Revolutionizing the Almighty Quarterly Update or Year-end Meeting
January 24, 2014 @ 10:21 AM | By Sarah Murphy

Quarterly

If your company does business from more than one office, it is important to make everyone feel like an invaluable piece of a bigger puzzle. A loyal workforce is one in which each member feels valued and informed. But how is it possible to gather all those people in one room for a year-end meeting or quarterly update without breaking the bank?

While such a thing may sound impossible, that is far from the case. Through today’s conferencing services, remote teams, divisions or the whole organization can gather together on a single conference call. Using audio, video or the web they can connect from multiple locations simultaneously, discuss current issues and ideas and get a feel for where the company is headed. Through the web, it is also possible to share documents, budgets and revenue projections—key for fostering strong employee relations and establishing clear goals for the year or quarter ahead.

Should the need arise, the larger gathering may also break into smaller groups—perhaps by region, product or area of expertise. What a wonderful way to kill two birds with one stone, all while saving thousands on travel expenses and having to carve just one chunk of time out of busy schedules.

To learn more about how InterCall can help bring your company together no matter how many offices is has, please click here.

Sarah MurphySarah Murphy is a marketing manager at InterCall. With over ten years of experience in the conferencing industry, Sarah has worked with customers and products that cover all segments of conferencing, including traditional operator attended services, video and online meeting solutions.

Got the Fever for Conference Calls?
January 22, 2014 @ 01:44 PM | By Jill Huselton

Sick

You are home sick from work. This means instead of dressing up and driving into the office, you are lucky if you can get yourself out of bed and make yourself chicken noodle soup. It also means that at 11, you are going to have to muster up some sort of energy to dial in to the must-attend conference.

Unfortunately, work does not stop when you are sick, and part of holding a job means getting your work done even when you are not feeling your best. However, under certain circumstances, it’s best to keep your runny nose, bronchitis-like cough and sweaty fever at home; after all, you never want to be that guy who gets all the healthy people sick.

Thankfully, those snotty tissues and sore throats can remain at home thanks to today’s web conferencing services, which allow employees to dial into conference calls and remotely access desktops and applications without having to download any software—and all from the comfort of their home. By holding unified meetings, an employee can connect to a conference call and still have all of the resources available at the office without having to leave the home.

With flu season upon us and closer work quarters than ever before, it is time to be honest with yourself as to whether you can work remotely that day. And don’t forget to remember basic etiquette when it comes to conferences. If your sneezing fits and incessant cough will dramatically interrupt the flow of the call, then do everyone a favor and pop the cough drops and Sudafed and take a nap instead.

Jill HuseltonJill Huselton is a senior marketing manager at InterCall. She's been in the conferencing industry for nearly 15 years, working in operations, account management and marketing, mainly based in Colorado. Before leaving the Mile-High City, she hiked a 14er, one of her top accomplishments. Now she's traded the mountains for the beach and works from a home office in North Carolina.

Keep Everybody in the Loop with a Conference Call
January 16, 2014 @ 01:39 PM | By Jill Huselton

Remotelocales

You are about to head to your 9 am meeting. So, you roll out of bed and pour yourself a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee, and make your way to your office in New York City. You will be joined by Mary, who is sitting in a coffee shop parking lot in Delaware, as well as Steve who is currently dialing in from a hotel room in Georgia. Also on the line will be Ben, who is stuck in traffic somewhere outside of Chicago.

In the current economic climate, more and more companies are abandoning traditional brick-and-mortar offices for the cost-effective virtual work environment. In many cases, teams will only meet once in a blue moon but will be able to accomplish projects over great distances instead of in the same physical setting.

As anyone who works with a team of people in an office can testify, however, it takes time to get to know the habits and personalities of your coworkers. Oftentimes, it could take a few months before a team really clicks and gets rolling. When forced to accomplish this without meeting in real life, teams require advanced solutions for working together and making sure that everyone is on the same page.

Additionally, there are logistical issues related to collaboration that must be overcome in order to experience success. Real-time communication must ensue without excessive time delays. When trying to edit a draft together, in other words, you can’t wait all morning for an edit to come back via email if it is time sensitive. True collaboration is a parallel process, not a linear one. We’ve all lived through the email strings that have different people responding to different iterations at different times. You need to get everyone on the same page to be effective.

Online meetings are the perfect solution for overcoming issues related to both logistics and geographical distance. Through the use of a unified meeting, teams can edit documents in real-time and work on projects both efficiently and cost-effectively.

We want to know, has your team of remote workers had success using online meetings? Tell us about your experiences below.

Jill HuseltonJill Huselton is a senior marketing manager at InterCall. She's been in the conferencing industry for nearly 15 years, working in operations, account management and marketing, mainly based in Colorado. Before leaving the Mile-High City, she hiked a 14er, one of her top accomplishments. Now she's traded the mountains for the beach and works from a home office in North Carolina.

Ring in the New Year with a Conference Call
January 15, 2014 @ 01:52 PM | By Sarah Murphy

2014The gifts have all been opened, the resolutions set and someone finally tossed the fruitcake that was sitting in the conference room for weeks. It’s time to get back to business. But what if all those extra cookies and glasses of eggnog are weighing down more than the office chairs? Something needs to happen to get the creative juices flowing again and bring your staff back into the swing of things. What better way to do this than with a start-of-the-year conference call?

First, bringing everyone together for a conference will re-establish coworker camaraderie and remind them that they have a work family as well as their family at home. Nothing is a better motivator than feeling like a part of something bigger, knowing everyone depends on each other and seeing a real opportunity to contribute.

As the conversation starts to look back on the previous year, use the call to reflect on what worked well in 2013 and discuss what can be done better in 2014. Agree to goals and objectives everyone can work toward and have someone record them. Once the call is finished, the chosen secretary should send these objectives out to all participants—or even the entire company in general—as a roadmap for the coming year.

Like a football team that regroups after a half-time break, uniting your team after the holidays sends the message that it’s time to get back into the game. When it’s not possible to gather the entire office around one table, conference calls are the most efficient way to get the ball rolling again.

What could you discuss on your start-of-year conference call?

Sarah MurphySarah Murphy is a marketing manager at InterCall. With over ten years of experience in the conferencing industry, Sarah has worked with customers and products that cover all segments of conferencing, including traditional operator attended services, video and online meeting solutions.

How the Art Department Can Benefit from Online Meetings
January 14, 2014 @ 02:22 PM | By Sarah Murphy

Graphic

Frank is one of the best graphic designers on your staff. He can produce an outstanding infographic and dazzle your clients with his work. But while Frank is great at his job, he still needs clear instructions in order for the project he is working on to turn out right. Part of the task of custom publishing is making sure that you get a piece tailored exactly to a client’s needs. And while Frank is many things, he is not a psychic. He needs to know what the client wants before sitting at his laptop.

Through the power of an online meeting, Frank is able to jump on a conference call with the editorial department, the client and the operational team. He is able to converse with the client while referring to templates in real-time to show exactly what the team is capable of producing and how they can create exactly what is needed. This way, there is no guessing game when it comes to getting something done right the first time. Frank is also able to show videos, photos, pictures and articles to get a firm understanding of how the company wants to present its culture and business proposition.

Then, after the project is done, everyone involved in the creation of the infographic can gather together and edit the final piece in real time. For example, the editorial team can edit its text while Frank tweaks the colors to give it the complimentary edge that it needs. A team can then send the infographic out to a client resting assured that the product will be well-received.

How do you bring multiple team members together to collaborate on a project, so you aren’t wasting time with a lot of back and forth?

Sarah MurphySarah Murphy is a marketing manager at InterCall. With over ten years of experience in the conferencing industry, Sarah has worked with customers and products that cover all segments of conferencing, including traditional operator attended services, video and online meeting solutions.

To Conference, or Not to Conference?
January 10, 2014 @ 12:56 PM | By Christina Todisco

Juggling

It is a busy day, and you are in the middle of four different projects when it comes time to drop everything you are doing and attend an audio conference. You enter the conference and proceed to spend the next 45 minutes listening to two people go back and forth about a topic that has nothing to do with you.

Oftentimes, there is a fine line as to whether a topic deserves a conference in the first place. Many conferences can easily take place over email or be worked out between two people at a time. It is important to remember that while conferences are a great way to host group meetings, an unnecessary meeting can waste the time of colleagues and workers and can actually impede daily production.

In addition to determining if the time is right for a conference call, think about who you are inviting and ask yourself if those people really need to be on the call. Good management is getting the right information to the right people—not spamming everyone and their brother with everything. So as you put your invite together, make sure you have the right people coming to the meeting that will help you obtain your desired outcome.

And when you talk about sharing the right information, consider adding web conferencing to your meetings. When you do that, a whole workforce can join over a single interface that is easy to set up and navigate. Here, attendees can have access to text, audio and video presentations in real-time over the Internet. It is a way of collaborating in a group setting, rather than simply through voice communication. Direct input can be entered and seen by multiple people, so that ideas can be viewed with ease.

Want to learn more about how you can get the whole group communicating during a conference call? You can find more information here.

Christina TodiscoChristina Todisco is a marketing manager at InterCall and has been in the conferencing industry since 2002. Christina currently provides product marketing support for InterCall’s audio services, reporting and invoice solutions and InterCall Online. When not working, Christina enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, family and friends.

Stop the Waiting Game, Your Clients Sure Want To
January 8, 2014 @ 01:02 PM | By Sarah Murphy

Late

Picture this scenario: You’ve been sitting on the phone for five minutes, waiting for a business associate who is late for a meeting. You’ve checked your calendar to confirm the time, as well as the clock. Should you hang up? What if you hang up, and the person you are waiting for joins the conference as soon as you do? Will they know you were waiting? Will they think poorly of you?

Anyone who has experienced a situation like this during a conference call can attest to how awkward it feels when the other party does not enter the call. Moreover, determining proper phone etiquette, including at what point you can hang up, is no small feat. Unfortunately, there is no standard rule for dealing with this problem and every situation is different, depending on who is on the other end of the line.

If it’s your boss, for instance, or a key client, that you are waiting for, you don’t want to be the one who hangs up too early. In this case, it’s advisable to endure every possible awkward minute that you can. This could be five minutes, or it could be 10. Only you know the habits of your co-workers and clientele. Some people are just always late. And if you are on the phone with a client while your boss is late, it is up to you to appease them and keep chatter going for as long as possible.

Occasionally, however, the situation could work in your favor. If, for instance, you did not get your work done and you know that you are truly in for it, there is nothing better than a botched phone call. It’s the same magic feeling one would experience in grade school when the teacher would get sick before a test and cancel the assessment. By the fourth minute of this call, you might as well hang up and celebrate.

No matter the circumstance though, there is oftentimes the empty feeling knowing that your client or co-worker blew you off. Further, there is a somber email to write, expressing a desire to “follow up at a later date.” And the next time you get on the phone with them, there will almost always be an apology waiting.

The point is that we’ve all experienced this awkwardness, and it’s not fun when you get stuck waiting forever for someone to pick up the phone. But if stellar customer service is your priority, then you should never put a client in this situation. If you can’t make a call, it’s best to let them know that you will not be able to make it. And with the right conference services for your mobile phone, you can log in to a meeting and inform participants of your status wherever you may be—no matter how busy you are.

So, how long do you typically wait during a conference call before you hang up the phone? Let us know in the comments section below.

Sarah MurphySarah Murphy is a marketing manager at InterCall. With over ten years of experience in the conferencing industry, Sarah has worked with customers and products that cover all segments of conferencing, including traditional operator attended services, video and online meeting solutions.

Don’t Let BYOD Security Concerns Stop You From Mobile Conferencing
January 6, 2014 @ 12:27 PM | By Jill Huselton

Byod

Are fears about security holding you back from establishing a reliable mobile conferencing solution in your enterprise? Does the fear of sensitive company information traveling around wherever your employees roam keep you up at night?

You should always be conscious of safeguarding your company information. And when it comes to conference calls, the last thing that you want is for an interloper to listen in to an insider-only call. But with the right conference call security features, you can mitigate the likelihood of this from happening and enjoy all of the benefits that mobile conferencing has to offer.

Here are some basic security features currently available for your mobile device that can make conference calls as safe as possible when meeting on-the-go:

  • Leader PINs: Use a unique PIN so that there is never any question about the integrity of the person in charge of leading the meeting.
  • Entry/ Exit announcements: Now it is possible to make it known whenever someone enters or exits a conference call. This way, nobody can silently listen in without the knowledge of everyone else.
  • Conference locks: Conferences can be locked in order to prevent unwanted guests from accidentally dialing in.
  • Conference Continuation: You want to be sure that the call ends when you say it does—and will not linger on. Having this feature turned off will ensure that the call is over when you want it to be. At the same time, it can be adjusted to end when the last caller leaves the room.

Additionally, increased call management options currently available for mobile devices make it possible to see exactly who is in a meeting and where they are dialing in from. This way, if there is a suspicious party on the line, they can be called out and investigated. Unwanted third parties stand no chance of sneaking onto the line when it is possible to monitor each and every person on a call.

As with everything in life, nothing great comes with a no-risk guarantee. But with a little forethought, intelligence and oversight, there’s no reason your company should miss out on the many benefits of mobile conferencing.

Tell us, how do you ensure security while conferencing in your enterprise?

Jill HuseltonJill Huselton is a senior marketing manager at InterCall. She's been in the conferencing industry for nearly 15 years, working in operations, account management and marketing, mainly based in Colorado. Before leaving the Mile-High City, she hiked a 14er, one of her top accomplishments. Now she's traded the mountains for the beach and works from a home office in North Carolina.

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