When Webcasting Should Be Used for Training

Many organizations offer in-person training to acclimate employees with different softwares, the company processes and specific tasks. While training is certainly necessary for clear communication, in-person training can sometimes be inefficient or ineffective, depending on the size of the class and the subject matter.

When Webcasting Should Be Used for TrainingWhen creating training programs for employees, it’s best to think about the following:

1) How can I provide training in the fastest and most effective manner?

2) What’s the best way to ensure all of my employees’ questions are answered?

3) What is the best learning environment for my employees?

Although these answers will be different for every organization, they will also have different responses depending on the type of training you’re providing. Instead of conducting an in-person training, it might make more sense to use webcasting as a viable training channel. Here are some examples of when you should consider using webcasting for training instead of hosting an in-person event:

1. When you’re training more than 50 people. 

If you’re going to train a large group of people, it can be hard to keep track of them and make sure everyone is on the same page. Webcasting is a good option for large trainings because you can control the presentation, ensuring people can’t move ahead. Also, some people are more comfortable asking questions online instead of in-person, so this channel would be more comfortable for them.

Bonus tip: Keep a chat open for users so they can submit questions and you can flag them. You’ll be able to keep track of all of the questions in one place while marking them as answered when you’re done.

2. When you’re training employees on software.

If you’re in a crowded room trying to train employees to use a software application, an overhead projector screen will most likely not be big enough for everyone to see, even with a small sample size. If employees can see the screen right in front of them while webcasting, it will make it easier for them to learn. Most webcasting solutions also provide the presenter with the ability to give control to a user. That way, trainees can have the ability to try something the presenter showed them on their screen.

Webcasting can be a great way to connect with trainees, make sure everyone is on the same page and provide efficient and effective training. Next time you need to train employees, consider using webcasting to host the event.

Need a quality webcasting software for your organization? Request a free 30-day trial of ReadyTalk today.

How to Run More Effective Virtual Meetings

Remote workers are taking over the working world, and virtual meetings are a key way for employees to communicate and collaborate—no matter where they are. However, many teams struggle with making virtual meetings successful, especially when they are used to face-to-face interaction.

If your team is having trouble conducting successful virtual meetings, maybe it’s time to look at them differently. Here are some helpful tips for running effective virtual meetings you can share with your team:

How to Run More Effective Virtual MeetingsBe prepared.

What three things should every meeting, whether virtual or in-person have? Agenda, purpose, and focus. If you have these, then you’re good as gold.

Get everyone involved in conversation.

If someone has been invited to a meeting but doesn’t participate, then why were they invited to the meeting in the first place? If you want someone to contribute something specific, make sure they have an opportunity to do so. It might even be helpful for the leader of the meeting to call on each individual after a question was asked or a statement was made to make sure their voice has been heard.

Discuss big problems first.

Long conference calls are frustrating. Tackle the agenda by starting with the most important problems first so you have enough time to discuss them. If you run out of time, then you can work out some of the smaller problems offline.

Identify immediate next steps.

Before everyone gets off the call, have the leader or facilitator of the meeting run through next steps and make sure everyone is on the same page. Without appropriate follow-through, the goal of the meeting won’t be met.

Virtual meetings and in-person meetings may have different settings for the individual attendees, but both can be successful if done the right way. Use these tips to lead more successful virtual meetings, allowing your team to be productive anywhere and everywhere they want to be.

Having trouble with your audio conferences? Read our latest guidebook, “10 Times Your Audio Conference Was Ruined”, to get some helpful tips on how to avoid awkward situations on calls.

7 Organization and Collaboration Tools for Remote Workers

Staying organized, working with colleagues around the world, and achieving the best results can seem daunting as a remote worker, especially if you’ve never worked remotely before.

When working remotely with a team, it’s imperative workers have reliable means of communicating, organizing and collaborating with other team members. In today’s hyperconnected world, it’s actually becoming easier and more efficient for remote workers to collaborate due to the variety of tools available on the market. Below is a list of resources your remote team can use to stay connected and be productive.

Project Management

7 Organization and Collaboration Tools for Remote WorkersProject management software is a great way to keep everyone accountable and organized. There are a variety of tools available that suit different needs. Here’s a couple of examples:

Brightpod: A great tool for small and big marketing & creative teams alike, this tool will help you keep track of projects and workflows.

Basecamp: An enterprise project management tool that helps you identify milestones and communicate with external and internal collaborators.

Asana: Want to stay organized without email and save money? Asana is a great tool for small to mid-sized teams who are looking for a project management software on a budget.

Organization

When it comes to organization while maintaining access across multiple teams, the cloud can be your friend. Consider these online applications for organizing your work or projects:

Google Drive: A great place to create, edit, and manage all of your documents, spreadsheets, PPTs, and more.

Dropbox: Need to share files and don’t want to take up room on your server? Dropbox is a great tool for you.

Communication

Need to chat informally throughout the week or host a virtual meeting? Check out these tools for your organization:

Slack: This is an up-and-coming tool that is great for real-time chat communication that works like a virtual office.

ReadyTalk: Every team needs a quality audio and video conferencing tool. ReadyTalk can help you host your next webinar, conduct a large video conference, or help your team host more productive virtual meetings. If you’re looking for video conferencing on the go, check out FoxDen and collaborate with team members easily using this ridiculously simple video conferencing technology.

Virtual meetings and remote work environments are the future of the workplace. Having the right organization, communication, and collaboration tools are essential to the health of those environments. Consider investing in these tools to help your team succeed.

Blog Series: The Future of Work Experiment, Episode 4

Against all odds we’ve made it to our final destination. After 3 months on the road, about 10,336 miles, 2 breakdowns, and 8 national parks we’re back in Michigan. We’ve fielded a lot of the same questions now that we’re home. Examples include: “Where was your favorite spot?” or “What was the hardest part?” and our personal favorite “Now what are you going to do?” While we’ve gotten good at answering all these questions and more, it’s easier to just boil down the top 10 things we learned from the trip:

1. Living out of a van, while awesome and adventurous, does get old.
2. We were a lot less smelly than we thought we’d be.
3. You never have as much time as you think – commit to specific locations instead of trying to see them all.
4. It’s nearly impossible to disconnect these days, no matter where you are.
5. Old vans are fun, but expect their reliability (or unreliability) to change your plans regularly.
6. Don’t have any expectations and you’ll never be disappointed.
7. You can travel without making any plans ahead of time and still do almost all of the things you want to do.
8. There is beauty and adventure on every corner of this world – just go out and see it.
9. With a little bit of modern technology you can do almost all of the work you’d normally do from an office.
10. Mobile apps have made traveling so much easier.

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Digging into that last point a little bit – our lives would have been way harder without apps like Airbnb, Uber, Hipcamp, Lyft, Priceline, Hipmunk, and Google Maps. When you breakdown in the middle of nowhere and you know it’s going to be a while before you are on the road again, it’s so comforting to know you have the technology at your fingertips to plan your next moves in a matter of minutes. Case in point – our van broke down in the middle of the mountains of northern California. Within minutes, we had a tow truck on the way, a shop identified with great reviews, a rental car booked, and a last minute airbnb rental reserved near our location. I can only imagine what this would have been like even a few short years ago before all of these on-demand travel technologies were in your pocket.

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Our original goal with this trip was to see as much of North America as we could while maintaining a connection to the working world. I would say that mission has been met and then some. It hasn’t always been easy working from the road but with a little extra effort, and apps like FoxDen and Ubimeet, you can contribute in a meaningful manner to any office job. If you’re considering an extended road trip and travel trip anywhere, learn from the many, many people out there who do this full-time but more than anything – just try it, you have very little to lose.

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Our North American travels and van dwelling may be over, but there is more travel to come. Stay tuned for more tales from the future of work. In the meantime – what are some of your favorite apps and technologies that make your mobile life easier every day?

Top 10 Tips to Successful Webcasts

Webcasts are on the rise and being used more often as key elements of strategic plans in marketing, communications, trainings and much more. A webcast is one of the most effective vehicles you can use to connect with key audiences, but like any tool, it must be used strategically in order to achieve your goals.

The following are some tips to help you and your audiences get the most out of your webcasts and town halls:

Tip One: Create a webcast strategy, plan and goal

Often organizations are so focused on trying to present their webcast that they forget about putting together a basic strategy and plan. When business professionals first started implementing webcasts a few years ago, it was mainly to reduce costs (save time and money on travel). Now, corporate leaders are embedding webcasts into business processes, including: product rollouts, trainings, sales, marketing, channel education, HR, recruiting and much more.

These same leaders were diligent in creating both a strategy and a plan as well as setting goals around every webcast. The list below might help you think about all the possibilities and give you some ideas to build your strategy and set your goals. Below are the top responses compiled from a recent survey of 341 business leaders about how they use virtual solutions to impact business and the bottom line inside their organizations.

• Get products & services to market faster
• Reach more audiences at a lower cost
• Develop more effective & efficient sales teams & channel partners
• Shorten sales cycles by educating prospects & customers faster
• Create stronger relationships with prospects, customers & partners
• Reduce support costs by training customers
• Protect the company by staying compliant
• Subject matter experts can now interact with audiences globally

Tip Two: Use a catchy title and description

Now that you have your strategy and plan in place, you need to create your first webcast and it should grab the attention of your target audience. The hook could be a snappy title, a special offer or a relevant topic that hits home. Next your prospects need to be motivated to register—that’s where a compelling description is critical.

Advertising copywriters know the power of action verbs. Take a cue from them to amp up the wattage in your title. Include searchable key words if you’re promoting your webcast to people outside of your invitee list, so the search engines will pick up your content. Describe the value that attendees will get out of your webcast; for example, “Learn How to Produce Better Webcasts”.

The description is your selling device. Action verbs work well here too. Use them liberally to describe what benefits your audience will enjoy. Emphasize takeaways and use words that are meaningful to your audience. Keep your description concise and to the point. Use bullet points so it’s easy to read and understand. You can add an incentive for everyone who registers, such as a whitepaper download or a special promotion.

Tip Three: Use slides as visual aids instead of visual points

It’s tempting to include every bit of information on your slides so your audience doesn’t miss a thing. In fact, the opposite happens. When presented with too much visual information, attendees understand and remember less.
Instead, use your slides to guide your conversation. The slides should include only your main points, which you can further expand on and illustrate as you speak. Your presentation will be more natural and attendees will be able to focus on your message.

Tip Four: Use storytelling

The most effective speakers tell stories to hold attention and illustrate concepts. Common analogies and specific examples like case studies help your audience visualize and understand the points you’re making. While telling the story, include one or two facts or data points to transform your example from the theoretical to reality. Be careful not to use too many details or you’ll lose their attention—you can always make additional detail available after the webcast for those who are interested.

Tip Five: Create a promotional plan

Promoting your event early and often will ensure a high registration rate. Here are some ideas to get you started. First, look to execute an integrated campaign using vehicles that have little to no cost, like your website, intranet and email blasts to prospect lists. If you have a budget, look to leverage e-newsletters, paid email blasts, Google Adwords, local event sections in newspapers and other PR efforts. Work directly with partners for promotional opportunities. Depending on your promotion period, send out at least two to three invitation emails for your campaign. Create a robust and engaging event microsite to attract registration. Activate social media options as part of the registration fields with your webcast platform.

Implement a social media strategy using tools such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to promote your event. Create a Facebook event and invite all your fans, find LinkedIn groups relevant to your audience, and schedule weekly tweets to create interest before the event. Create a hashtag for the event so people can find and reference it as they tweet.

Send reminders to all registrants one to three days before, and send one o
n the day of the event. Track the progress of different campaigns/marketing vehicles by embedding a ‘promo code’ to the event URL link. This way, you can monitor the progress and gauge the effectiveness of each vehicle to learn what worked and what didn’t.

Tip Six: Keep the session interactive

Involve your audience to keep them interested, to minimize “multitasking” and to encourage them to contribute, yielding a richer experience for all. Make it clear in your introduction that the session will be collaborative. Encourage questions throughout the webcast rather than waiting for a separate Q&A at the end.

Within the first two to three minutes, offer one or two poll questions to learn about the audience. You’ll set the tone and gain information that can help you tailor your delivery so it’s most relevant to those present. Each time you transition to a new topic, push out a new poll question about that particular topic.

At predetermined points throughout the webcast ask questions, and then you can “call on” attendees to respond, or push out a quiz. Ask them if they have any questions. Always be ready with “seed questions” that will help clarify a topic or move the narrative along.

A formal Q&A to wrap up is always helpful. Offering to extend the conversation to a forum that you moderate and respond to encourages ongoing interaction and relationship-building.

Tip Seven: Create memorable content

In the virtual world, content is king. Select interesting speakers, engaging subjects, and timely themes that will resonate with your audience. Consider inviting one or more industry experts or customers or even a high profile speaker who can draw a crowd. Avoid talking specifically about your products or services unless your stated objective is product training. Adding to your attendees’ knowledge base with information about trends, the industry and best practices will attract more interest and more attendees than a sales pitch.

Limit your webcast to 60 minutes or less. If attendees are engaged, the conversation can continue offline or in another venue.

Tip Eight: Extend the conversation before and after the event

Use your webcast as a conversation driver, not an isolated event. Create interest in advance by blogging and posting to discussion boards or groups so attendees are attracted to your topic, begin thinking and communicating about it, and are prepared to actively participate in the webcast.

Engage attendees by creating a Twitter hashtag before your event and keep it active after.
Create a centralized place such as a virtual environment or conference center (e.g. intranet site) where those interested can obtain information, “meet” and network, exchange ideas and participate in the conversation. Have subject matter experts continue the conversation inside a virtual environment or conference center if you have one, on Facebook and on Twitter, and have them available to answer questions that come from the archived event.

Tip Nine: Remember the folks who register but do not attend

The event isn’t over when it’s over. Although not everyone who registers will be able to attend, everyone who registers is interested in your topic. Follow up diligently with all. Send attendees a “thank you for attending” note. Send no-shows a “sorry we missed you” note and encourage them to access your content on demand. Include the on demand link to both, as well as dates of future events and contact information.

Archived events are a convenience to registrants and keep your content working after the event has ended. The on demand period can generate 40% or more of your total attendees, so do not take it for granted.

Tip Ten: Conduct post-event analysis

Evaluate your content, presentation and event from your own perspective and your attendees’ perspective. Read attendee feedback, survey results and ratings. Review chats, polls and Q&A from the session. How many actively participated? Were their questions and comments appropriate to the topic? If not, examine your promotions, content and audience composition to determine whether they’re aligned. Did most attend the entire session? If not, at what point(s) did they drop off? Talk with colleagues and attendees to get their input.

Dashboard Report Example (2)

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