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Conferencing Isn’t All Business

Posted by Mike McKinnon on
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images.jpegI grew up on a farm in Western Colorado. Like my brothers, and sisters, I went away to college and never moved back home. (Farming is really hard work, in case you didn't know.) Now we're scattered all over the country and world (one brother lives in Germany). We all keep in touch, though, mostly by e-mail. Sometimes we have e-mail conversations that last for weeks on a particularly hot topic such as should my dad shell out the money for a new hay baler to replace the old one that keeps breaking down.

Three years ago, we had a health-related crisis in my family that lasted for several months. Everything is fine now, but at the time, we had a lot of issues to discuss, decisions to make, and emotional support to provide. E-mail was indispensable for this, but there were times when we all just needed to be able to talk together.

My wife suggested using ReadyTalk's Audio Conferencing. After all, Dan King, ReadyTalk's CEO, is a good friend of mine and since my wife and I are ReadyTalk investors, he had set up a guest account for us several months earlier and urged us to try it out.

Still, I didn't feel right about using our ReadyTalk account for personal business like this. So I sent an e-mail to Dan explaining our family situation. He said feel free to use ReadyTalk, including the web conferencing if we wanted. After a couple of family conference calls, I asked him again, just to make sure. This was his actual reply:

"Hearing that our conferencing service is useful for getting your family together periodically is great. Regarding your request to use ReadyTalk for family conference calls: QUIT ASKING ME IF IT'S ALL RIGHT TO USE READYTALK. YOU'RE AN INVESTOR IN OUR BUSINESS FOR GOODNESS SAKE. I WANT YOU TO USE THE BLOODY SERVICE. There I feel better."


I've never asked permission since.

 

Now, even though things are back to normal, my family still does a monthly conference call. We've started recording the calls so those who can't participate in a call can listen to it later, if they want. The audio conferencing is easy to use, we've never had any technical problems, and the sound quality is excellent, even for my brother in Germany. The only problem is we're not always all that interesting.

My point here is that you don't have to be a business to benefit from audio conferencing. You can use it to stay in touch with friends and family, crisis or no crisis. And now that audio conferencing services are mainstream, it probably doesn't cost as much as you think.

My other point is that it's no accident that ReadyTalk takes care of their people and their customers. It all comes from the top.

[tags]Customer Service, Audio Conferencing[/tags]


Name: Nancy
Time: Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The possibilities of this function, which I didn't even know about until recently, are almost endless. Maybe it is time for a contest in good ideas for the recorded family call: >> A recording for proud grandparents to listen over and over to when baby to teen grandchildren say happy birthday . . . record the baby before anyone else gets on the line and then get it into a soundproof room for the duration. >> Schedule a conference call with 10 minute blocks . . one person at a time signs on, records, and leaves . . .best for families where everyone talks at the same time. >> Give the moderator a mute button too to silence the non-stop-talker. Oh, these would all work well in the business conference call too.

Name: Dave Kehmeier
Time: Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Maybe you're onto something here, Nancy - a family audio-conferencing service. The squelch button is definitely a good idea (and actually, it already exists - the conference chairperson can mute individual participants). Now if there was just some way to make everyone interesting.

Name: Dave Kehmeier
Time: Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Oops, I may have gotten that wrong - maybe you can't mute individual participants, just all participants (I'm still learning). It would make it pretty interesting if any participant could mute any other participant. That would certainly keep the conferences short.

Name: Mike McKinnon
Time: Friday, March 14, 2008

No you are correct Dave. You can mute individual people as well as the whole group. However, only the chairperson can mute people so make sure you are always the chairperson :)

Name: Drew Hunt
Time: Thursday, September 2, 2010

I com to think of this but never tried it but I think it's cool. Check this out http://reachconferencing.ca/resources/the-executives-guide-to-web-conferencing/ and check out some cool features you may use for web conferencing.

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