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“Do you really get something out of all of those business books?”

I read a lot of business books on leadership and management.

A lot.

Business Books

Recently a co-worker asked if I really get something out of each of them. It offered me an opportunity to stop and articulate why I think it is so important to continue to expose myself to materials (books, articles, video, etc) on management and leadership. Even if that means I end up reading over the same ideas presented in a different model, with its own corresponding vocabulary.

Boiled down, I think there are three reasons that people in leadership positions (formally recognized or not) need to be regularly checking their understanding in this area.

The first applies to every area of life: Important topics deserve multiple perspectives. This is not only to expose yourself to the different sides of things, but to the different models that are used to understand them.

I know myself enough to know that when I encounter a new way of looking at something, I spend some time engrossed in that perspective and see everything through that lens. I know that directly after reading an exciting new presentation of How Things Really Are is NOT the time to decide that we need to Do This New Thing. Rather, it’s a time to examine my context in light of this new perspective and see what learning it brings. It doesn’t become the model du jour, it becomes another tool in the toolbox.

The second reason I like to keep abreast of new materials is because leadership is about using yourself to move others to action. Which means that fundamentally it is about managing yourself. Whether it’s a single unit of work, a project, a department, or a business, the challenge is the same – how do you get the best from the people doing the work?

Do you naturally dive in and start problem-solving? Do you ask questions, and then immediately provide the answers? Do you give ambiguous impressions of your priorities to your team? Are meetings more or less productive when you are in them?

How do you know?

The are many things needed to build an empowered and effective team (delegation, feedback, communication, team-building, mentorship, etc) but there is one commonality running through them: you. Knowing more about how your attitudes and behaviors affect others can have significant impact. Learning about common leadership / management pitfalls, and combining it with real-time feedback from others, can help identify where you can be better.

Lastly, though I start out with the best intentions with my team, I often revert to trying to solve all the problems myself (we call this ‘the fun part’ around ReadyTalk) or dictating how things have to be. I know that empowering my team to solve problems and to own the solutions is the best thing to do. I know that this is the way we get creativity, buy-in, ownership and opportunities for professional growth. I know this…but still fall back to old habits.

I don’t know about you but acknowledging something about myself (e.g., when I get excited I tend to start cutting people off in a conversation) doesn’t mean I will reliably spot the signs and cease the behavior going forward. It takes different exposures, explanations, and feedback to change my behavior in a way that makes me (and ultimately my team) more productive.

The urgency of the every day tends to move me away from those practices that best empower the people around me…I need to return again and again to remind myself to get out of the way.

Top Three Options for Delivering Your Webinar Content

Developing quality content for training, sales and marketing programs takes time, energy and money. When you’re researching a webinar provider make sure you have the flexibility to deliver the content in any way you choose. In this post I’ll break down the methods you should be looking for – Live, Simulive and On-Demand – when searching for your next webinar provider.

Live Web Event or Webinar

Your webinar is “live” meaning there’s a presenter (or presenters) on the other end speaking to participants in real-time.

Benefits: You can engage with your audience using polling, live Q&A, chat and pre-recorded video. With some platforms you will be able to see how long a participant attended to gauge their engagement. Look for a provider that tracks interaction during a webinar so you can use that for lead-scoring purposes.
Risks: This method presents operational risk because it is in real-time. Be sure you have vendor support for audio checks, dry runs, and an event manager on the line to ensure a flawless event. Scheduling can be tough and webinar fatigue has set in. Live attendance rates are now about 40% of registration rates. Be sure you can easily record and edit the event so that registrants can watch at their convenience.

Simulive

This is “kind of-live” or also known as Simulive. It rebroadcasts your pre-recorded event as if it was happening live, but your participants can’t tell the difference. If you add a live operator introduction and then conduct a live Q&A session at the end you can reinforce the illusion.Top Three Options for Delivering Your Webinar Content image 1

Benefits: Simulive is a cost effective, efficient way to reuse and repurpose your webinar content without all the logistical hassle. It’s a great solution for multiple speakers if you have difficulty coordinating everyone’s busy schedules. If you want to deliver the same quality experience, every time, to different audiences in different time zones or are looking to demo your product flawlessly this is a great choice for you. Plus, it enables you to get the very best return on all the time (and potentially money you spent on a speaker) on your live event. One more bonus? Because the important content is already recorded, most of the operational risk is removed.
Risks: You’ve got to start with a professional, crystal clear recording. Be sure that your provider offers the very best audio options and the ability to easily edit your recording. Another potential risk? During the Simulive broadcast the presenter cannot stop, pause and engage with the audience.

Recorded Webinar available On-Demand

Think on-demand movies. You want to watch a show when it’s convenient right? So do webinar viewers. Embedding and distributing your recorded webinar is cost-effective way to leverage your content, reach new audiences and significantly improve the original event’s ROI. Recorded webinars should be available for download in a variety of industry-standard file formats (.mp3, Flash, .wav, or high-resolution .mp4) so viewers can watch them anytime, on any device.

Benefits: A recording removes all operational and scheduling risk. It’s easy to distribute and syndicate through social media, podcasts and RSS feeds to reach new audiences. And you can generate leads long after your meeting or event has ended. Look for features like the ability to promote and syndicate content through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Integration with popular marketing automation platforms will enable you to view how long someone has watched the recording for lead scoring purposes. Recording technology that doesn’t require a viewer to download any software to view the recording is also a key factor to look for.
Risks: The recording has to be good quality. And for presenters, there’s no opportunity to engage with your audience.

Be sure to plan ahead and combine all three options for really important web events you know you’ll want to reuse, repurpose and redistribute. If you’d like to learn more about webinar best practices or ReadyTalk’s webinar services, please request a demo. We offer the flexibility to ensure every web event you host is flawless – no matter which delivery method you choose – Live, Simulive or On-Demand.

RT XTraining-Building a Mentorship Program @ReadyTalk

ReadyTalk was founded in 2001 and has been successful in not only growing its customer base but also building a strong employee brand. We now have a total of 175 employees divided between two floors at our downtown Denver office. ReadyTalk has also been ranked one of the Best Companies to work for several years in a row by publications such as ColoradoBiz Magazine and Outside Magazine.

However, going from a small company to a medium sized company brings new excitement and new challenges which leads to new opportunity. The question is, “How do we keep our employees connected despite our growth?”

After much discussion with employees, competitive benchmarking and a few internet searches it was clear. ReadyTalk already has a very comprehensive benefits package which employees value very much. However, the one thing we didn’t have was a form of a mentorship program which could help build working relationships, educate employees on other internal business units and create an opportunity for employees to learn from one another.

The next question was, “how do we build a mentorship program from scratch?” I am going to provide a high level overview of the steps that were taken to get this program going.

• Answer the question, “What is the mission of the program?”

Answering this question helped establish the goals of the program. This was easy because ReadyTalk already has a set of core values. We were able to create our mission off of these values.

• Answer the question, “What will the mentorship program look like?”

Our program was created to bring people together, to share learning and educate one another. We chose to have our participants have the opportunity to cross-train or even better XTrain! Rather than implement the traditional mentorship senior/junior relationship we wanted to branch out and have various departments work together.

• Get buy-in from Executive Management and Managers.

Without the support of Executive Management and Managers the XTraining program may go nowhere. Managers want the best for their teams but also have the bottom line in mind. It is crucial to explain the benefits of having their team member’s participate in a mentorship program.

• Hold an All-Employee Kick-Off Meeting

In an effort to communicate the ReadyTalk XTraining program a kick-off meeting was held to share with the employees what this new program was all about. This was a simple power-point presentation highlighting the details with a bit of music for some flare

• Gather feedback and be open to constructive criticism

The only way to improve a process or a program is to ask the users what they think. We have been very up front with the fact that the XTraining program is in its infancy stages and we absolutely want constructive criticism. This is the only way we can tweak, enhance and create a program that employees feel is beneficial.
The ReadyTalk XTraining program is meant to be open, accessible and employee driven. We are excited to have implemented this program and look forward to its success.

Feature Friday: Give Wings to your Recorded Content with Mobile Playback

Visit the ReadyTalk blog every Friday to learn more about a ReadyTalk feature.  

Why use this feature?

With mobile playback, give your recorded content wings!

Someone miss your webinar?  Need to share your content in a publication or email? One of our favorite features, this provides your target audience the ability to view your recording anytime, anywhere, from any mobile device or tablet (iOS and Android).

As the chairperson, you must enable mobile playback within Conference Center for this feature to work, but it’s a quick and easy way to give your content the utmost reach.

And keep a lookout, as we have some enhancements coming soon that make this process even easier.

How to use this feature:

Step 1:  Enable your recording for mobile playback within Conference Center.

Within Conference Center, you need to enable your recording for mobile playback. For instructions, check out the mobile playback  blog post.

 

Step 2: Distributing Your Recording to your Participants

  • Once your recording is converted, access the playback URL from Conference Center.
  • You'll find this under Recordings>Manage Recordings> Show Playback URL
  • Copy and paste the URL into your desired format or click the link to "email your URL" which auto generates an email from your default mailbox
  • When a participant receives your email, they simply click on the link from their mobile device and they will immediately be taken to the recording

Tried  mobile playback? We would be happy to hear from you.

Feature Friday: Invite From Contacts

Visit the ReadyTalk blog every Friday to learn more about a ReadyTalk feature.  

Why use this feature?

Whether collaborating with a small circle or hosting a large webinar, the Invite from Contacts feature makes it easy invite participants to your scheduled meetings. This saves you time and energy and helps you move on to the more important aspects of your day.

How to use this feature:

  • In Conference Center, click Schedule a Meeting and fill out the appropriate details
  • On the next page you’ll be taken to the Next Steps section. Under Invite Participants click the “Send Invitations” button

  • You can invite your contacts either manually or through a bulk upload.

Manual Upload

  • Start typing the name in the dialogue box. If the name is already in Conference Center, the system will auto suggest a name from your contacts. 
  • Hit enter and continue inputting names until you have completed.(**To upload your frequently used contacts into your Conference Center directory, see the section at the end of this post)

 

Bulk Upload

  • Where it says “Upload a CSV file of email addresses” click the Browse button and select your spreadsheet from your documents
  • The system will scan your list to make sure all the email addresses are valid. If there are errors, you will be prompted to fix them.

The system will validate the email address to make sure the formats are valid and show which are incorrect. It will show you which emails need to be corrected (below).

Give this feature a try the next time you are inviting meeting participants. Have a comment or question? Leave a note below…we love hearing from you!

 

 

 

**Uploading Contacts to Conference Center

As mentioned above, we recommend uploading your frequently used contacts into your Conference Center directory prior to manually inviting contacts. To do so:

  • In Conference Center, Select the Manage Contacts bar

  • Click the green button
  • Upload a .CSV file; you can upload up to 2,000 contacts