Cambria has been in the conferencing industry for nearly fifteen years, and has seen it evolve from a traditional video bridging service to include cool web features and remote communication services.  She is an avid runner, cook, wife and mother of two gorgeous girls.

Is Your Sales Team Creating Real Differentiation?
June 8, 2009 @ 02:07 PM | By Guest Blogger

On our webinar last month, we welcomed speakers from Wilson Learning and they talked to our customers about “How to Protect and Expand Your Business in Tough Times.”  The feedback from our audience was so great that we asked them to give us a quick follow - up. Please welcome a guest blogger, Tom Roth, President of Wilson Learning.


2009-06-05-Sales-Differenti To avoid the pitfalls of competing on price, salespeople are often told they need to “sell the value.”  Another strategy is to “value add” by offering the customer extra services or products. While these strategies can be effective short-term, neither of these approaches produces a sustainable advantage. Selling the value implies that the salesperson either truly understands what the customer values or that the value offered is perceived as significantly different from the competing offerings. All too often, neither one of these is true. At the same time, a value add strategy has its own drawbacks. While it may sometimes win a sale, it produces customer expectations of “free stuff.” It also erodes margins and may be easy for the competitor to match.


Salespeople rely on these strategies, ineffective though they often are, because they find it difficult to achieve genuine differentiation based on something the customer values and is hard for the competition to replicate. But suppose a salesperson were able to create a highly differentiated offering that provides real value that competitors can’t copy because it is unique to the customer? The secret lies in going beyond features and service that are easily commoditized, and developing what Ted Levitt called “the potential offering.” Salespeople can achieve this kind of differentiation by looking beyond their product to all aspects of the customer’s experience across the whole process of buying and using a product or service.

The Customer Life Cycle, as it is sometimes called, provides a lens for understanding the experience from the customers’ perspective, from how they shop and buy the solution to how they use it until the end of its useful life. Each phase offers an opportunity for an innovative salesperson to find sources of differentiation.

Blog_quiz


If you answered yes to all 6 questions, congratulations on meeting the criteria for creating a differentiated offering for your customers! You may, however, want to ask yourself if all of your salespeople are consciously applying a strategy to maximize the potential for every customer.

If you answered no to all or most of the questions, you may want to raise your sales team’s awareness differentiation. Ask them to explore how to better differentiate by finding opportunities.

If your answers were half and half, analyze the questions to which you answered no and identify where you may be missing additional opportunities. Explore additional possibilities with your sales team.

To learn more about how to employ differentiation strategies, contact Wilson Learning at 800.944.2880. You can also join our webinar on June 17 when Wilson Learning will discuss how to “Heighten the Impact of Learning on Performance.”


Roth Tom Roth is president of Global Solutions Group for Wilson Learning Worldwide. With over 27 years experience developing and implementing human performance improvement solutions, he brings valuable expertise and strategic direction to the company. Roth is also the co-author of the book, Creating the High Performance Team.

Hold Music Rocks at InterCall
June 3, 2009 @ 09:07 AM | By Cambria Vaccaro

Lounge Do you and your significant other have a special song? Is there something on your MP3 player that makes you push through those last five minutes on the treadmill? Music has a way of altering our moods and getting us through tough spots. That is why we have created the InterCall Lounge, which treats conferencing participants to songs from rising artists at leading labels.

Instead of standard hold music that makes you feel like you’re in a crowded elevator, we’ve got a variety of new songs to get you ready for your next meeting. If you like what you hear, you can download the song, and five other featured songs, free of charge.

Musical headliners include artists from top labels like Sony, EMI and Universal who will treat customers to a mix of musical stylings—from folk to pop to country. The early line-up includes Neko Case, Greg Laswell, Dave Mason, The Alternate Routes, Booker T (with Neil Young) and Trevor Gordon Hall. Each month, we’ll feature new music from six different artists.

So, for those of you who have been vocal about our hold music, we hear you loud and clear!  Now, we want to hear your feedback on the new tunes. Love it? Hate it? Use the comments section below and let us know.

Cam_blog Cambria Vaccaro is the Senior Director, Marketing Communications and our “Industry News” blogger.  Cambria has been in the conferencing industry for nearly fifteen years, and has seen it evolve from a traditional video bridging service to include cool web features and remote communication services.  She is an avid runner, cook, wife and mother of two gorgeous girls.

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