Archive for the ‘Advice and Guides’ Category

How to Successfully Schedule a Conference Call

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

It’s never easy gathering a group of people to be together at a single time whether it’s a party, reunion, or a simple conference call. Every life and business comes with busy times, slow times, and other interruptions that can delay important meetings and get-togethers. However, with proper communication and notice, scheduling a call or meeting can be very simple.

Make a List of Attendees
Try to write down or make note of everyone you would like in attendance. This will definitely help organize a specific time and what sort of information to expect from each person. Having this information handy for when you actually schedule the call will lessen the chance of your forgetting to invite someone important!

Consider a Date & Time
Be mindful of everyone’s schedule. Be wary of time zone changes, early mornings, and lunch hours. Send a quick email or text informing your list of attendees of the date and time you have in mind – an early warning will give your partners a chance to reschedule other duties or schedule their activities around that time.

Send a Meeting Request
Use your Google Calendar or another meeting scheduler to send a meeting request to every participant when you’ve cleared a specific time. Be sure to include the call-in number and password in the request – these are two very important things you can’t forget about. Having the meeting requests be completely organized will benefit every participant at the time of the meeting.  Some, if not most, meeting requests will even allow you to put in an accurate description of the call’s agenda so that your participants can prepare their information and you can stay on task.

Send a Reminder
Send a reminder a few hours early to your partners. This way, they will know to start getting ready for the call. Or, if something unexpected comes up, they can cancel their attendance and you can mark them off your list instead of waiting for them to jump on the line.

Meet like a Pro!
By the time your meeting time arrives, you can rest easy knowing the call has been properly scheduled in a timely manner and includes all necessary information.  With your agenda properly shared and requests activated, your meeting should go smoothly if you stay on task and keep an eye on the time.

Presentation Matters

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Within any business, there will be times when you will have to give a presentation or pitch an idea to your management and group of coworkers. The key to a successful presentation is, well, your presentation! Next time you’re up for one, try following these guidelines to help you project your message and attitude appropriately.

Own Your Audience

When you step out in front of everybody, you’ll want to make strong eye contact with them. This will secure their attention and tell them you are ready to start with confidence. To do this, you’ll want to get rid of your stomach butterflies before you walk into the spotlight and address them. Try holding your hands above your head for 15 second intervals and taking really deep breaths. This exercise should make you feel big and powerful, giving you that boost to own your presentation. Get up there and project your voice to everybody in the audience and engage them.

Engage Your Audience

Encourage questions. Try playing out a scenario with your audience, getting their brain gears cranking. With a more engaged audience, you will feel better about your topic and encouraged to continue forth with your ideas and demonstration. Ask your audience questions and to see if they will participate and keep them thinking about your topic. Keep your eyes bouncing from person to person, letting them know that you have their attention too.

Use Visuals

A presentation is always better with something the audience can set their eyes on and get a visual understanding of your project and/or ideas. Software like Microsoft PowerPoint and Prezi could help you with this. Both programs have a lot of options to keep your audience interested and convey your message using images, videos, lists, examples, et cetera. If a computer program is not going to be available, try using poster board, large papers, or making your own signs for your viewers. Using visuals is almost necessary in order to keep the boredom levels down and attention spans up.

Presentations can be very difficult. However, using these guidelines could help you feel better about them. Don’t be afraid to project your voice and value the opinions of others. Audience participation can pay off, too. Having a structured Q&A system at the end of your presentation could stir debate and develop an idea further, maybe even help untie the knots in your plan that were holding it back from being perfect and executable.

A Beginner’s Guide to Conference Call Etiquette

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

So it’s your first official conference call. You’re nervous about your business partners on the other line, the quality, the conversation, and everything in between…We get it! We have been there before. Here are a few tips to keep you feeling professional and on task.

Plan Ahead
If you have a meeting scheduled, write in into your day calendar. Set alerts on your phone and computer. Make sure you have all the documentation beforehand and, while you’re in the meeting, try not to be distracted by other phone calls, employees, or even the ball game. Send your incoming calls to your voicemail and concentrate at the meeting at hand. With fewer distractions, more can be accomplished during the call.

Come Prepared
If your host has emailed or sent an agenda of sorts, have that ready along with the other materials that are requested to be present during the meeting. Nothing is more unproductive than a disorganized call. Community efforts plummet and a lack of information could lead to wasted time explaining information that should already have been clear. Your input and question are usually encouraged, so have the information in front of you.

Don’t Be Late
Probably one of the more common no-brainers: arrive to your phone call on time! Countless times have we been in calls and halfway through the agenda we’re suddenly interrupted by the beep of someone arriving later than scheduled. Not only is it rude, it’s very distracting and aggravating. The host of the call may even feel a little discouraged because they have spent the time and effort in preparing this call and gathering the information needed for a successful meeting. Being late and interrupting them could ruin their confidence!

The Introduction Matters
When you come onto the line, introduce yourself professionally. The speaker and guests need and deserve to know who they are talking to. Avoid rambling about your past achievements or accomplishments that are irrelevant to the call, but make sure to provide enough information so that your people know who you are and what you do. “Good Morning! This is Tim, the director of sales from the Northern branch,” should suffice.

Pay Attention & Participate
Sitting and listening to a plastic box isn’t a load of fun, we know. It can be easy to daydream or stop paying attention all together. You’ll want to try to stay focused on the task at hand and avoid fiddling with office supply like tapping pencils or shuffling papers. Avoid chairs that squeak and if you must speak to another in the room, be mindful of the mute button. You also don’t want to be caught off guard when your opinion or input is required by the speaker. Your participation is usually encouraged during calls. Allow your voice to be heard without overbearing or interrupting others. Feel free to pitch your ideas or changes your may find more efficient to the issue at hand with confidence. Or, if you’re happy with the idea, let your speaker know you approve. They may appreciate the encouragement.

This winter telecommuting is king

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

For many people this is the longest, coldest, snowiest winter they have ever seen.  I have some memories of the blizzard of ’78 but I don’t remember the winter lasting as long as this one.  And I certainly don’t remember the number of snow storms we are dealing with this winter.  And it is taking its toll on businesses as well.  The economy is suffering as fewer people are able to leave their homes to spend money in stores and on activities that should be happening outside at this point in many areas of the country still covered in snow.  But for businesses that have made provisions for telecommuting the blow has been less than for others.  And many companies have discovered that conferencing services can provide the means to continue work processes from home without missing a beat.  So for those of you who still are wondering what can be done trapped in your home when you can’t get to the office here are some of the tools available for telecommuting.

Audio Conferencing – The simplest thing you can do is hold conference calls.  You can have a meeting anywhere on any phone.  The meeting participants simply need to dial into the conferencing system where you can meet with up to 300 participants at any time of day.  So if you were going to meet with a group to discuss something and you are trapped at home you can still meet anytime, from anywhere.

Web Conferencing – If you need to share documents or do a presentation you can still do it from home with web conferencing.  Anything you can have on your PC you can share with your participants.  They can even download copies of your materials as part of the meeting.  So as long as you have your PC and a telephone you can have an interactive web meeting that includes visuals.

Operator Assisted Conferencing – Have a large meeting where you need to interact with your audience?  You can still do it from the comfort of your home.  Participants are greeted by an operator and you will know who attended your meeting and an orderly Q&A can be conducted.

So don’t let this winter keep you from conducting your business.  Telecommuting is easy and affordable.

Conference Calls for Personal Use for the Holiday Season

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Families today are displaced than ever and it gets more and more challenging to get together at the holidays.  So everyone turns to a phone call usually to stay in touch which makes sense.  A phone call is easy to use and inexpensive.  But what if you have more than one family member you would like to speak to?  Why make several calls when you can get everyone on the phone together.  The conversation suddenly takes on new life as everyone can interact with each other.  A conference call at the holidays can really bring some cheer to everyone.

As the children move away from home and develop their own families and traditions the trip home doesn’t always happen.  The cost of air travel and the logistics of getting everyone together just gets very difficult.  A conference call on the telephone or one that also employs a web conferencing service with video can really pull everyone together.  And a conference call is as easy to use as a regular phone call so there is no challenging technology to learn for the grandparents.  You simply give everyone the dial in number and pass code and they can dial in from anywhere.

And when people are located around the world the conference call makes even more sense.  With Zip Conferencing no matter where you are in the world you can access the conference call.  We even have access numbers in over 30 countries so people can dial a local number and get on the call.  Just like a business you will save time and a lot of money by using a conferencing service instead of getting together in person.  So when the trip home is not a possibility you can still get together as a family at the holidays with conferencing services.

Web Conferencing Really is that Easy

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Web Conferencing is a service that has now been around for over 15 years and most people have at least been exposed to it through online seminars conducted by all varieties of companies.  So why is it that many people have not yet used the service themselves?  If you have attended one of these seminars you probably thought there was a great deal of technology behind the scenes aiding the people conducting the online seminar.  You may be surprised to know that it was probably a single person sitting at their desk pushing Powerpoint slides and speaking into their telephone.  And if they are brave they may have even enabled their desktop video and cast their face to you and the other participants with the push of  a button.  The web conferencing services offered by Zip Conferencing and other companies out there has gotten to the point where it really is that easy to operate.  Here are a few of the things you can do with our web conferencing service and the ways we make it easy to operate.

Full Featured – Our Web Conferencing service has more features than other web conferencing services including application sharing where you can share any software application on your PC or Mac with your participants.  You can share a Powerpoint presentation or even share a video feed of yourself with others.

No software to download – The Web Conferencing service provided by Zip Conferencing is different from other providers in that the participants do not have download any software in order to view the presentation.  Our service is built on a Java platform and everyone that surfs the internet these days has Java installed on their PC or Mac.  So if you have Java on your machine then there is no need to download anything.

Intuitive Operation – Our Web Conferencing service uses easy to understand buttons that launch the main operations so you don’t have to search for how to share an application or start the video network.  Very little training is necessary to get up to speed and start using the service immediately.

Full Support – For those that would like assistance we have 24/7 support and can provide personalized training to make sure you are 100% comfortable with the service before you use it.

FREE Trial – And to convince you to give it a try we provide a FREE Trial so you can put your hands on the service at no risk.

So there really is no reason you shouldn’t try Web Conferencing.  It really is that easy.

 

 

Can you hear me now? Conference Call Volume

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

There are many reasons why people use a conference call provider like Zip Conferencing and the quality of the connection is certainly one of them.  If you have ever tried doing a conference call using a phone system you know that as you add participants the quality of the connections gets worse the more you add.  You really can’t talk like you are in the same room because most phone systems don’t allow what is called full duplex for multi-party calls and if someone is on a bad connection you can’t do anything about it.  With Zip Conferencing you can adjust a number of things to improve the quality of the call if necessary.  One of them is the volume.

Our system is sophisticated enough to work to even out the volume of all of the participants automatically but sometimes one person is on a particularly quiet connection.  Or maybe the volume in your connection is actually too loud.  With Zip Conferencing you can adjust the volume of your line into the conference call or the volume of the call itself.  That way you can easily adjust the way the call sounds to you and to the other participants.  You can accomplish this one of two ways.  You can either use telephone commands to do it using touch tone commands on your telephone.  Or you can use your PC to log into your audio conference and adjust the volume of callers using an interface.  This comes in handy if you can’t tell who is causing noise into your conference.  The interface has a talk icon that indicates the speaker so you can tell where the noise is coming from and adjust their volume or mute their line altogether.  Many times with cell phones muting the line is the best thing to do.

So not only does our system provide a far superior experience in terms of call quality it also allows you to adjust things to make it even better.  So instead of trying to manage conference calls with your phone system or using someone else’s service try Zip Conferencing and see why our quality and features are second to none.

Zip Conferencing conference calls rated well

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

I spend a lot of time telling you about all of the benefits of the conference calling service Zip Conferencing offers.  It truly stands ahead of the pack when it comes to conference call value.  But why would you listen to me?  Now you don’t have to thanks to a positive review from Top Ten Reviews, a web site that reviews services available.  Here is a link to the review for Zip Conferencing –  TopTenReviews.

Here is an independent review of a number of conference call providers.  It is always a little scary when someone reviews your service as you can never be sure if they were able to absorb all of the details of your service.  And although this review is no different and a couple of details were missed they did a pretty good job of getting our information and rating our service.  In the article they summarize our service and the availability of features and options.  They also do a decent job trying to explain some of the features available from a conference call service.

Some of the things you should look for in any conferencing service are the availability of features with the service, the reliability and the ease of use.  In this case the ease of use of our service was not tested which was unfortunate because I know that Zip Conferencing offers one of the easiest to use conference calling services available.  And if that is important to you then I invite you to do what this tester has not done, test the service.  Zip Conferencing offers a Free trial for anyone when you sign up for the service.  So why not kick the tires yourself a little bit and see what all the fuss is about.  And don’t just listen to me, go to the Top Ten Reviews site and read our review.

Watch your next Conference Call

Monday, March 4th, 2013

That’s right, watch a conference call.  And I don’t mean a video conference or even a web conference.  With Zip Conferencing you can watch your audio conference.  No secret cameras in your telephone either, just some cool technology that allows you to watch and control your plain old conference call from your PC.  It makes it much easier to use the host controls available during the conference than using telephone keypad commands.  There are no commands to remember as you can simply select your command from an intuitive interface displayed on your computer.

Not only is it easier to manipulate the conference call from your PC, you can also see the participants on the call so you always know how many participants are on and where they are calling from.  This makes it easy to identify participants and gives you the security of knowing who is on the call at all times.  You can even tell who is speaking as their is a talk icon on the screen as well.

From within the conference call you can mute participants and since you have a talk icon you can tell if one person is adding noise to your call and mute them.  You can also lock the call which means no one can join the conference, not even one of our operators.  The online application also makes it much easier to conduct a sub conference by marking participants and sending them to the sub conference.  And if you need to add another participant you can even dial out to someone and add them to the call.  When you are done with your meeting you can also end the conference call with the click of a button.

Conference calls are really convenient if you are on the road as you can dial into a meeting from anywhere.  But if you are hosting a call and you are in front of your computer you should really try watching your call next time.  You will find that there is no easier way to host a conference call.