Conference Call Preparation Check List
March 27, 2014 @ 01:09 PM | By Christina Todisco

Any significant endeavor or operation can benefit from a checklist—especially conference calls. If CEOs, busy parents, and even Santa Claus uses them, there's got to be some benefit to using a checklist, right? What better way to make sure you turn the heat down before leaving for vacation, pick up those eggs at the supermarket or change that word at the end of the meeting brief you wrote yesterday?

Before you pick up that phone and hop on your next conference call, make sure to run down yours. If you don’t have one yet, borrow from ours:

 

Conference Call Checklist
Prepare for your conference call with the InterCall checklist.

 

Prepare for the conference call:

  1. Have I emailed invitations to the call?
  2. Do the invitations include the correct time and date for the call?
  3. Do the invitations have all the necessary pass codes and dial-in numbers or better yet, a link to the conference so the system dials to the participants?
  4. Have I reserved a quiet location where distractions will be minimal to nonexistent?

The meat of your meeting:

  1. Have I created an agenda for the call?
  2. If the call will include a guest speaker, have I set aside adequate time?
  3. Have I decided on a format?
  4. Do I have a clear goal in mind for this call?
  5. Have I collected and organized my notes?
  6. Do I have all the participants’ names?
  7. Have I provided the participants with any materials they might need?
  8. Does each participant know his or her role (secretary, moderator, etc.)?

The technicalities:

  1. Am I familiar with how to record the call for future reference?
  2. Have I done a practice run to ensure the sound is of high quality?
  3. Do I know how to reach technical support if something comes up?
  4. If the meeting involves a web conference, has everyone sharing documents downloaded the software?

Tell us, do you have a meeting checklist that has helped you?

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.

2014 Big Ten Tournament Recap - Live Tweets and Great Games
March 18, 2014 @ 08:23 AM | By InterCall Blog

As part of our partnership with the Big Ten Conference, InterCall live tweeted the 2014 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament and hosted a VIP event for clients and friends. Here's how it went:

As a result of InterCall's Big Ten Tournament VIP event, our partnership with the Big Ten Conference and live Tweeting of the games, we were able to:

  • Connect with 36 invited guests from 13 companies at the VIP event.
  • Gain brand exposure via ad placement in Bankers Life Fieldhouse (111,592 total attendance. TV viewership in millions).
  • Add 138 Tweets, 25 mentions on Twitter, 89 re-Tweets and 23 new Twitter followers.

Here is a picture taken at the VIP event at Pearl Street Grill in Indianapolis.

InterCall hosts VIP event at Big Ten Tournament

Live Tweeting the Big Ten Tourney Games

Before I get started about the live Tweeting, allow me to introduce myself - I'm Mike Mardis. Because I am an avid sports fan and social media junkie, I was sent by InterCall (full disclosure - by whom I am employed) to live Tweet the Big Ten Tournament.

This is me on the first day of the tournament entering Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

InterCall arrives at the Big Ten Tournament

Day One - Illinois, Ohio State, Minnesota, and Northwestern Advance

Day one saw Indiana University fall to the University of Illinois in the first game of the tournament by a score of 64-54. The game was closer than the final score indicates. The Hoosiers were only down one point with 2:00 to go in the game. But, the Illini hit a few shots while IU went cold.

IU falls to Illinois in the Big Ten Tourney opener.

Game two came down to the wire as the Ohio State Buckeyes squeaked out a victory over the Purdue Boilermakers by a score of 63-61. The Buckeye faithful were loud (as they always are) and it was an exciting game - a sign of things to come.

BTT3


The next game saw the Minessota Golden Gophers advance past the Penn State Nittany Lions with ease.

Up until this point, there were no real surprises in the Big Ten Tournament. But, that was about to change as Chicago's own Northwestern Wildcats took down the Iowa Hawkeyes 67-62.

BTT4

Day Two - Top 4 seeds in action. Spartans flex thier muscles.

Day two of the tournament started off with another great game that came down to the wire, The number one seeded Michigan Wolverines made their tournament debut and nearly made a quick exit at the hands of the Illini. Illinois had a shot at the buzzer to beat Michigan, but Tracy Abrams came up short and the Wolverines survived.

Michigan survives a scare from Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament.
Next up was we saw the Nebraska Cornhuskers take on the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Buckeyes grabbed another close victory (71-67) on the back of LaQuinton Ross who put up 26 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. It was the last exciting game of the day, however. 

The next two games saw the Wisconsin Badgers rout Minnesota and The Michigan State Spartans bullied Northwestern in the late game 67-51.

The Big Ten Tournament final four was set - Michigan v. Ohio State and Wisconsin v. Michigan State.

Day three - Michigan over Buckeyes. Spartans keep rolling.

Day three was the semi-finals of the Big Ten Tournament and Bankers Life Fieldhouse was electric. The first game featured one of the best rivalries in all of college sports - Michigan v. Ohio State.

Ohio State falls to Michigan in 2014 Big Ten Tourney.

Michigan pulled out to an early lead, but Ohio State battled back to eventually get within striking distance at the end of the game. In the end, it was free throws that killed the Buckeyes. Michigan pulled out the 72-69 win to advance to the final. 

Missed Free throws bring down the Buckeyes at the Big Ten Tourney.

In the second semi-final game the number two seed Badgers of Wisconsin took on the number three seed Spartans of Michigan State. It was a showdown of two of the best mascots in the Big Ten.

Michigan State Spartans take on the Wisconsin Badgers

The Spartans built a massive lead behind one of the best 20:00 of basketball a single team can play in the first half. Michigan State lead the Badgers 43-26 at halftime in what looked like a blowout.

But, as Badgers tend to do when cornered, Wisconsin fought back in the second half. Behind a 28-point performance by Frank Kominsky, Wisconsin cut the Spartan's lead to 7 at one point. But, they would never get any closer as Michigan State won comfortably 83-75. It was a complete team effort by the Spartans as six players finished the game with double digit scoring efforts.

Day four - Michigan State v. Michigan for the title.

The final day of the tournament saw an all-Michigan Big Ten Conference Tournament final. The one seed Michigan was set to take on in-state rivals and three seed Michigan State.

The crowd was intense and loud. It felt like March in NCAA basketball. Too bad the game wasn't much of a contest. Michigan had beaten the Spartans twice in the regular season. But, come tournament time Tom Izzo has his men ready to play.

It's difficult to beat any team three times in one year. But, it's nearly impossible to beat a team as good as Michigan State three times in one year. The Spartans dominated the game from tip to final buzzer. Michigan never made it interesting.

Michigan State took the 2014 Big Ten Conference Tournament title 69-55 over Michigan.

Michigan State Spartans 2014 Big Ten Tournament Champs

Leprechauns vs. B2B Marketers—More Alike Than Meets the Eye?
March 17, 2014 @ 11:30 AM | By Eric Vidal

At first glance, B2B marketers and leprechauns seem worlds apart. After all, leprechauns are known to inhabit the wooded and grassy hillsides of Ireland, while B2B marketers typically take to cubicles and office buildings throughout the world.

But as we prepare to turn the corner into spring and roll out the corned beef and cabbage, it’s worth asking the question: Do we have more in common with leprechauns than we think? Let’s take a look:

Leprechauns_vs_B2B_Marketers_Infographic

 

Sport of choice:

Leprechauns love games. B2B marketers are taking a page from their book to engage buyers. From websites to social media to online communities, marketers are using gamification to connect with and learn about target audiences. In fact, Gartner predicts 70 percent of the world’s largest companies will have used at least one gamified application by the end of 2014.

Biggest complaint:

Leprechauns hate getting caught and will grant you three wishes if you should catch one. B2B marketers hate “one & done.” Repurposing and extending ROI is a key strategy when it comes to content and events. An article can become a whitepaper, an infographic and a blog post. Instead of an in-person product showcase, webcasts and virtual events extend reach beyond four walls and a single day. They magically connect with audiences around the world and keep the conversation going.

Reward:

Everyone knows that leprechauns will steer you towards a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow—which is exactly what B2B marketers do, too. Targeted, content-driven strategies are the rainbow that guides many a business toward success.

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.

March is here - and with it comes the madness of the NCAA men's basketball post season. Join in the excitement with InterCall as we live Tweet from the 2014 Big Ten Conference Men's Basketball Tournament.

Building a strong partnership with the Big Ten Conference

For the second year in a row, InterCall and West are proud sponsors of the Big Ten Conference. And for the second year in a row, InterCall will be hosting an event at the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament.

 

InterCall is the proud conferencing partner of the Big Ten Conference

 

The tournament is in Indianapolis on March 13-16 at Bankers Life Fieldouse. InterCall will be hosting an event on Friday, March 14.

InterCall VIP Event at the 2014 Big Ten Tournament

We are excited to host a special event for VIPs during the Big Ten Basketball Tournament for the second year in a row. The InterCall representative at the event will by Dennis Collins. Dennis, a Director of Marketing at InterCall, hosted the event last year as well.

Here's what Mr. Collins had to say about InterCall's partnership with the Big Ten Conference.

Quotation_marksAs one of the premier collegiate organizations, The Big Ten knows about all conferences. So we are excited to be their official conferencing partner.  This arrangement transcends the tournament marketing activities to include connecting the coaches with reporters, alumni and fans through their weekly calls and other communications solutions that benefit the schools and the Conference."

InterCall will also be live Tweeting the Big Ten Basketball Tournament.

Twitter Handle:
@intercall

Hashtags:

  • #B1GTourney
  • #B1GInterCall
  • #B1GWest

InterCall to live tweet the 2014 Big Ten Tournament

Join the conversation and retweet our posts. We will be sure to engage all of our followers. It's not just the VIPs we want there with us, it all of our fans and followers.

Recap of InterCall at the 2013 Big Ten Tounrament

Last year the tournament was held at the United Center in Chicago. It was the first year of InterCall's relationship with the Big Ten Conference - and it was a slam dunk from the opening tip.

Last year's Big Ten Tournament set a tournament attendance record with a total attendance of 124,543 across the four-day event. That mark shattered the old record also set at the United Center of 109,769. All six sessions of the 2013 tournament were officially sold out. An average of almost 21,000 Big Ten fans packed the stadium for each session.

 

InterCall and the Big Ten draw huge crowds to the tournament.

We wouldn't even hint at the idea that InterCall helped set the attendance record. But, it's a pretty interesting coincidence, don't you think?

 

United Center during the 2013 Big Ten Basketball Tournament

 

We were very excited at InterCall to hear about the unbelievable attendance of the tournament. The Sunday final game was the highest viewed of any conference final.  In fact the Saturday semi-finals were equal in ratings to the final game from the next closest conference – so fans were watching.

And if that many people saw the games, then they also saw InterCall.

InterCall hosted a VIP event at the 2013 Tournament

At last year's Big Ten Tournament, we played host to selected VIP guests. We were pleased with the positive feedback we got from the event and the relationships we were able to foster.

InterCall and our VIPs began the formation of strategic and mutually beneficial relationships that live on today.

Here are some pictures form the 2013 event

Pictures from the InterCall VIP Big Ten event in 2013/

 

We are looking forward to another great Big Ten Tournament in 2014 and building our relationship with the Big Ten going forward.

844 - The New Toll-free Number
March 4, 2014 @ 08:23 AM | By Christina Todisco

Toll-free conferencing has become so popular over the years that they have run out of toll-free numbers. So, to keep up with demand, a new prefix has been announced for toll-free conferencing dial-in numbers. You probably recognize the 800, 888, 877, 866 and 855 prefixes. But now you'll start seeing numbers beginning with 844.

New toll-free conference call number prefix announced.

If you currently use audio conferencing services, you may have heard recently that the two national organizations that handle creating and distributing telephone numbers, SNS and SNAC, announced the release of toll-free phone numbers that begin with an 844 prefix. This is a direct result of a shortage of toll-free phone numbers that begin with 800, 888, 877, 866 and 855.

New Toll-free Number for Conference Calls
The announcement of toll-free phone numbers that begin with an 844 prefix are a direct result of a shortage of toll-free phone numbers.

You could be assigned a dial-in number that begins with 844 for your next conference because these are the only numbers available to InterCall for provisioning and distribution.

Since these numbers are relatively new, we’ve seen some participants experience dialing problems with them because either their corporate PBX or telecommunications provider has not been programmed to accept them as valid.

To ensure you and your participants don’t have any problems when dialing into conferences with toll-free numbers beginning with 844, please do the following:

  • Test the number prior to the conference to make sure you do not get an error.
  • Distribute the international toll number (begins with a U.S. area code) along with the 844 toll-free number so participants have another option to use.
  • Contact your company’s PBX administrator to determine if your system is programmed to validate the 844 prefix.
  • Work with your telecommunications department or directly with your carrier to confirm your carrier’s systems are up to date and will recognize 844 numbers.

New dial-in number. Same toll-free conferencing.

Remember, dial-in numbers beginning with 844 are toll-free numbers, just like a number that begins with 800. If you or anyone else who is trying to access your conference experiences problems with an 844 number, dialing the international toll number listed in your welcome or conference confirmation email is always an alternative.

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.

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