Tag Archives: meetings

What’s New with ReadyTalk’s Web Conferencing Platform?

A lot actually! It’s been an exciting few quarters here at ReadyTalk with a major focus on user experience, meeting quality and participant security. We completed two great projects that brought HTML5 and HD video capabilities to our core platform.

We refreshed our participant view with a more modern, intuitive and clean interface. This initiative moved us off Flash and onto an HTML5 based web browser client. You may have heard about Flash’s severe security flaws exposed in 2016. Highlights of our move to HTML5 and new participant interface include:

  • Participants no longer need to install Flash. HTML5 is standard in modern browsers
  • Participants can focus on the content with disappearing toolbars and a collapsible chat window
  • Animated notification when a chat message is received and the chat interface is closed
  • Improved settings menu to manage their audio connection and devices
  • Dynamic window resizing
  • VoIP using WebRTC technology which provides a high-quality audio experience

Since the HTML5 interface does not support Flash, our video conferencing solution got an update too! Enhanced video in core (EVC) utilizes new WebRTC technology. This allowed us to bring a variety of video upgrades to our customers and their participants. Highlights of EVC include:

  • Simultaneous viewing of up to 6 webcam feeds; Previously only 4 feeds could be seen at a time
  • Active speaker rotation that allows more than 6 participants to share their cameras, but select the 6 active speakers at any given time to be displayed
  • More control over size of webcam feeds for both hosts and participants with dynamic resizing
  • More seamless video streams with nearly no lag

I’m most excited about our UI updates in our Chairperson controls! Have you seen them yet? You’ll notice a fresher color palette, an updated look and feel, and a new Add Co-Presenter button making it that much easier to collaborate with your participants. Take a look when you have a moment and enjoy your next meeting!

4 Things to Know About Conferencing and Collaboration

You’ve probably been hearing about conferencing solutions since the mid-90s when they first rose in popularity. While this communication method has been around for a while, rapid advancements in broadband technology, online security and other innovative features have propelled web conferencing into the 21st century in full force. Now, web conferencing allows you to hold real-time meetings with hundreds of participants over the internet easily.

Conferencing and collaborationWhether your business needs a way to instantly connect with 1,000 participants or wants to have interactive polling for a smaller audience, web conferencing is your best choice. If you’re still unsure about whether your company would benefit from using this technology, here are four reasons why this powerful tool is right for you:

1. Manage meetings with ease

Managing a meeting effectively is never without its own set of unique challenges. However, with conferencing tools, you may find it easier than ever before to kick off and manage your meetings successfully. With web conferencing, you can send out automatic reminder emails to participants ahead of time, record meetings and present anything from slides to pre-recorded videos. You will also be able to grant control to any participant and even use voice over IP audio.

2. Share and collaborate with participants

Solid communication is the key to running a impactful meeting. With an online conference, you can quickly and easily share documents, promote your message over social media, conduct interactive polls and even enable audience members to raise their hands and participate. If you have a staff of remote workers or have offices on the other side of the country, web conferencing will give you the ease of collaboration you desire.

Recording and archiving options also make it simple. With the right product, you’ll be able to easily record, edit and share your recordings.

3. Quickly measure your progress

How do you know if your meeting is running well? Or if your message is being clearly conveyed? With web conferencing, you can send out post-meeting surveys, track attendance and use polls to see what you’re doing right and what you might need to improve.

4. Customer service

Here’s what sets many conferencing tools apart: customer service. Some providers never, ever pick up their phone. In fact, you’re lucky if you hear from your provider at all. At ReadyTalk, customer service is part of the package and we have award-winning customer service. We also have account managers who provide proactive information to our customers. Even if you’re not a customer, you can receive ideas and best practices.

Get more details

Find out why ReadyTalk’s conferencing and collaboration platform is better than our competitors.

Sources:
https://www.readytalk.com/products-services/web-conferencing
https://www.readytalk.com/products-services/web-conferencing/web-conferencing-all-tools-you-need
https://www.readytalk.com/sites/default/files/docs/support-training/How%20Web%20Conferencing%20Can%20Help%20Your%20Company%20Grow%20v2.pdf

How to Ace Your Next Presentation

Whether it’s a webinar, webcast or your next meeting, public speaking — for introverts — can be taxing. Or maybe you don’t mind speaking in public, but deplore the thought of company presentations? Simply imagining yourself standing in front of your peers and bosses, enlightening them with your highly technical or specific presentation might keep you up at night. We get that.

webinarPresentations can be nerve wracking. After all, numerous studies in recent years indicate that people even fear public speaking more than they fear death. That’s crazy! If you want to ace your next presentation and not dissolve into a puddle of stress, here are a few key pieces of advice:

Practice, practice, practice

While you don’t have to memorize every tiny detail of your presentation – such as the way you use your hands when explaining the information on slide 4 – the more you practice and prepare, the less nervous you are likely to be.

Although you probably have notes for your slides, don’t include them. In fact, the more you don’t have to rely on them, the better you’ll be.

When you are practicing, make sure you are picking a key focal point to center on and only providing your audience with information they need to know – not extra information that isn’t entirely necessary. Overall, the important thought to remember is that while practice doesn’t make perfect, it can make you more prepared and give an engaging, relevant presentation.

Use the right tools

Without the right tools, your presentation is likely to flounder or fall flat altogether. If you are presenting on highly technical data or information, you will need plenty of charts, graphs, visuals and possibly even audio or video samples to get your point across.

You also have to use these tools correctly to ace your presentation. Guy Kawasaki, an American marketing specialist, author, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist, suggests the “10-20-30 Rule” for presentations. By this standard, your PowerPoint or slideshow should contain no more than 10 slides, only last 20 minutes and have text less than 30 point font.

Additionally, try to keep your slides clean and not overburden them with words and information. This will only overwhelm your audience. Essentially, you want to show them what you are talking about and then explain it concisely to convey your information correctly.

Your Competition Is Listening to Your Meetings

Data security is a hot topic today for CEOs, CTOs and IT professionals across the country. Data security, and breaches, are often front-page news where companies spend potentially billions of dollars to protect their customers and employees, as well as regain their brand’s reputation.

Security is important even in meetings. In fact, the Incident Management Group (IMG) lists its top five tips for planning a meeting. Besides venue security, they indicate how crucial it is to protect the content of your meeting and guard access control. CNN recently covered that hackers could secretly tap into corporate meetings – including board meetings. And ResearchGate noted that corporate spying is easier these days because of more open IT networks and policies.

Why should you secure your meetings and their access?

No matter whether you’re holding a meeting for all employees through a webcast or asking your team to collaborate on a new product – your company’s information and meetings are important and should be secure from potential hackers or your spying competition. A breach in your company’s security could lead to a potential loss in revenue, innovation and consumer respect.

Beautiful young businesswoman using mobile phone while working with laptop in office. Upset or dissapointed expression at her faceIf you’re holding an all-employee meeting, what were to happen if your competitor caught wind of a new product? Or what if that team you’ve asked to collaborate is hacked, releasing notes about the product they’re working on? And when your brand is impacted, it’s difficult to recover. Target’s data breach from 2014 cost the company 10 million dollars in refunding customers due to lawsuits, but think about the impact to the brand. AdvertisingAge indicated Target had to scrap some expensive ad campaigns after the breach as well as ramp up others to help the brand recover.

Here are two thoughts about how you can know without a doubt that your meetings are completely secure:

How is your network security and redundancy?

As your online meeting service must travel along network paths to communicate with the central service and meeting attendees, you want to ensure this pathway is fully encrypted.

Not all online meeting services have encryption – some are open, like Google Hangouts.

How is your meeting data stored?

Following a successful presentation, are you confident that no unauthorized companies or hackers are able to access this data? Especially if you are dealing with sensitive company information, you want to be confident that no entity with malicious intent will be able to target or access any information shared in your meetings.

Someone should conduct, host or monitor the meeting. You should have access to these stored and protected files, keeping your company and the contents of your meetings available and yet safe from prying eyes or ears.

Get the latest on secure meetings.

How to Avoid the (Dreaded) Leader-less Meeting

Have you ever been in a meeting where there is no clear moderator (or facilitator) and nobody seems to care about taking notes? Yeah, we’ve all been there.

Typically these types of meetings result in conversations wandering aimlessly along with any clear direction or outcome to be focused on. The leaderless meeting can be a complete time-suck for employees at all levels – wasting valuable working time in a conference that has no facilitator to push the conversation towards a meaningful goal.

If this sounds like your meetings, you need to turn things around—and fast. One idea is to introduce a few changes.

Why?
A recent blog written by Jack Welch describes how useless meetings will make or break your career by the way you are perceived in them. And the same can be said about if you continuously schedule useless meetings. But it’s more than perception, it’s about wasting time and ensuring you can deliver as a team.

 

How to fix it:

  1. Assign a facilitator and note taker

Seems simple right? It is.

Every meeting that you go to should have a clearly identified facilitator and note taker. This simple task of assigning these two roles can nearly instantly turn your meetings around.

These two roles should be decided upon, and the power should be granted to the people filling the positions, prior to the meeting starting.

Facilitator responsibilities

  • Create a meeting agenda.
  • State the purpose of the meeting at the start.
  • Start the conversation.
  • Ask pointed questions about agenda items.
  • Keep the conversation on track without stifling creativity.
  • Determine deliverables and solicit ownership from attendees.
  • Make an effort to include everybody.
  • Assist note taker as necessary.

 

  1. Clarify responsibilities

Often times when leaderless meetings happen it’s because responsibilities and guidance have not been given to the meeting facilitators. The people who fill the positions of facilitator and note taker should not only be informed of what their responsibilities are – they should be fully capable of performing their duties.

Note-taker responsibilities

  • Organize notes by agenda item.
  • Keep track of deliverables, timelines and owners.
  • Ask clarifying questions.
  • Summarize agenda topics to attendees
  • Draft follow-up emails to attendees with notes, deliverables and the corresponding accountable parties.

 

Take action, inspire action 

Take initiative and be adamant about valuing your time and the time of your team members.

A good leader and facilitator can improve both the process and the outcome of meetings. Take the time to train your employees on how to facilitate their meetings and you have the potential to improve productivity greatly. If that’s not an option, you can take action and help your colleagues who are leading meetings develop some basic meeting facilitation skills.

Meetings don’t have to be bad. In fact, meetings serve a very important role and are used by the most cohesive and collaborative of teams. They could be powerful, important, and impact your company’s revenue positively. Those are the best meetings.

But careless meetings and leaderless meetings can absolutely ruin the productivity of a team or a company. So don’t be afraid to cancel a meeting that is not going to serve a purpose or drive towards a goal.

 

Learn more about improving your meetings

At ReadyTalk, we love meetings and have a lot of information to help you improve communication, collaboration and meetings. Read more about this and other common meeting mistakes and pitfalls including bad organization, lack of concentration, and bad technology. And if you can avoid these, you’ll be on your way to hosting more successful, productive, and purposeful meetings.