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Tips for Hosting an Effective Video Conference

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Whether your meeting is in person or online, it’s important to make the most of the time you have. If you really want to get things accomplished, here’s a list of things you should do before the meeting:

1) Define the goal.

Having the meeting is not your goal, producing results via the meeting is what you want to do. Make it clear up front to your meeting participants what the objectives and goals are for your meeting so everyone will come prepared. It also helps people stay on topic.

2) Set the agenda.

To help you stay on track during the meeting, prepare an agenda and distribute it to all the participants beforehand. This would list important talking points, goals, and perhaps who should lead certain topics of conversation.

3) Allow everyone to participate.

Meetings should give everyone the opportunity to express themselves. Allowing everyone to give their feedback and opinions is important. Give everyone a chance to have the floor, otherwise it’s a waste of their time.

4) Keep the meeting on schedule.

Someone should be accountable for keeping the meeting on track, on a timely schedule, and sticking to the agenda. Stay on course to meet those goals.

5) Define the answers and action steps.

Discussions are good but coming out of the meeting with answers and next steps is what’s it all about. Getting those results is your end goal and the sign of a successful meeting, not to mention a great use of your time.

6) Distribute meeting minutes.

Before the meeting starts, designate a person to take notes. By distributing those notes afterward, you are confirming everyone is on the same page and has agreed on the same things. It makes your next steps clear and effective, eliminating any misunderstandings ahead of time.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Technology #SmallBusiness #BusinessTips #Conference #Meetings #VideoConference #VirtualMeeting

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Make a Good Impression Over Video Conference

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A while back, we interviewed a candidate for a job via Skype since she was in another state. The Skype conference worked great, but we were reminded how important it is to consider your surroundings. Our interviewee was in her room with a pile of clothes on her bed, and we could even see into her disorganized closet space.

The point of video conferencing is to connect like you’re in person and view facial expressions, but the camera can pick up your environment so you have to consider what kind of impression that will make. Having a lot of clutter behind you might give the impression you’re a disorganized person. First impressions are everything, even virtual first impressions.

Before you host a virtual conference with a customer, a potential new hire, a potential new boss, or your own team, consider these questions:

1) Where are you going to have the video conference?

If you host it at home, make sure there’s no background noise from a radio or TV. If you have family members or roommates, let them know about the call. If it’s in your office, turn off your cell phone (or silence the phone), and no chit-chat around your office staff. Remember, it’s important the other people can hear your voice clearly and without interruption.

2) What kind of background is in your screen?

You don’t need to be in a conference room but it’s best to set up so your computer camera points to a blank wall if at all possible. The others will see beyond your face, potentially judging your character based on your surroundings. Most video conference systems do have a test mode so you can see if you are nicely positioned on your desk with a professional-looking background.

3) What are you wearing?

Even if you are out of the office while conferencing via computer screen, wear something that’s appropriate for the audience you’re virtually meeting with. Make a good, professional impression every time. Think of it like a job interview.

4) Is the room bright enough to show your face?

Have your video call in a light-filled space. If the other participants can’t see you because the room is too dark, it’s pointless to have a video call.

5) Do you have stable internet connection?

Having poor internet connection during a video call can be a big disruption. You’ll need high-speed internet and it’s wise to test a video call with someone you know in advance to be certain it works.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Technology #SmallBusiness #BusinessTips #WebConference #VideoConference #ConferenceCall #WebCam

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What is a Business Webinar?

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Now you are all set to conduct a virtual meeting – as long as your remote meeting participants also have the proper tools installed. Don’t forget your virtual meeting goes two (or more) ways so make sure everyone is capable of connecting.

What if your virtual meeting needs to be more like a seminar where many – potentially hundreds or more remote attendees – need to be present? Instead of calling it a virtual meeting, you may want to conduct a “Webinar,” which is a mashup of two words: Web and Seminar.

So what is a Webinar?

If you want to have a seminar where participants don’t need to be present at your location, or you want to host a hybrid of both live and virtual attendees, consider hosting a webinar – a virtual seminar.

A webinar is a great way to get more people involved. You can invite people to your live seminar, but for anyone who can’t come to your physical location, they can join virtually via the webinar and still get the training, class or demonstration you’re planning to present. Virtual attendees can still participate in Q&A, live chat, polls, surveys, quizzes and more. The host has a variety of options for how interactive they want the webinar to be.

Some webinar tools to consider that offer free trials (after which you must subscribe to the service), include: GoToWebinar, AnyMeeting, and Zoom. Check out these services and determine which one is right for you.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Technology #SmallBusiness #BusinessTips #Webinar #VideoConference #ConferenceCall

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Preparing for a Virtual Conference

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Skype, WebEx, Zoom … whatever program you decide to use for a virtual conference, you have to make sure your device is capable of using all the features. Conferencing from your phone using an app that plugs into the camera and speakers is fine if you’re on the move, but you won’t be able to share screens or files. If you’re conferencing in an office, here are some things you need to consider to make the most of the program you choose:

1) Audio

Obviously you need your speakers or headset to listen to others, and a microphone on your device. Most laptops have built-in speakers and microphones, but we’ve learned having multiple people in a conference room requires a better microphone system. We Skype in our conference room to connect to our remote staff for meetings. We invested in a good microphone that connects via USB to our laptop so when we speak, regardless of where we are in the room or at the table, others can hear us clearly. A little investment like this goes a long way. If you’re conferencing by yourself in a shared office space, make sure you have a headset to listen to the conference call. Be courteous to people around you.

2) Camera

Like your audio system, you probably have a built-in camera on your laptop or tablet. But if you are using a desktop, you may not have a built-in camera. A simple USB camera can easily connect to your PC and they are not expensive. If everyone else on the call is talking through a screen, and you want to be included in that, a USB camera is a simple, worthy investment.

3) Screen

Talking with people through a screen is only one part of the conference. In our office, we upload files and chat on the side to provide URLs and other information while we talk. So having the conference on my smart phone limits my ability to participate. I always try to have a couple screens open, one for screen conferencing, and the other to open and view files and links we share in our meeting.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Technology #SmallBusiness #BusinessTips #Webinar #VideoConference #ConferenceCall #Skype

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Virtual Meetings: Going Beyond the Conference Call

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Traveling out of town for business can be cumbersome and time-consuming, although sometimes necessary to meet with people face to face. Fortunately, technology advancements have given us many options to “virtually meet” clients, business partners or vendors face to face – and this month we’ll explore some of those ways to go beyond the conference call.

Today we want to share some free tools for video conferencing:

Skype, a Microsoft Service, is handy, especially when you want to video conference with multiple parties. You can have up to 25 connections free of charge but first you need to be connected to each other’s Skype IDs. There are a few differences between Skype paid and free versions, but clicking the plus “+” mark will let you add others to the conference as well as share your screens. You can also send files at the same time. These additional features are great for virtual conferences. Be aware, however, some companies may not allow for Skype to be used in their office.

ezTalks is a similar service great for hosting webinars and video conferences. You can also share files and screens, plus it’s free and easy to set up. The free version allows 40-minute video conferencing for up to 100 people per meeting. Like other programs, it does require you to pay for additional participants.

Zoom is a conference system similar to Skype. Although it does have a paid plan, it is free for 40-minute conferencing for up to 3 parties. If you plan to have more than 3 people on a call for longer than 40 minutes, this may not be the video conferencing solution for you.

Facetime is the latecomer to video conferencing. Apple finally added the ability to have multiple people on Facetime, up to 32 people. This feature is available for iOS 12.1 or later but unlike its competitors, it requires participants to have Facetime with iOS devices. And it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles you may need for your conference call such as screen and file sharing at the same time.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Technology #SmallBusiness #BusinessTips #VideoConference #ConferenceCall #Skype #Facetime #WebEx #Webinars

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How to Set Up Google My Business

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How to Set Up Google My Busi...
1. First, you must verify that your business listing doesn’t already exist. To do this you’ll need to Google your business name and location. On the search result page, look to the right; if there isn’t a business-listing box, it probably doesn't exist. If it does exist, it may ask you to claim the listing.

2. Login to your Google account. If you have multiple accounts, use the account you want associated with your business. If you do not have an account, you can learn how to create a Google account here.

3. Once you’re logged into your Google account go to https://www.google.com/business/

4. Fill in your business name and address. Confirm that your address is written correctly. Make sure you read and check the delivery box option if applicable.

5. Choose a business category that best matches your company. If you can’t find an exact fit choose a category as close to yours as possible.

6. Add your phone # and your website when prompted.

7. Choose your verification method. Google will mail a postcard to your physical location (to legitimize your company address) with a verification code within 5 days.

8. Once you have the postcard, log back into your Google My Business account and verify your listing to complete the set up!
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Technology #SmallBusiness #BusinessTips #Google #GoogleReviews #GoogleMyBusiness #GoogleMaps #GoogleLocal

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What is Google My Business?

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Google My Business (GMB) is a tool built for businesses to manage their online presence – and it’s FREE! The GMB dashboard lets you control multiple business listings on map and search results.

When you first start with Google My Business, you’ll need to verify your business. Once verification is complete, you can manage how your business information is displayed on Google, including your hours of operation, store locations, and pictures.

“Businesses (who) verify their information with Google My Business are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers.” – Google

Responding to customers online is another way to benefit from Google My Business. All your Google reviews can be found in your GMB dashboard, which makes it easy to reply individually to your loyal customers.

“Businesses that add photos to their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t.” - Google

Expand your understanding of your online presence by using Google My Business insights to see how your customers are searching for your business and the locations they’re searching from.

It’s easy to manage and update your business listing online and from your mobile device.

Next time we’ll go over setting up your Google My Business account and how to verify your business.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Technology #SmallBusiness #BusinessTips #Google #GoogleReviews #GoogleMyBusiness

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Will the End of Google+ Affect my Business Reviews?

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Google+ is starting to delete user accounts as part of their consumer-side shutdown of the failed social media platform. What concerned us and many other small businesses, were the consequences of shutting down part of the Google eco-system.

At its best, Google+ was a virtual storefront for many small businesses. At its worst, it was a struggling social network. At the beginning of its lifespan, in an effort to spread awareness, Google integrated Google Maps with Google+ accounts. This created a Google+ page for all business listings and was home to online reviews and other business information.

This made it easy to manage your business locations in one place while responding to all of your reviews online. But now that Google+ is gone, what will happen to business listings and reviews?

Don’t worry, all of your business reviews and information will remain.

Google+ is being replaced with Google My Business. The only part of the platform that had success gave small businesses a tool to manage their online identities within the search engine. It gave owners a place to communicate with their customers and find new ones. This is now a separate service called Google My Business.

There isn’t any reason to worry about your business listing or Google reviews being deleted when the social network goes away. If you log into your Google account and navigate to Google My Business, you will see a star labeled ‘Review’ on the left tab. This will bring you to a page where you can read and reply to any reviews.

We’ll be diving into Google My Business over the next two blogs to give you more information about its features. For now, rest easy knowing the Google+ shutdown won’t affect your business.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Technology #SmallBusiness #BusinessTips #Google #GoogleReviews #GoogleMyBusiness #GoogleBusiness

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Google+ is Deleting User Accounts

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Google has begun phase two of shutting down its social network Google+, which it announced it would do back in 2018. February was the last time anyone could create a new Google+ account.

On Tuesday, April 2nd, Google began deleting user accounts, data and content, including those of its top executives. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise. But what is surprising, however, is what Business Insider discovered was being deleted from public record – pertinent company history.

Four notable accounts were deleted on Tuesday, including co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page as well as former CEO Eric Schmidt and current CEO Sundar Pichai. Most of the content on the executive profiles wasn’t important but some of it may be, including company announcements and insight into the decision-making process.

No one has any problem with old selfies being deleted, but when quotes like this one are erased, eyebrows get raised: “We have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government-or any other government-direct access to our servers.” - Larry Page

It’s unclear if Google will make an announcement or respond to any questions about the deleted accounts. And it’s unclear how much information was really lost when accounts were deleted. All we know for now is that Google+ is history.

Source: Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/google-plus-executive-profiles-deleted-2019-4?r=US&IR=T
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Technology #SmallBusiness #BusinessTips #Google #GoogleReviews

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Customer Surveys: Ask the Right Questions

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We often ask questions with some expectation of the answers before we hear them. When asking our customers for their input, however, we must willingly set aside our opinions and remain neutral if we want to get honest feedback and learn something valuable from them.

According to Peter Drucker, guru of business management, the fax machine is a prime example of the influential power in our questioning techniques.

Before the fax machine came to market, U.S. manufacturers conducted market research asking, "Would you buy a telephone accessory for upwards of $1,500 that enables you to send, for $1 a page, the same letter the post office delivers for 25 cents?" You guessed it; the answers were no and U.S. manufacturers did not pursue the fax machine.

On the other hand, as Drucker pointed out, Japanese manufacturers asked a more straightforward question: “Is there a market for what the fax machine does?" And they realized fax machines could replace courier services like FedEx in the 70s. As a result of asking the right question, Japanese manufacturers were first to market and more dominant in fax machines than U.S. companies in the 80s and 90s. It was too late for many U.S. companies to follow suit.

Collecting feedback from our customers is beneficial, but only if we phrase our questions in such a way that allows them to be honest and think for themselves. If we are going to take the time to survey people, make it worthwhile. Prepare ahead of time, keep it straightforward, and take the bad with the good – because it all helps to better your business.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Marketing #Advertising #B2B #SmallBusiness #OfficeTips #Surveys #CustomerSatisfaction #CustomerFeedback #CustomerService #OnlineSurveys #CRM #FocusGroups

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