Presentation on theme: "Updated: June 18, 2009 How to Set Up a Webinar How to Compare Shop for Choose The optimal conferencing service for your needs."— Presentation transcript:
Updated: June 18, 2009 How to Set Up a Webinar How to Compare Shop for Choose The optimal conferencing service for your needs.
Updated: June 18, 2009 Persimmon Telecommunications Brings together a team of experts to help you make the best choice for your Telecommunications services Cost Effective Connections
Updated: June 18, 2009 Joe Budelis Harvard PhD in Decision & Control 30 years experience Areas: Project Management, IT, Analysis, Telecommunications Long Term Positions: –Mobil Corporation –Morgan Stanley Dean Witter –ShopForT1.com, Telarus, Commission River
Updated: June 18, 2009 What we bring to you Telecommunications expertise Consulting services –To help you find the best option(s) for your Telecommunications needs –To assist you with questions or issues that arise during setup & during the contract term –To help you determine if contract renewal or a switch to another service is most beneficial
Updated: June 18, 2009 Specialties T1, PRI, DS3, OC3, Ethernet and Fixed Wireless lines –Fractional, Full, Bonded –Data, Voice and Integrated Ts –MPLS and Point-to-Point Ts Phone Service –Local and Dedicated Long Distance Voice T1s and PRIs –POTS and Switched Long Distance –Toll Free Service –VoIP –SIP Trunking with optional foreign DIDs –Cell Phone Service Audio, Web & Video Conferencing Domain Registration, Web hosting & Cloud Computing Fax Services
Updated: June 18, 2009 You Heard about me Tell me what you wish to learn 1.How many of you have set up webinars? 2.Personal or Serious Business Interest? a.Are you interested in personal, family, associates, groups of a few people? b.Are you interested in small or large business webinars? 3.What is the maximum number of participants that you would expect?
Updated: June 18, 2009 Questions to Ask a Conference Call Provider 1. Are you easy to reach? a.Ask for the customer service phone number / email b.Give them both a try. Can you reach a person right away. If you are on a conference call and you need help, you want an immediate response. c.Ask the representative how long it takes to reach technical support. d.Is there an automated menu that you need to navigate through to reach a representative? Your time is important; you shouldn’t spend it waiting on hold.
Updated: June 18, 2009 Questions to Ask a Conference Call Provider 2. Can you handle any/every type of conference? In the future, you don’t know what kind of service you might want to offer on your conference calls. For example, you may want to host a PowerPoint presentation, or invite a high-profile guest speaker… perhaps you’ll want to add video, or invite 1,000 participants to listen in. You may not wish to change your conference provider when your business is booming. You need to make sure your provider can adapt and grow with you. Find out what capabilities the conference call provider has. In addition, find out if the price will change.
Updated: June 18, 2009 Questions to Ask a Conference Call Provider 3. Do you guarantee line capacity? You would be surprised to find out that many conferencing companies “overbook” their systems. Make sure your provider guarantees that all of your participants will be able to get on your call. Specifically, ask what their conference bridge capacity is maintained at. Ideally you want a provider that keeps their system at no more than 50% capacity. If the provider doesn’t know or won’t tell you, be leery. We’ve heard stories first-hand about how people paid more because they thought they were maxing out their 200 lines. But in actuality, their participants were being blocked at only 30 participants because the provider over-booked. You should have live call controls that allow you to monitor your conference as it proceeds.
Updated: June 18, 2009 Questions to Ask a Conference Call Provider 4. Do I need to sign a contract? a.Is there a cost to signup? b.Is there a penalty to cancel? You don’t want to lock-in to a contract and discover a few months later that the quality isn’t very good or that the service doesn’t match your needs. Many excellent conferencing options do not require a long term commitment but simply require you to pay as you go.
Updated: June 18, 2009 Questions to Ask a Conference Call Provider 5. Do you have live call controls? These are moderator controls that you can use to manage your conference call. Ask the representative if you can visually track participants using online controls. This is an important feature because it will provide you with added security, and help you resolve issues fast. For example, if someone’s phone is making a disruptive noise, you need to SEE where it’s coming from and mute it so that it doesn’t distract others. In my experience, this is perhaps the most important feature if you are going to have calls with open audio.
Updated: June 18, 2009 Questions to Ask a Conference Call Provider 6. Are there any hidden fees? Be aware that once you start using a conference service you may discover various fees and stipulations you didn’t know about. Watch specifically for monthly fees or minimum usage requirements. Some providers will charge a monthly fee for toll- free accounts regardless of usage as opposed to using a pay- as-you-go model. Also, some fees are hidden on the invoice as arbitrary taxes which are not required to be collected. For this reason it is a good idea to ask upfront about fees and get a sample invoice.
Updated: June 18, 2009 Questions to Ask a Conference Call Provider 7. What features and benefits are included and do they cost extra? Find out what capabilities the conference call system has. Make a list of features that are important to you and ask specifically about those features. Be aware of companies that seem to “Nickel and Dime” you because it will add up in the end. Some of the popular features which you should ask about are recording (playback and download), web conferencing, Pin Options and participant name recording (for added security), and Operator Services (for event planning). You should not pay extra for most of these.
Updated: June 18, 2009 Questions to Ask a Conference Call Provider 8. What guarantees do I have that this will be a good service? Ask if the company has a written guarantee policy that is posted on their website. Listen carefully as to how they answer this question… if they are confident and to-the-point, then you know that they stand behind their product. Ask about the technical support, the hours of operation, and how the company will solve your problems. Take note as to how fast they answer their phones. Did you have to wait on hold? That’s a good indicator of what kind of service you can expect.
Updated: June 18, 2009 Questions to Ask a Conference Call Provider 9. Does your conferencing system use VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) ? a.A VoIP conferencing system might work fine if all participants are using Internet Phones, e.g., Skype phones. b.If some participants are using normal land line phones or cell phones, a conferencing system based on VoIP typically experiences problems like poor call quality. Make sure the carrier you choose uses fiber-optic lines and a private telephone network to transmit your audio. Be extra aware of the “free” conference call providers…the telephone bridges that they use are often blocked by large carriers such as ATT, QWEST and SPRINT.
Updated: June 18, 2009 Questions to Ask a Conference Call Provider 10. Do you have DTMF Clamping? DTMF clamping traps tones from your telephone keypad, preventing them from playing into your call. This is important because many conference call providers rely on using telephone keypad controls to activate special features like recording (*2) or muting (*6). A bunch of “beeps” playing into your call can be very annoying.
Updated: June 18, 2009 Questions to Ask a Conference Call Provider 11. Can I get a free trial? If the product is good, then they shouldn’t mind letting you try it. When possible, don’t give out your credit card information for a demo. There is no reason why a company should need your financial information for a FREE trial.
Updated: June 18, 2009 How to Conduct an Effective Tele-Conference 1. Develop an agenda that includes Goals Participant expectations Timeline of deliverables 2. Plan accordingly Ask participants to review the agenda prior to the call Estimate the time needed for participant comments or Q&A when determining the number of agenda items
Updated: June 18, 2009 How to Conduct an Effective Tele-Conference 3. Scheduling and Preparation Make sure all the participants have all the required information (the access phone number, the conference code, etc.) Distribute supporting documents/files before the call start 4. Starting the call As the facilitator, dial-in 5-10 minutes early and be the first to arrive If appropriate, ask early arrivals to greet subsequent arrivals as a team-building activity Find out if there are any individual time constraints and adjust accordingly
Updated: June 18, 2009 How to Conduct an Effective Tele-Conference 5. Stay on topic Sticking to the published agenda reduces costs and makes the teleconference more efficient Provide your participants contact information in order to contribute possible topics for future conferences 6. Share leadership duties Help less engaged people become more involved in the call Ask individuals to “lead” sections of the agenda During the call, pause occasionally and ask for feedback
Updated: June 18, 2009 How to Conduct an Effective Tele-Conference 7. Wrap things up Provide a brief recap of all items discussed Re-iterate the contact information for those participants that need further clarification or would like to contribute future topics
Updated: June 18, 2009 How to Increase Conference Call Attendance 1. Remind Your Participants Remind your participants by sending an email or making a quick phone call. Sometimes people want to attend, but they forget. 2. Use a Guest Speaker Invite a high-profile speaker. This can be an industry professional or a prominent member of your company. Inform participants that you will be hosting a live Q & A session with your guest speaker 3. Take Attendance Participants will be less likely to skip when they know that their name will be called out. A little accountability can go a long way.
Updated: June 18, 2009 How to Increase Conference Call Attendance 4. Out-Dial Instead of having participants call you, call them. A blast-dial feature enables everyone on your list to be called at the same time. You can also have an operator assist you with the out-dial process. 5. Incorporate Media Keep attendees engaged and they’ll come back for more. Use PowerPoint Presentations, Live Polls & Text-Based Chats to enhance the conferencing experience. 6. Keep it Entertaining Incorporate humor throughout the meeting and find ways to keep it interesting. Create a funny, interactive poll, show a comic strip or share a joke.
Updated: June 18, 2009 How to Increase Conference Call Attendance 7. Consistency Plan calls for the same time and same day so that participants are less likely to forget. In addition, participants will begin to anticipate your meetings and plan accordingly. 8. Toll-free Flat rate conferencing does not get the same response as toll-free. If people need to pay for the call, then they are less likely to attend. 9. Last-Minute Reminder A last-minute reminder often improves attendance significantly. Send a short email about an hour or so before the conference call begins.
Updated: June 18, 2009 Conferencing Options The system that I demonstrated, that we use, and that we sell can be seen and you can sign up for it at: http://conferencecall.homestead.com/ If you forget that URL, Google Persimmon Telecommunications Typically, the first result is http://persimmon.homestead.com/ Then click on the Conference Calling link on the left. Or, call 609.333.6932, and I’ll set up a free trial for you.
Updated: June 18, 2009 Conferencing Options The system that I demonstrated is priced a number of different ways depending on your needs; for example, Per line per minute toll free rate: 5.9 cents/minute Flat Rate Conference Call (5 seats): $14.95/month Flat Rate Conference Call (10 seats): $29.00/month Web Conferencing Unlimited Pro(5 seats): $59.00/month Web Conferencing Unlimited Pro(10 seats): $99.00/mo.
Updated: June 18, 2009 Conferencing Options If you want a free or almost free system to use to organize a family and/or friends conference, Don Singleton of the APCUG wrote that one or a combination of the following might satisfy your needs: Skype - http://www.skype.com/http://www.skype.com/ AdobeConnectNow - http://www.adobe.com/acom/connectnow/http://www.adobe.com/acom/connectnow/ Microsoft SharedView – http://connect.microsoft.com/site/sitehome.aspx?SiteID=94 IBM Lotus Sametime Unyte - http://www.unyte.net/http://www.unyte.net/ See Don’s writeup at http://reports.apcug.org/2008q4/6.htmhttp://reports.apcug.org/2008q4/6.htm
Updated: June 18, 2009 This Presentation is available on my web site at: http://conferencecall.homestead.com/ If you forget that URL, Google Persimmon Audio Conference Normally, the first organic result is the URL above.