The Magic Potato Button
September 29, 2010 @ 03:17 PM | By Jill Huselton

One of my challenges (yes, there are many) with cooking is that I’ve never been able to make a good baked potato. My friends will attest that I’ve called them asking questions: How many holes should I poke in them? Do I microwave them or put them in the oven? How long should they cook? Do I wrap them in foil? I know, you’d think it wouldn’t be that hard, but my kids have eaten one too many undercooked potatoes.

Recently, though, I discovered the Potato button on my microwave and everything changed. With the push of a single button, I get perfect potatoes! Genius! My husband even requested that I add baked potatoes to our dinner rotation.

Just like the Potato button, I still learn new things about conferencing, even though I am probably on 15-20 audio conference calls and web conferences each week. On my InterCall account, the security passcode feature was turned on, which meant that every time I wanted to start a call, I had to go through the five second prompt and then bypass the feature. Sometimes I’d hit the wrong button and would have to start all over again (inevitably, that was when I was already running late). I know for a lot of people, this is a much needed or required feature, but for my meetings, it isn’t something I have to have.

Guess what I found out? InterCall account holders can use our online account management tool, InterCall Online, to turn account features on and off. Again, genius! I didn’t have to find a break in my day to bother customer service to do it for me and I found a lot of other things in my profile that I could change. As a result, I’ve tailored my account and my meetings to exactly what works for me. You should try it sometime!

I also highly recommend the Popcorn button on the microwave, but beware: The smell of burned popcorn lingers.

Have you found features of your conferencing account that make your meetings better?

Jill Huselton is a Senior Marketing Manager at InterCall

Are Meetings a Waste of Time?
September 27, 2010 @ 11:55 AM | By Sara Steele

According to a survey posted in USA Today, many Americans believe so. Nearly half (49%) of respondents surveyed by StrategyOne believe that most company meetings are a waste of time. I’ve only been in the corporate world for a few years, but have already experienced this first-hand.

We have all walked out of meetings feeling as though we just lost an hour out of our day. None of us can afford to unnecessarily waste time, yet it seems like most of us do just that. Here are five questions everyone should ask themselves before calling a meeting:

  • Is there a clear objective of the meeting? If not, then don’t call a meeting.
  • Who needs to attend the meeting? Ever been in a meeting with lots of attendees and yet there’s dead silence? When the appropriate individuals are involved, smaller meetings can be much more engaging and constructive.
  • How long does the meeting need to be? Longer doesn’t always mean better. Accomplish your tasks at hand, assign action items and call it a day. You can always reconvene if needed.
  • Do you have an agenda? Create one and don’t stray from it. Share it with your participants before the meeting so they can come better prepared and focused on the objective.
  • Can it be held virtually? Do you need the meeting to be face-to-face or can you meet virtually through audio or web conferencing? Don’t ask your attendees to travel if it can be accomplished just as effectively from their home office.

While these best practices may seem obvious, they are often overlooked by many. If we all follow these best practices, we can avoid wasting our co-workers valuable time and our own!

Sara Steele is a Marketing Coordinator at InterCall.

Oh, How Times Have Changed
September 16, 2010 @ 09:00 AM | By Jill Huselton

When my college girlfriends and I have our annual get together, the conversations inevitably go around work, kids and then how old we feel. Those college days seem like just a year or two ago, not the….well, I’m not going to say it.

I will date myself by saying that life would have been easier back at old DPU if we’d had cell phones to know where to meet and when, computers instead of the word processor/typewriter combo and the Internet instead of microfiche or inter-library loan.

Now it seems like the latest thing to change university life is streaming. In a recent survey conducted by InterCall about the use of streaming on campus, we found:

  • Use of streaming is on the rise — Eight in ten students (78 percent) report that professors have made lectures available either by live video feed or posting a videotaped lecture for students to access online. Nearly a third (30 percent) say their professors use web streaming frequently.
  • People want to be in two places at once — Almost half (48 percent) of students take multiple classes scheduled for the same time which was virtually impossible before streaming. Also, 63 percent “attend” classes even though they are in reality, out of town.
  • Students are taking control over the way they learn — Nearly 60 percent say streaming video allows them to spend more time studying by themselves and grasp concepts better because they can go at their own pace (44 percent).

Of course, the other benefits of having courses available via video online the students cited (and don’t necessarily want their parents to know) are “not having to get dressed for class,” “being able to take more naps during the day” and “being able to take a vacation without having to miss class.”

From our perspective, this is great because InterCall Streaming can lead the way as the education and distance learning market is really taking off. From our customers’ perspective, it can open your eyes to the way the workers of tomorrow are used to learning. Hopefully it can help you plan your new hire training and employee development programs to be in tune with options for delivering valuable content.

How are you training today and what are your plans to adapt in the next two, five and ten years?

Jill Huselton is a Senior Marketing Manager at InterCall

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