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ReadyTalk gives you all the confidence that’s been missing in online meetings and webinars. Our platform delivers serious collaboration technology, supported by expert service you didn’t think was possible. Our passion is perfect meetings and presentations.

What Is Unified Communications and How Can It Help My Business

Unified communication (or UC) is a fancy term for really — when you get down to it — improving communication. Unified communication can include Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), audio, web, instant message or chat, whiteboard, etc. It can include meetings and collaboration.

And that’s how it helps your business: improving communication.

How does it improve communication?

Communication should happen whenever, however and wherever you want it. It should be on any device (including mobile devices). It should be easy, enabling you to be more engaged and productive. In other words, improving communication is about reducing cost and increasing revenue.

Why does it matter?

Other than saving your company money and potentially increasing revenue, it also enables more integration — better connection — among systems with one provider. It could mean lower price and better support for all those disparate forms of communication.

Does ReadyTalk do “unified communication”?

Yes. Look for more details on how we’re expanding here at ReadyTalk.com.

What Is Webcasting and How Can It Help My Business

What is webcasting?

These days it’s difficult to know all the buzzwords and what they mean. Webcast vs. webinar. Webcast vs. video meeting. Webcast vs. video chat.

Webcasting is a video meeting tool that enables customers to stream high-quality video and audio as well as share interactive content with thousands of participants. The production value is higher than with standard webinars. And this is used by organizations of all sizes around the world. From small businesses to major companies, webcasts are the ideal way for CEOs and other important company figures to easily convey a plan or information to a wider audience.

The audience can include employees or board members. It’s better and more engaging than many other ways to convey information, and is sometimes needed for large companies that have campuses around the world where it’s cost-prohibitive to convene all employees for a face-to-face meeting.

Webcasting can help your business

What can you use webcasting for?

Webcasts make it possible for companies to lead live, high-resolution meetings, events or conferences over the internet conveniently and instantly. Attendees can ask questions and it’s somewhat interactive.

From conducting product demonstrations to going through last quarter’s figures, webcasts make connecting with workers around the globe a lot easier. HR professionals, communications personnel, CEOs, trainers, and board members use it for the following:

  • Town hall meetings
  • All company meetings
  • Board meetings
  • Training
  • Product demos

What’s the difference between webcasting and webinars?

It’s coy to say, but it depends on who you ask. Webinars tend to have a clear host who is the presenter or helps the presenter. Size is usually a big factor; webcasts are for larger audiences. Webinars, although can be interactive, are more about chats and polls. They can include video, but don’t have to be live. Webinars are great for marketers and sales personnel.

Webcasts may have a host who never presents — like the Internal Communications department. Webcasts are usually large presentations to big audiences with some Q&A — chat — built in. Although they don’t have to be live, usually there’s a group that watches live. Many times with a webcast, there’s a portion of people watching live in the same room. They can be replayed. Webcasts are great for HR professionals, trainers, and communications personnel.

Video meetings and chats (in a way) can be webcasts, although there has to be a playback mechanism ,and again, size is a factor. When people indicate they’re going to a webcast, the meeting is planned and more formal. Video chats are more informal.

hands clapping copy

How can webcasts help me?

If you are wondering about how webcasts can empower your business, here are a few key thoughts:

Save money. If you have multiple company meetings each year, the costs significantly add up in regards to renting space, flying in important employees and other travel expenses. While you may not want to cut out these events altogether, with webcasting, you can still connect with your employees while saving money. Use webcasting to broadcast the event live and on replay to your remote offices. This way, their workflow won’t be significantly interrupted, meaning no lost profits or travel expenses.

Gain convenience. What sounds better than tuning into a company meeting in the comfort of your own office or home? If your CEO or HR team holds regular meetings, what better way to ensure everyone’s convenience than to use webcasts? Webcasts are far more innovative due to advances in collaborative technology. Through hosting a webcast, you won’t just be conveying information one-way, your events can be a two-way flow of communication. With advanced web conferencing tools, you can allow questions from participants and even collect polling information from the audience.

Reach a wider audience. When your company holds quarterly or monthly meetings, you are limiting your audience of who can attend. Especially if you have a substantial remote workforce, these employees are missing out on key information or even just the excitement of being part of an innovative company.

Gain consistency of message. With webcasts, everyone from sub-contractors to upper management can receive the same training or information at the same time, with ease. This ensures consistency across the company and makes everyone from the newest employee to the CEO feel included.

Lean more about ReadyTalk’s innovative web conferencing tools and we can help you decide webinar or webcast.

What Is Cause Marketing and Why It’s Important for Your Business

Marketers are looking for more ways to connect with people while advertising. One of the best ways is through something called “cause marketing.”

What is cause marketing?

brainstormCause marketing is the mutual cooperation between a for-profit and a nonprofit business to raise money or awareness for a particular cause or organization, while simultaneously supporting their own brand. Some of the most popular and influential examples of effective cause marketing campaigns are the 1,000 Playgrounds in 1,000 Days from 2005 to 2008, the ongoing Dove Campaign for Real Beauty since 2004 and the continued Product (Red) campaign since 2006.

Since 2002, IEG has issued reports that indicate that cause marketing has grown exponentially over the past few years. From $816 million in 2002, to a predicted $2 billion in 2016, there is strong evidence that cause marketing will continue to rise in years to come.

Who does cause marketing appeal to?

Everyone.

And yet according to research Millennials are the demographic that connects the most to causes. The recent Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016 found that 6 out of 10 millennial workers said that a sense of purpose is the main reason they chose their current company. In general, it seems younger generations are more in tune with charitable giving and feeling like they are making a difference in their everyday lives.

When choosing between two similar brands, Gen Y are more likely to choose to buy from the company that has a strong cause marketing campaign or possesses a fervent desire to help those in need or the environment. Additionally, recent millennial impact research suggests that the vast majority of millennials feel the need to trust the cause they are giving – and they would stop giving if they felt that trust was lost. To capitalize on this unique demographic, businesses must be careful about which nonprofit they partner with and what message they intend to support.

It can be time, money, in-kind donations, or all of those

The great thing many times about cause marketing is that how you give depends on what you have to give. If you’re a technology company, you can give in-kind donations — old laptops, servers, keyboards, mobile devices, etc. If you’re a legal firm, you can give back with services — legal advice. If you’re a creative agency, you can put together some killer programs and flyers.

You can sanction employees to work on your behalf. Many companies do this for Habitat for Humanity and a variety of other organizations like PBS.

And of course, your company can provide money — even offering up the opportunity to match whatever employees give.

Choose the right nonprofit for your business

While a large majority of consumers report that a quality partnership between a brand they like and a cause they believe in makes the campaign most appealing, there are still concerns. For example, if customers believe in a particular nonprofit’s mission, but sees that it partners with a business they don’t trust or believe in, they may view this act as insincere or manipulative.

For this reason, businesses must ensure that their cause marketing campaign aligns authentically with that of their particular brand, service or product. This way, they can successfully support the cause they are highlighting, along with the brand name they wish to push in order to draw in more loyal customers.

How to get started

Cause marketingResearch companies that align to your brand — mission, vision, constituents / customers — around a topic your company cares deeply about. For example, if you’re a green landscaping business, maybe you want to support nonprofits who take care of the environment. If you’re a children’s resale shop, maybe you want to ensure children’s health or education. Restaurants might consider working with food banks.

Even nonprofits can do cause marketing. Consider partnering with like-minded organizations that might be considered “competitors” to work toward the common good.

In this way, you’re appealing to new and current customers while doing something good. Everyone benefits.

3 Types of Meetings to Improve Your IT Project

Let’s be honest: IT projects have a terrible reputation when it comes to communication. Whether implementing software, installing hardware, or all of the little updates in between, the actual process of building and maintaining your stack tends to fill stakeholders with dread. Business users want it all, and they want it now … but it better be on time and on budget, no matter what the excuse.

What they don’t see, of course, are all the moving pieces behind the scenes. Technology is more important to the business than ever before. As a result, IT drives real, tangible value, but must also juggle a seemingly endless list of requests (and demands). From requirements gathering to prioritization, project management to implementation, IT teams are inundated with daily must-dos all to help with communication as businesses indicate they aren’t receiving communication.

IT needs communication to be more transparent to business colleagues.

Methodologies like agile have risen to meet this need; and by and large they are successful, empowering technology teams to work more effectively in the face of today’s rapid pace of change. But while newer systems like agile put helpful processes in place around how work gets done, the fundamental ideas behind it aren’t new at all. Whether you call it a scrum or a meeting, communication between key project constituents always has been, and continues to be, the biggest success factor for completing work on time and on budget.

Improve IT projectsWith that in mind, here are three types of meetings that are critical to IT projects and some best practices to keep communication flowing.

Daily: Conduct tiger team scrums.

No matter which methodology you follow or what you call them, quick check-ins with the core group on a daily basis will keep everyone on track. These working sessions should be highly collaborative and hands-on, working through your tracker in real time and gathering status checks from each involved party.

Daily meetings may sound tedious, but those 15 minutes per day will save endless hours down the road by keeping everyone in lockstep.

Weekly: Update business stakeholders.

One of the biggest frustrations that business users feel towards IT is a lack of info and transparency. Often, they hand in their requirements, and don’t hear from their technology counterparts until the project is “complete” – which it never is, because their expectations and understanding invariably change along the way.

Like daily scrums, weekly stakeholder meetings may sound like overkill. But when kept to 30 minutes, they allow IT to share updates and gain clarification, and the business to remain involved and make adjustments if and when necessary.

Monthly: Give executive overviews.

Whether your executive sponsor is in the C-suite or several levels down, it’s important to keep him or her in the loop. A well-updated executive armed with knowledge on your project can spread visibility and enthusiasm throughout the organization, which benefits everyone involved. Executive sponsors can be your biggest champion, or just the signature on the check. Keep your execs in the know to build the relationship and foster goodwill down the line, and across the business.

IT projects don’t have to be full of headaches and hassles. With the right communication to the right stakeholders, everyone can operate more efficiently … and IT will gain a better reputation.

How to Get “Left-Brained” People to Be Creative

People say Mike is a “right-brain” thinker because he prefers subjectivity and creativity and chooses a career path in graphic design, enabling him to tap into this potential. Others view Jane as more “left-brain” because she feels a particular affinity for logic and dealing with hard numbers and data, which is why she pursued engineering to make the most of her skill sets.

These two scenarios probably describe some of your friends or family. In popular culture, and through modern psychology studies, people are classified as right-brain or left-brain dominant depending on how they process information or experiences.

However, recent studies have debunked original theories that people function primarily with one side of the brain or the other; the lateralization of brain function might not be as set in stone. Instead, there are plenty of ways you can get creative and brainstorm with your left-brain employees that you may not have thought was possible before. Here are a few of those strategies:

Make the process straightforward: Remove the potential for ambiguity

If there is one thing that left-brain individuals hate, its ambiguity. When engineers or IT professionals deal with hard data all day, one of the last things some of them want to do is to revert to subjectivity and open-ended dialogue to become creative.

But left-brain people are not devoid of creativity – they just approach it differently. In fact, they use problem-solving (creative skills) daily. Whenever you’re leading a creative collaboration or brainstorming session in-person or over an audio or video conferencing service, map out the process you’ll be taking and any end goals you have. This way, you will be supporting their desire for objectivity, while still leaving room for creativity. Also, set a time limit. If you don’t get what you need in that time, meet again with another time limit.

Make the process easy: Remove the potential for discouragement

One productivity and creativity killer is discouragement: “This will never work.” If your left-brain thinkers feel they’re not bringing anything useful to the table, they may shut down and be unable to tap into their creative potential. It’s also seen as judging. The whole idea behind brainstorming is to open up the options rather than limit them.

brainstormTo avoid this from happening, approach these brainstorming sessions with an open and positive mind. Many companies have adopted the, “Yes and …” approach in brainstorming. Adding on to another’s ideas makes it more successful. Fast Company cites Second City, the comedy improv team, as leading the front on supporting creative ideas with inclusive language like “Yes and ….”

Overall, remember to keep in mind that while your left-brained employees might approach creativity differently, this doesn’t mean their contributions aren’t valuable or insightful. Some of the best ideas have come from left-brained people.

In fact, some of the most famous left-brained people – according to Yahoo – are Benjamin Franklin, Bill Gates, Sir Isaac Newton, and Steven Spielberg.