A Conference Call in Real Life - Solving the Problems in the Video
February 27, 2014 @ 02:39 PM | By Dennis Collins

Anyone who has spent time on a conference call can attest to the fact that there are a multitude of awkward situations that can arise and ruin the overall experience.

These situations were pointed out in a recent video that went viral on YouTube, “A Conference Call in Real Life.” If you haven’t seen the clip yet, just like the title suggests, it depicts what would happen if a typical conference call were to be acted out by a group of people sitting around a table.

 

 

 

The reason the video is so popular is because we all can associate with it; anyone who’s been on a conference call has probably experienced as least one of the scenarios depicted in the video. But with the right solutions, your conference calls don’t have to go this way.

Here is a look at some of the problems that are addressed during the video, and how you can make sure that they don’t happen to you:

1. Getting someone’s name wrong

The video starts when a woman chimes into a conference and the man at the table thinks it’s someone else. With the right conference call software, visibility features allow everyone to see who is in attendance over a mobile device or computer screen. That way, instead of asking who just joined, attendees can specifically greet each other by name.

2. Bored attendees

During the video, the camera shows the face of a woman who appears to be working hard on her laptop. But when the camera shows her screen, she is playing cards. Boredom, in other words, is a major problem during a conference call.

So why not try adding an online meeting component to keep attendees interested because they can see what you are talking about? This will keep everyone active and working together instead of drifting off into space and wasting valuable time.

3. Locked out attendees

One of the most awkward scenes  in the video involves a conferencer being locked out of the room, struggling to get back inside. Those in the meeting try and help out by yelling to put in access codes and PIN numbers, which disrupts the meeting.

With the help of a one-click solution, attendees in real life can jump directly from an email invitation to the meeting and avoid the hassles of not being able to enter a conference call.

Now your meetings will run like this instead...

 

Have you had any experiences similar to “A Conference Call in Real Life”? Please tell us in the comments section below.

Dennis CollinsDennis Collins is the director of marketing for Conferencing and Collaboration at InterCall. In this role, he directs a team that provides strategic marketing support for product launches, external communications, competitive positioning and channel/sales communications. His career spans a wide range of communications, marketing and operations experiences including being a digital video pioneer as well as spending 13 years with technology PR firm as partner and COO. Entrepreneur does not escape the list; Dennis also started his own ad agency and founded an award-winning gourmet dessert café.

5 True Webcast Horror Stories
February 25, 2014 @ 12:19 PM | By Eric Vidal

A webcast is a video conference meant to drive user engagement and connect with target audiences. It is a fantastic way to convey information to large groups of people—particularly clients and colleagues—as quickly and efficiently as possible. Not only can webcasts add up to exponential savings (no more paying for plane tickets, hotel rooms, conference lunches, or venues), but their myriad of features can captivate an audience far better than your standard, lecture-style meeting.

Because they’re so simple, however, people sometimes forget that they are professional communication events and should be treated as such.

Webcasts can be launched as frequently and quickly as you need them without throwing the entire company (or departmental budgets) out of order.  When used incorrectly or hastily, however, even the best advancement can become a liability.


Here are the top five true webcast horror stories that really happened to me. Hopefully, you can learn from the terrible examples these professionals made.

1. Hit mute. We can still hear you on the webcast.

We’ve all heard urban legends about the top executive who took a break from a webcast in order to use the bathroom, but forgot to turn off his microphone. It’s scary enough to keep you up all night—or prevent you from excusing yourself when the need arrives.

Don't forget to log out or mute your line before doing something embarrassing.

This one may be the most embarrassing of the bunch. But, what makes it even worse is that it's so simple to avoid. It only takes an extra bit of caution. If you can’t remove your microphone when taking a break, train yourself to at least turn it off.

2. Making your pets a part of a professional webcast.

Dogs are great. Truly, they are. Man’s best friend and all. But if they had something insightful to add to your webcast, they probably would have made headlines by now.

Dogs and cats have no place on a professional webcast.

When choosing a place for your webcast, be mindful of distractions like barking dogs, ringing phones, and intrusive roommates. 

A famous author in the learning and development industry had some problems on a webinar that I was moderating. Her dog was barking pretty loud and I told her I would take a question from the audience in order to give her a second. Well, she forgot to mute her line and said some pretty colorful things to her dog before I could mute her.

The fan mail she received was not that pleasant.

3. The pompous abuse of webcast power.

There is a story circulating about a woman who drove by a police officer while webcasting in her car. When he pulled her over for using a handheld device illegally, she turned the camera toward him in an attempt to embarrass him. Yes, this is actually a true urban legend.

It's simple: don't be a jerk on a webcast.

The moral of the story? Well, aside from being mindful of your environment again, don’t let the power of webcasting go to your head.

Personal Hint: this was an ex-coworker of mine and that highway was the 880 in the Bay Area in California.

4. Careful who you talk about on a webcast.

This true webcasting horror story can get you in some serious trouble. 

Much like the executive who forgot to turn his microphone off during a bathroom break, there is the tale of the webcaster who mistakenly thought his microphone was muted during a webcast and began talking to other people about the attendees.

You better be sure you muted the webcast before you say that.

Not only is this embarrassing and highly unprofessional, it can cost clients, your reputation, and possibly your job.

5. Forgetting a webcast is still a professional meeting.

This is probably the most believable of the true webcasting stories. Because, who want to wear a suit at home?

Webcasting from home—or even on vacation—is a luxury we are lucky to have in the 21st century. Don’t take advantage of it by wearing something that would never be acceptable in the office.

You should still dress professionally for a webcast.

So put the bathrobe away and pull out a nice, collared shirt. If you’re sitting, perhaps you can get away with a pair of slippers. I have a few great examples here of things gone bad, but not sure this is the right vehicle for this. Ok, I will say too much skin was showed on a couple of occasions.

Can you share one that you have been a part of or maybe heard about?

Eric Vidal Eric 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.

Get Free or Discounted Passes to Enterprise Connect 2014
February 21, 2014 @ 10:55 AM | By Dennis Collins

With over 60 conference sessions covering unified communications, cloud, SIP trunking, mobility, contact centers, social apps, security and video, keynotes from industry leaders and more than150 vendors represented, Enterprise Connect has become a major resource for IT decision makers. Which is why we will be in Orlando March 17-19, along with West Corporation, our parent company.

Enterprise Connect in Orlando FL

Attending Enterprise Connect in Orlando March 17-19?
Be sure and stop by our booth #119 to talk to our engineers about your UC deployment!


Get access to discounted full conference passes or free expo passes

Just visit the Enterprise Connect website to register and use our discount code: XYECE2074. While you’re there, you can stop by our booth #119 to talk to our engineers about your UC deployment.  

You can also learn more about our full suite of UC products and services:

  • Maxxis - bring your network together on one easy-to-use platform, backed by our world-class support
  • VoiceMaxx – give your admins unrivaled control and flexibility with our suite of cloud-based, on–demand services
  • VoiceMaxx CE – provide a highly flexible voice solution based on the Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) platform
  • ControlMaxx – give administrators and agents the tools they need to ensure excellence in customer service with contact center functionality
  • MaxxSecure - put security in the cloud and protect your network from spam and viruses, unauthorized intrusions and inappropriate web content
  • IVR Solutions – choose from cloud-based and on-premise caller self-service options with one of the industry’s largest, most reliable, and secure providers
  • Proactive Notifications - send intelligent, interactive messages to hundreds, thousands or millions of end points anywhere in the world via voice, email, SMS text and social media
  • Unified Meeting® 5 - enhance the way you communicate by making meetings convenient and easy to manage with a complete web-based tool
  • Web Event Services – utilize an expert event services team to ensure your events are flawless

If you aren’t going to make it to Enterprise Connect this year, you should still take the opportunity to discuss your UC needs. Give us some information about yourself and one of our experts will be in touch soon.

Hope to see you in Orlando!

Dennis CollinsDennis Collins is the director of marketing for Conferencing and Collaboration at InterCall. In this role, he directs a team that provides strategic marketing support for product launches, external communications, competitive positioning and channel/sales communications. His career spans a wide range of communications, marketing and operations experiences including being a digital video pioneer as well as spending 13 years with technology PR firm as partner and COO. Entrepreneur does not escape the list; Dennis also started his own ad agency and founded an award-winning gourmet dessert café.

InterCall Named 2013 Partner of the Year by BlueJeans Network
February 13, 2014 @ 12:38 PM | By Dennis Collins

Back in April of 2012 InterCall teamed up with the BlueJeans Network in the name of providing businesses with powerful video conferencing capabilities. Then in November of 2013 InterCall announced the rollout of Reservationless Plus Audio coupled with BlueJeans Video to solidify the partnership.

Then, lo and behold, BlueJeans Network presented InterCall with their 2013 Partner of the Year award for our commitment to industry leading, best-in-class collaboration solutions, technical excellence in integrating our platforms and strategically selling the BlueJeans value proposition across our customer base.

2013_Partner of the Year_Gray

We’re honored with the recognition, which underscores the importance integrated conferencing solutions have in business communications.

Video-centric Conferencing on the Rise

Combining InterCall’s Reservationless-Plus audio conferencing with BlueJeans’ cloud-based video conferencing has become a no-brainer for companies looking for a cost effective solution that is on-demand.

The synergy between InterCall and BlueJeans continues to meet the demands many workers have today of being able to meet face to face with no travel required, improve mobile access and boost productivity—all without the need to purchase expensive or specialized equipment.

The power of combining audio and video conferencing in one
Add the power of video to your audio meetings with the same simplicity as conducting audio-only conference calls

Whether connecting from traditional phone lines, though mobile devices or by video, the seamless integration of InterCall and Blue Jeans offers you one meeting solution. It’s that easy.

If you want to see how it works, try a 14-day free trial and enjoy:

  • Unlimited video audio minutes
  • Conference up to 25 participants
  • Use Microsoft Lync, Google Video Chat, room systems or simply a web browser to host your call

Have you tried incorporating video conferencing into your meetings? What do you think?

Dennis CollinsDennis Collins is the director of marketing for Conferencing and Collaboration at InterCall. In this role, he directs a team that provides strategic marketing support for product launches, external communications, competitive positioning and channel/sales communications. His career spans a wide range of communications, marketing and operations experiences including being a digital video pioneer as well as spending 13 years with technology PR firm as partner and COO. Entrepreneur does not escape the list; Dennis also started his own ad agency and founded an award-winning gourmet dessert café.

Top 5 Reasons Small Businesses Need Quality Conferencing
February 6, 2014 @ 09:29 AM | By Tonya Hottmann

Are you a small business owner on the fence about using professional conferencing services? Before you throw your hands in the air and write off conference calling altogether, consider these five important benefits of conferencing to your business.

With the advancements and ready availability of technology and high-speed internet to small businesses in the United States, it is now easier that ever to put that "professional conference call" shine on your front facing small business.

Having a reliable, functional, and intuitive conferencing solution shows business partners and investors that you're serious about you ventures and expect the best.

Today's small-and medium-sized businesses taking advantage of conferencing services.

Here are five reasons why small businesses should take advantage of this great technology:

1. Conferencing gives you the ability to be in two places at once.

As a small business owner, you need the ability to leverage all possible points of contact in real time. Today's technology give you the perfect platform through which you can keep all lines of business in contact seamlessly.

Today’s conferencing services allow you to be in Hong Kong, New York and Napa Valley all at the same time. You can interact with people from all over the world while accessing important documents and collaborating as if you’re all sitting at the same computer.

2. When life gets in the way, your conference can continue.

Stuck in traffic? Running late? Just found out that your quarterly meeting falls on the same afternoon as your daughter’s game?

Unlike in Corporate America, when real life gets in the way of work, small business owners can'yt just call off and rest assured the day's work will be handled. Nope - when you miss a day, the company falls a day behind.

Thanks to mobile conferencing, your cell phone can have all the features of your office land line. Not only can you see who is on the call and where they are checking in from—you can even engage in breakout sessions should the need arise.

3. Conferencing grows your business by growing your professional network.

Did you know that 77 percent of professionals, given the opportunity, will establish at least one new LinkedIn connection after an online meeting?

It's not lost on the entrepreneur that every interaction is an opportunity to expand your personal network—and conferencing allows you to connect with colleagues from around the globe in a virtual face-to-face environment. 

4. Add a personal touch and be available to clients.

As mentioned before, today’s conferencing services allow you to conference anytime, anywhere. But that doesn’t mean clients of a Fortune 500 company will have 24/7 access to the CEO. More likely, they’re working with their sales representative or customer service agent when the need arises.

Smaller companies, on the other hand, have greater ability to provide that personal touch at higher levels. With an integrated conferencing service, you can pop in on a call with a client and finish off a crucial sale or reassure them of your concern. This personal touch from the owner of the company can make all the difference.

5. Create opportunities to increase company visibility.

A full conferencing solution can give small businesses the opportunity to hold online meetings and events that will help their brand and increase their visibility. 

In November 2013, President Barack Obama spoke with and answered questions from thousands of Americans at one time, via an online conference call.

If this technology can magnify visibility for the President of the United States and give the impression of increased transparency, just imagine what it can do for your company.

Do you use conferencing to enhance your small business? Tell us about your experiences in the comment section below. 

Tonya Hottmann imageTonya Hottmann is the director of marketing at InterCall, responsible for eCommerce and small business. Before joining InterCall, Tonya ran a boutique marketing consulting firm for 10 years. She has worked in the digital and technology marketing sector since 1997, growing start-ups and launching eCommerce solutions. In her free time, she enjoys reading, sports and traveling.

5 Keys to Web Conference Interviews in 2014
February 3, 2014 @ 09:01 AM | By Sarah Murphy

Virtual interviews can be tricky. Just follow these rules for success.

These days, many companies have begun conducting interviews via online meetings rather than inviting candidates to travel to their offices in person. This saves time and money on both sides—allowing potential employees to remain at home (and not take time off from their current jobs) and saving employers from paying for trips with candidates who end up not being a good fit.

By recording a mock interview, you can make necessary adjustments before it’s too late.

Here are some tips you can practice before your live interview via a web conference:

1. Web interview eye contact

Just like in real life, eye contact is important on a web interview. So while it may be tempting to check yourself out on the screen every few seconds (Is my head tilting to the side? Is there something in my teeth? Does my smile look genuine?).

Make sure to keep your focus directed toward the camera.

2. Interview first impressions count - Mind your background

When you are interviewing for a job, the last thing you want your would-be boss to see is the pile of dirty dishes by your sink.

And if you leave your house, make sure you are someplace quiet where there aren’t a lot of distractions (a busy coffee shop down the street is probably not the best place to go).

3. Body language counts on the internet too

No matter which side of the interview fence you’re on, visual cues are extremely important. Be mindful of posture, keep track of what you do with your hands, smile when appropriate and remain focused.

You may just be eyeing a spider that’s about to jump onto your head, but if you’re constantly glancing down or to the side the interviewer may assume you’re looking at your watch (i.e., you’re bored) or at notes (you lack the ability to think on your feet).

4. Show genuine interest in the interview

Just because you aren't in the same room with your interviewers, doesn't mean they can't tell when you lose concentration and interest. When this happens, it is a death nell for an online interview to give the impression that you aren't taking it seriously.

In addition to maintaining eye contact and not peeking at your watch, advertise your interest by asking follow up questions, paying attention and sounding energetic.

5. Adjust the audio for online ediquite

When playing back your mock interview, take note of things such as voice, tone, volume, long pauses, and hesitation sounds such as “umm” and “well.” Mistakes in these areas will certainly not help—and will more than likely hurt—the way you’re perceived on the other end.

Have you been through a virtual interview before? What tips do you have for our readers?

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.

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