InterCall Charity Drive: The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
November 19, 2012 @ 12:53 PM | By Cambria Vaccaro

As we enter the holiday season, we are grateful for the comfort of our warm homes and the joy of our loved ones. Unfortunately, for some, the holidays are a painful reminder of hardships they have experienced over the last year—job loss, eviction, illness or separation from family. The greatest gift we can give this holiday season is hope. Help us spread holiday hope this winter by giving gifts of comfort and joy to our community’s most vulnerable families and individuals.

The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless houses 2300 families and individuals on any given night, and we see many more each day through our programs and services. The leading causes of homelessness are job loss, domestic violence and health crises—each situation is unique and each family or individual has their own set of needs in order to overcome homelessness and remain in stable housing. Unlike a shelter or soup kitchen, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless works toward lasting solutions through the provision of housing, medical and mental health care, and supportive programs such as employment, substance treatment services, case management and early childhood education. The Coalition has a success rate of keeping nearly 90% of the people they work with housed, but families are losing their housing at a much faster rate due to high unemployment rates and increasing rental costs.

So that’s why the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless exists! During the holidays, they collect specific items for several groups:

  • Those moving into a home from a shelter or the street
  • Adults who remain homeless during the winter season
  • Children who are in shelters or have entered Coalition housing

InterCall is a company that does more than just connect business people through communication services, we also help connect and support our community. So you know we had to take action with our very own InterCall Colorado Annual Charity Drive!

  • Who: Any InterCall employees, teams, friends and/or family
  • What: Donations for homeless Colorado families (see the lists below of things in need, but any and all items are welcome!)
  • When: November 19 - December 14, 2012
  • Where: There will be donation bins in both the Westminster and Highlands Ranch office kitchens. Please place your donated items there. All donated items will be taken to the Homeless Coalition on December 15, 2012.

And we invite you to take part in our initiative so that we can really make an impact for this worthwhile cause! Visit the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless website for details on how you can donate as well!

Donation Requests:

Home for the Holidays Basket

  • Household Cleaning Supplies
  • Mop and Broom
  • Bucket
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Laundry Basket
  • Toiletries
  • Grocery Store Gift Cards
  • Hangers
  • Alarm Clock
  • Door Mat
  • Calendar
  • Kitchen Towels

Warm Winter Package

  • Sleeping Bag
  • Blanket
  • Adult Backpack
  • NEW Socks (wool)
  • New Boots
  • Quick Service Restaurant Gift Cards
  • Hats, Gloves and Scarves
  • New or Gently Used Coats
  • Hand and Foot Warmers
  • Travel Size Tissues

Gifts of Children’s Cheer

  • Children’s Books
  • Puzzles
  • Outdoor Play Items (i.e. balls, hula hoops, sidewalk chalk)
  • Infant Care Items (i.e. wet wipes, baby powder, diapers)

There's great joy in giving to those in need and if you, family or friends are in a position to contribute, it would be much appreciated!

Happy Holidays from InterCall

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 and mother of two gorgeous girls.

10 Steps for Creating a Perfect Webcast
November 8, 2012 @ 10:22 AM | By Eric Vidal

First, Let's start off with a graphic representation of some key points about Webcasts. These are some of the important aspects to focus on in the planning stage of your webcast.

Run a perfect webcast or live virtual event with these tips.

In the last few years, webcasting has become a common and popular method of delivering important information to a targeted yet geographically dispersed group of people. And for good reason. A webcast provides the immediacy, intimacy and interaction of a live presentation, but without the need to rent a large room or have participants travel from all over to attend.

Yet as with any tool, a webcast is only as good as the people using it. After all, a hammer and chisel can be used to create a masterpiece – or to destroy one.

The following 10 tips will help ensure your next webcast falls into the former category.

1. Create goals, strategy and a plan.

When webcasting was first introduced, companies were very careful to ensure they knew why they were offering them and the results they wanted to achieve because of the amount of effort they took. Now, because webcasting is so common and the technology is so easy to use, some of those initial steps are often being left out in the rush to get the next webcast out.

Start by knowing what your goal is for the webcast, and then build a strategy and a plan that will help you reach that goal. To get you started, here are the top responses from a recent survey of 341 business leaders on how they use virtual solutions to impact their businesses:

  • Get products and services to market faster
  • Reach more audiences at a lower cost
  • Develop more effective and efficient sales teams and channel partners
  • Shorten sales cycles
  • Create stronger relationships with prospects, customers and partners
  • Reduce support costs by training customers

2. Use a catchy title and description.

Having a catchy title and description will help your webcast stand out from all the other emails and announcements your target audience receives and ensure they know there's something in it for them.

As you develop your title and description, take a cue from advertising copywriters and use action verbs to amp up the wattage. Include searchable keywords if you're promoting your webcast to people outside of your invitee list so search engines will pick up your content.

In the description, be sure to spell out clearly what the session is about and what attendees will get out of it for the time they invest. Use bullet points to make it easier for busy people to read and understand your key points quickly. Offering an incentive for participating, such as a free download, can also help increase attendance.

3. Create a promotion plan.

With your message created it's time to start promoting your webcast. Start with marketing tools that have little or no cost attached to them, such as your Website, intranet, and email blasts to prospect lists. Send two or three email invitations, and create a robust microsite that easily walks respondents through the registration process.  

Social media tools such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook can help you spread the word quickly. Find LinkedIn groups relevant to your audience and post there. Create a hashtag for your event on Twitter and then use it to post roughly three times per week prior to the event. You can also create a Facebook event page and then update it at least once a week.

If you have some marketing budget to support your event, consider issuing an eNewsletter, perhaps supplemented with additional names from a list broker. Purchase Google Adwords and place event sections in local newspapers and/or trade publication websites. Leverage any public relations you're doing, too, and be sure to take advantage of any mechanisms your partners have, as well. 

Finally, be sure to embed a "promo code" into each communication so you can track the effectiveness of each vehicle. That way you can find which worked best so you can refine your marketing efforts for your next webcast.

4. Use slides as visual aids, not visual points.

While it's not uncommon to see a PowerPoint presentation packed with information on every slide, the truth is having too much information distracts from the presenter, and usually ensures that attendees will have trouble understanding and remembering the material. Instead, use your slides to guide your conversation.

Use graphics frequently; for type-based slides, include only the main points, and just enough about them to help viewers keep their place. Your presentation will be more natural and it will be easier for attendees to stay focused on your message.

5. Use story-telling techniques.

The most effective speakers, whether they're in front of a live audience or on a webcast, use stories to hold attention and illustrate concepts. Common analogies and specific examples, such as case studies, help your audience relate to the material better than a dry recitation of facts.

You can use one or two statistics or hard data points to move the material from the theoretical to the practical, but don't overload your audience with details or you'll risk losing them.

Pro Tip: You can always make more information available after the webcast for those who are interested. 

6. Keep the session interactive.

Involve your audience throughout the presentation to keep them interested, minimize "multitasking" and encourage them to contribute. Make it clear in your introduction that the session will be collaborative, and encourage them to ask questions or make comments throughout, rather than waiting until the end.

Another technique you can use is to ask one or two poll questions within the first two to three minutes. You'll set the tone and gain information that can help you tailor your delivery to the points of greatest interest to your audience. Ask questions at predetermined points in the presentation and call on attendees to respond to confirm they understand what you are saying.

Pro Tip: Be sure to reserve time at the end for Q&A as well as a way to wrap things up. If you have an ongoing forum, refer your audience there to continue the conversation.

7. Create memorable content.

On the internet, content is king. Select interesting speakers, engaging subjects and timely themes that resonate with your audience. Invite industry experts, customers or high-profile pundits to join you and help draw more participants.

Keep the topic general rather than specific to your products or services, because adding to your prospects' knowledge base will attract more interest than a blatant sales pitch – and increase your chances of bringing them back for another webcast down the road.

8. Extend the conversation before and after the event.

Use your webcast as a conversation driver, not an isolated event. Create interest in advance by blogging about it, and posting to discussion boards or groups to build anticipation for the topic. Use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to generate awareness and excitement as well.

After the event, create a centralized place such as a virtual environment or conference where the conversation can continue. Be sure your subject matter experts are prepared to continue participating as well.

9. Remember the folks who register but don't attend.

Although not everyone who registers will be able to attend your webcast, anyone who registers is probably interested in your topic. Follow up diligently with all. Send attendees a "thank you for attending" note; send those who didn't a "sorry we missed you" note and encourage them to access the webcast on-demand by sending a link to the archived content.

Pro Tip: The on-demand period can generate 40 percent or more of your total attendees, so don't take it for granted.

10. Conduct post-event analysis.

Evaluate your content, presentations and event from your own perspective as well as that of your attendees. Read feedback, survey results, chats, polls and Q&A from the session.

Determine how many people actively participated, and whether their comments/questions were appropriate to the topic. If not, go back over your promotional materials, content and audience composition to determine if they were aligned. Also look at how many stayed through the entire session and how many dropped out (and at what point).

The more information you can glean from this session, the better and more successful your next webcasts will be.

Eric VidalEric Vidal is a Director of Product Marketing at InterCall and is considered a leading voice and expert in virtual business, which expands from marketing to collaboration to learning. He has more than 15 years experience in developing, implementing and optimizing strategies in these areas for numerous organizations and Global 2000 companies. As the director of product marketing for InterCall’s event services, Eric manages the strategy and initiatives for the virtual technologies that include virtual environments, streaming, event management services and operator assisted services. Previously from WebEx, Eric managed the virtual classroom product, as well as brand advertising and new media. Over the last several years, Eric has held management positions at Cisco, WebEx, IBM, BBDO Worldwide and Macromedia.

Captivate Your Audience
November 8, 2012 @ 09:05 AM | By InterCall Blog

Most audience members tune-out. Time-pressed presenters piece together text-laden slides and read them aloud like teleprompters. Bombarded with information overload, audience members become confused, distracted, bored and eventually stop listening.  So how do you keep their attention?

Join Connie Dieken on Wednesday, November 14th, at 1:00 PM Eastern, for a FREE webinar as she explains how you can develop your influence and create a lasting impression on the most demanding listeners.

During this hour-long webinar, you will learn how to:

  • Move audiences to act, influencing minds and outcomes
  • Create engaging, informative presentations
  • Save time and frustration through efficient preparation

Register Now

About the Speaker

As former news anchor, talk show host and an Emmy-winning journalist, Connie Dieken has worked with some of the most powerful people in the US. For the past 12 years, she has been highly in-demand as an executive coach and advisor to the leaders of the world’s most recognizable brands. The author/co-author of five books, she is recognized worldwide as an authority on the skills needed to become and influential leader.

Tonya Hottmann imageTonya Hottmann is the director of marketing at InterCall, responsible for small business marketing. Before joining InterCall, Tonya ran a boutique marketing consulting firm for 10 years. An avid baseball fan, she enjoys reading, traveling, exercising and spending summer days at the beach.

Being on-camera: lessons you can learn from Obama and Romney
November 5, 2012 @ 02:47 PM | By InterCall Blog

I just saw this article on the PR Intelligence Blog run by our PR firm Tech Image and thought it was worth passing along. The post is on what businesspeople can learn from the Presidential candidates about being on-camera.

While the post is more oriented toward media interviews, the principles also apply to video on webcasts or in virtual environments. Video has a lot to offer in terms of engaging an audience and keeping them interested in a presentation. We all relate to people better than raw information or disembodied voices.

But many of us are not used to being on camera, and may not realize some of the things we do visually may be sending the opposite message of our words. That’s something Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are highly aware of, although even they don’t always get it right (as the post points out).

Give the story, and then tell us what you think. Is looking good/appropriate on-camera a natural ability, or is it a skill that can be acquired? How difficult is it to get your executives to practice and review their on-camera presence? What have you done to improve the way you or your executives come across in video? And by all means, please share any funny experiences about early video attempts.

Oh, and regardless of who you support, please take the time to vote tomorrow!

Eric VidalEric Vidal is a Director of Product Marketing at InterCall and is considered a leading voice and expert in virtual business, which expands from marketing to collaboration to learning. He has more than 15 years experience in developing, implementing and optimizing strategies in these areas for numerous organizations and Global 2000 companies. As the director of product marketing for InterCall’s event services, Eric manages the strategy and initiatives for the virtual technologies that include virtual environments, streaming, event management services and operator assisted services. Previously from WebEx, Eric managed the virtual classroom product, as well as brand advertising and new media. Over the last several years, Eric has held management positions at Cisco, WebEx, IBM, BBDO Worldwide and Macromedia.

« October 2012 | Main | December 2012 »