5 Video Conferencing Benefits for Small Businesses

Tools for a small business video conference are no longer optional for companies. With most employees working from home for the foreseeable future, small businesses must have a preferred video conferencing tool to communicate with their teams, clients, and vendors.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 58% of businesses used video conferencing for their everyday operations. This number is expected to increase dramatically over the next year and beyond.

Fortunately, video conferencing tools provide businesses of all sizes with various advantages. Small businesses can expect to enjoy benefits such as:

1. Little to No Onboarding

Small business video conferencing software is incredibly easy to use. Compared to other SMB tools, employees will quickly understand how to properly use the video conferencing tool for their internal and external work needs.

Using these tools, employees can:

  • Schedule internal meetings
  • Communicate with clients and vendors across the world without traveling
  • Speak with teammates about projects and initiatives, regardless of location

And this only scratches the surface of the possibilities.

2. Cohesive Communication

Conference calls, emails, project management notifications, and other outdated forms of communication often bottleneck projects. With a video conferencing tool, small businesses can easily update team members on the status of a task or project and accomplish goals faster thanks to seamless video communication.

3. Reduced Costs

Small businesses are always looking for strategic ways to reduce costs. Investing in video conferencing software is one great way to save.

Video conferencing has been proven to reduce small businesses’ travel costs by up to 30%. And, with the rise in telecommuting, small businesses can save more on office overhead expenses. The same study found that businesses can save approximately $11,000 per employee by using video conferencing software.

4. Improved Productivity

Small business video conferencing software also enables remote workers to be more productive throughout the day. 43% of remote workers using video conferencing believe that it enhances their productivity.

Rather than spending the day attempting to get answers via text, email, chat, or business systems, employees can have their questions answered instantly in a video conference.

5. Employee Engagement

Whether your small business operates a partially- or fully-remote team, video conferencing tools enable employees to engage with coworkers throughout the day. Since remote work can be isolating, this face-to-face interaction boosts employee morale, leading to a more productive and enthusiastic team.

Experience the Advantages for Yourself

Ready to see how video conferencing software can benefit your small business?

4 Conference Call Fails (and How to Prevent Them)

Have you noticed how much audio disruption people tolerate during conference calls or online meetings? Examples include background noise, fragmented audio, and that awful echo where you hear your own voice through the other line. Somehow, most professionals still haven’t made a point of avoiding these easily preventable fails. Here’s how to banish them for good.

Audio That Cuts In and Out

Spotty sound can sabotage an important call. That’s because it creates a subconscious perception that you, the speaker, are less trustworthy—even though it’s the technology, not you, that’s unreliable. Additionally, the sound of “degraded” audio quality has actually been found to cause a physiological stress response in test subjects.

There are two ways to prevent this problem. The first is to test your microphone regularly since microphone hardware is often the failure point. It takes 60 seconds to grab a colleague, give them your headset, and ask them to call you to test your mic. The other preventive measure is to make sure your web conferencing solution meets the industry standards for audio quality.

Speaker’s Volume is Too Low

When people are struggling to hear you, they’re dedicating brainpower to figuring out what you’re saying instead of thinking about your ideas. Not good! Fortunately, with many web conferencing solutions, you have the option to calibrate volume. You can adjust the volume of a guest in your meeting to set at the correct level for you.

Background Noise

When you’re taking a one-on-one call in a coffee shop or on a busy city block, the background noise might be distracting. But it’s usually not a disaster. Large online group meetings are different. Once multiple people are involved, your background noise becomes everyone’s problem. It derails other speakers and causes you to make a shoddy impression when you’re talking.

The best way to mitigate this problem is to take online meetings in the quietest available space and practice good muting etiquette. If you’re the one hosting the call, you can take control of the meeting. Mute guests in your meeting while screen sharing or to silence an open line that is bringing noise into the meeting to eliminate the disruption.

The Dreaded Echo

No one likes hearing their own voice in a normal situation. And hearing your voice echoed back while you’re talking to a group of people? Cringeworthy. This dreadful experience is usually the result of one of two problems:

  1. Multiple people are taking the call in the same room using different devices. When there are several active microphones in the same room dialed into the same call, things get messy—that’s why it’s usually best to call from one line.
  2. The web conferencing solution you’re using isn’t powerful enough to handle the demands of the call. If you have a lot of participants dialing in from different locations, your tech might be the bottleneck causing the echo.

The solution to this problem is to avoid having multiple active lines on the same call in the same room.

Make Every Call a Pleasant Experience

By understanding the underlying causes that contribute to common conference call problems you can make every conference call a positive experience for yourself and the other people on the call.

Try GlobalMeet Collaboration for a better meeting experience with crystal-clear Dolby audio, improved voice clarity, noise suppression and spatial voice separation. Enjoy the peace of mind that comes with state-of-the-art web conferencing technology.

GlobalMeet vs. Zoom: Integrations & Security

The need for flexible solutions for remote work and collaboration is growing.

Businesses distributed in countries all across the globe need access to tools that will allow them to interact with their colleagues, complete crucial tasks, and even meet from a distance. That’s where solutions like GlobalMeet and Zoom come in.

Zoom is a market leader in the video conferencing landscape, offering HD video to those that need instant face-to-face conversations. Zoom’s simplicity and ease of use make it an ideal choices for colleagues and contractors alike.

Alternatively, GlobalMeet by PGi is one of the market leaders in offering sensational voice connections and a user-friendly collaboration interface.

Here’s your insight into both offerings.

GlobalMeet

Another bonus of GlobalMeet, is that you don’t need to dial into a meeting, you can set your system up to call you and the participants that you want to meet with. This could make it a lot easier to remind your people of when they’re due to get together for a call. GlobalMeet can also help you set up conferences if you’re meeting with a large number of people, with professional assistance from a specialist.

GlobalMeet vs. Zoom: Integrations & Security

Zoom provides encryption at multiple levels, although it has had a few issues in the past with security. However, the brand is striving to deliver an excellent experience going forward through everything from granular meeting controls, to HIPAA compliance. GlobalMeet also has a heavy focus on reliability and security. The company provides forward-thinking security straight from PGI, as well as recording and storage features for compliance. The GlobalMeet library is protected by full encryption, and you have plenty of control with your communications too. You can even block video feeds on your network completely.


https://www.uctoday.com/collaboration/globalmeet-vs-zoom-comparison/

3 Web Meeting Tactics to Maximize Attendee Engagement

User experience (UX) can significantly make or break the success of a web meeting. To support attendees, web meetings need to keep audiences equally interested and engaged. Check out these three web conferencing tactics that especially maximize attendee engagement.

Collaboration with Microsoft Teams

Internal teams often connect through accessible web meetings. According to CEB, 60 percent of employees consult with at least 10 colleagues each day to get their jobs done. Internal teams need to stay engaged as they generally share important meeting details.

Microsoft Teams helps coworkers collaborate and takes teamwork to the next level. Consider GlobalMeet for Microsoft Teams integration to enhance the employee meeting experience.

Easy access for mobile devices

When hosting a web meeting, it is important to offer a platform that can support attendees that are accessing the meeting on the go. Web conferences must take into account that attendees may also use their mobile devices for work purposes. Make sure that your platform is optimized for mobile.

Provide a user-friendly interface web meeting platform

UX should allow users to easily locate product features. Particularly, the platform should allow them to achieve their end goals. What’s more, an easy-to-use web meeting platform prevents attendees from unnecessary distractions.

Are you ready to maximize attendee engagement for your web meetings? You need to implement an intuitive conferencing solution that empowers you to deliver a well-rounded meeting experience. Get started with a free GlobalMeet trial today!

How to Keep a Large Video Meeting Productive

Have you ever been to a company-wide video meeting where productivity went flying out the window? From side conversations to unnecessary topics, video meetings with 20+ people can be quite unproductive, if not handled properly. To keep your team on track during your next video meeting, use these tips:

1. Invite the Right Team Members

Rather than inviting every person in the company, only invite those who need to hear the information or take action on respective agenda items. This will limit the number of individuals in the video call and reduce the chance of unproductive conversations or multitasking.

2. Create and Distribute an Agenda

Providing attendees an agenda will allow them to review meeting items and prepare any necessary materials. Plus, it creates a structure for your meeting that everyone will follow.

Do your best to deliver the agenda at least the day before a scheduled meeting. This will give participants ample time to prepare.

3. Use Meeting Tools to Your Advantage

Video conferencing tools provide meeting hosts with a variety of features. From chat functions to the ability to mute specific attendees, these tools are designed to streamline meetings and improve productivity.

Take a look at the features available in your video conferencing software and determine how they can help your meeting flow.

4. Set a Defined End Time

While meeting calendar invites may say the meeting is only supposed to last 30 minutes, how often is this the case? To ensure that your session remains productive, set — and communicate — a defined meeting end time. Doing so also ensures that your agenda doesn’t include extraneous items or conversations.

5. Assign a Meeting Facilitator

Assigning a meeting facilitator is an excellent way to keep discussion topics on track and within the allocated time limits. While the facilitator could also be the meeting organizer, it’s best to assign another employee so that one individual isn’t responsible for handling all aspects of the meeting.

6. Organize Participation

Receiving feedback from participants in a 20+ person meeting can be tricky. Instead of opening up the floor to communication chaos, organize participation in advance.

When you distribute the agenda, let employees know they can request to speak on a certain item in advance. In addition, allow meeting participants to submit questions before a meeting. This allows you to schedule enough time for participation before the meeting and ensures you answer burning questions.

Also, video conferencing tools enable participants to chat to the group. Use this tool to guide conversations wisely, as well.

7. Use Your Webcam

Turning on your webcam holds you you accountable during a meeting. With large meetings it can be easy to tune out and start multi-tasking. When you are on video, your team can see if you’re really listening and actively engaged.

 

How to Pull Off a Professional Video Call From Home

Now that everyone relies on video calls for communication, video conferencing “fails” are becoming a trending topic online. In order to avoid “fails” and successfully pull off a professional video call from home, keep our quick tips in mind:

1. Invest in a Hi-Res Camera and Quality Audio

Before your video meeting or interview, test out your computer’s camera and audio. If it’s not up to par, invest in a hi-res camera and quality microphone. Adding these to your call will enhance the experience for everyone who joins.

2. Test Your WiFi Strength

There is nothing worse than dropping out of a video call due to a poor connection. Test your WiFi before the call. Is it a strong connection? If not, switch to the 5 GHz WiFi option. If this still doesn’t work, try using an ethernet cable to improve your connection.

3. Tidy Up and Zoom In

Clean up the area where you intend to conduct the video call. Remove all clutter and distracting artwork or appliances, and do a quick sweep for clumps of dust.

Next, zoom your camera in to frame your portrait. While your background choice is key, the caller should be focused on your face, not your decor.

4. Dress Well

You will generally feel your most professional self when connecting with your coworkers on video conferencing if you dress as if you are still going into the office.

Wear clothes that show up well in room lighting, and are also not distracting. Loud jewelry, ties, or patterns are typically frowned upon.

5. Mute Your Mic

As you join the video call, be sure to mute your audio. This eliminates the chance of startling call participants by sending irritating feedback or background noises into the call.

6. Use Proper Video Call Etiquette

Just like face-to-face meetings, there are some standards for video call etiquette:

  • Look into the camera to maintain “eye contact.”
  • Never speak over another individual. Signal your interest to talk.
  • Eliminate distractions, such as phone notifications.
  • Put your audio on mute when not speaking.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be ready for any video call that comes your way.

3 Ways to Inspire and Motivate Remote Teams

Remote work was once a desirable office perk. Since 2010, however, the amount of people who work remotely at least once a week has grown by 400%. In the past few weeks, that number has skyrocketed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. While still tasked with the same responsibilities, workloads, and deliverables as before, remote teams also face their own unique set of challenges. A difference in schedules, work habits, and time zones can all cause difficulties among remote team members.

To effectively work remotely as a team, employees must be understanding, consistent, and motivated. However, we all know that motivation can ebb and flow. Fortunately, there are several ways to inspire your remote team to be productive and take on new challenges.

1. Check In Often

One of the most common challenges a remote team faces is the feeling of isolation and loneliness. This feeling is amplified when practicing social distancing. Working from home alone (or with kids) day-in and day-out isn’t the most conducive environment for productivity and creativity. As a result, employees can feel in a rut, or siloed from their teammates.

Make it a point to regularly check-in with your employees. This can be in the form of a chat message, or a phone call, but be sure to also incorporate face-to-face video meetings. Your co-workers and teams need to see you. The good news is video conferencing technology like GlobalMeet makes face-to-face conversations, regardless of location, easy.

Be sure that these check-ins are beyond shop talk. Ask how each person’s day is going, what you can do to help, and which resources they may need to stay motivated at home.

2. Encourage Clear and Casual Communication

When you don’t have a communal breakroom to chat in, casual banter gets pushed to the wayside. However, this is how employees connect with one another and bond as a team.

Set aside time each day to casually talk to a coworker. Catch up on each other’s lives and engage in non-work-related conversations for a refreshing change of pace. This little break in the day may be just what someone needs to keep their motivation going!

PGi, CMO, Mark Roberts ensures he is on video for every meeting. “I hear a lot of small talk that doesn’t feel small. People are sharing what it’s like working through this unique and scary time. They’re trying to remain optimistic and share hope and humor as much as possible.”

Additionally, encourage employees to use clear communication. When we can’t sit is a room together, communication errors can arise. Clear, written communication is key for remote teams to collaborate and produce results effectively.

3. Focus on Results, Not Micro-Managing

Remote teams need to trust that each member of the group is doing their part. Typically, it’s quite obvious when part of the team is achieving their goals while others are slacking.

To combat this, many remote teams go the unfortunate route of requiring their teams to track every moment of their day. This micromanagement approach creates anxious and alienated workers who won’t be able to produce their best work under such strict conditions.

Instead, focus on the results your employees are producing rather than what they’re doing every minute of the day. Doing so will inspire and motivate them to perform their best at all times while working from home.

In the end, remember this is a trying time for everyone, and your co-workers are feeling the pinch just as much as you are. So be patient and stay postive. Interested in new ways to connect as a remote team? PGi’s suite of collaboration and communication tools will help your team link up seamlessly from anywhere in the world.

5 Genius Ways You Never Thought to Use Screen Sharing

If you’re like most people, you use screen sharing sparingly. You might use it for training, or to show a specific page or document. But with a little ingenuity, screen sharing can be an even more powerful tool. That’s because visual stimulation makes experiences more memorable and more persuasive.

This means that by designing your presentations and meetings visually, you can be more memorable and productive. Here’s how you can make that happen with screen sharing.

1. Virtual Whiteboard

Remote teams need a brainstorming canvas just as much as in-person teams do. Fortunately, there are now virtual whiteboards! Why not bring your team together around one of these via screen sharing? You might be surprised by the team spirit this tactic inspires.

2. Customer Onboarding

“Prevent trouble before it arises,” says ancient Chinese wisdom. Screen sharing is a highly effective way to preemptively address new customers’ confusion.

You don’t even need to require an onboarding call for all customers. If you offer the option, your less tech-savvy customers will comfortably self-select into your support queue. You’ll then be able to prevent early frustrations before they start. As a bonus, you’ll also get valuable feedback on your product’s user experience.

3. Data Visualization

When people see data changing before their eyes, it makes the data more interesting. As a result, you can create a lasting memory by sharing live data visualization.

For example, cybersecurity standards are notoriously hard to enforce. However, showing a realtime visualization of websites hacked today can evoke an emotion that drives home the importance of strong security.

4. Realtime Decision-Making

Marketing and creative teams often need to decide on images, slogans, colors, formats, and so on. But when you send options to team members via email, you can’t guarantee they’ll clear their heads to really think about what’s in front of them.

This is one situation in which screen sharing can add value. You can share your screen to bring people together around the options. Doing this also helps make sure everyone’s looking at the same options together.

5. Deeper Accountability

Again, visuals make memories. Something as simple as watching your name getting assigned to a task on-screen can reinforce your ownership. It’s basic brain science, but applying it goes a long way.

Harness This Power

Screen sharing is a popular tool, but many people don’t harness its power. When you apply it effectively, screen sharing can do a lot to catalyze focus and productivity. Why not use it to its full potential?

5 Tips for Giving a Great Presentation

Career growth often goes hand in hand with being able to deliver great presentations. It’s an essential skill that will help you stand out within the company and share your innovative ideas. However, for some people, presentation skills don’t always come naturally, and even the most comfortable presenter likely still has room for improvement.

Whether you’re a complete presentation newbie or a seasoned pro looking to refine your skills, we’ve gathered some tips from presentation experts to help you put your best foot forward.

Begin with a Quality Template

Alan Goeman, the CEO of eSlide.comRedirects to external site. says it’s essential to start with a good outline when creating a presentation from scratch. Choose a template that fits your needs in terms of font, font color, size, object and chart styles and theme. By getting the template out of the way at the beginning, you can focus on what’s really important: the content.

Be Conversational

Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence,Redirects to external site. recommends aiming for your content to speak to the average audience member rather than focusing on the people you most want to impress. Though an executive from your company might be in the front row, don’t focus on them. Aim for your content to speak to the mid-level employee a few rows back and keep your eyes focused in that area to help avoid feeling pressured.

Identify Three Main Points

Jacqueline Whitmore from EntrepreneurRedirects to external site. suggests structuring your content around three main points. Pick the key points that tell your story and make those the main pillars of your presentation. Begin by introducing your three points, elaborate on each, and then conclude by going over them once again to makes your presentation more memorable and easier to understand.

Tackle Your Slides Last

TedTalk UX Lead and presentation pro Aaron Weyenberg says a good approach is to save your slides for last. He suggests to not even think about the slides until you already have a vision of what your presentation is going to accomplish. Slides should not take center stage; you want your visuals to support a presentation that is already strong on its own. Outline your structure, build up an argument with supporting points, and thenpractice your presentation. Once you’ve done all of those, then it’s time to tackle your slides.

Say it With Images

It may be a cliché, but according to Andrew Scivally from eLearningBrothers.comOpens in new window and redirects to external site., when it comes to presentations, an image really is worth a thousand words. Because many people are visual learners, conveying your message with graphics and images can make a big impact. Focus instead on choosing informational images, like infographics or graphics, that teach your audience and support your text.

Above all, giving a quality presentation is about delivering your message in a clear and engaging manner. Try these expert tips the next time you’re tasked with giving a presentation to help sell your message and keep the audience interested and be sure to use effective software to deliver your message, especially if any attendees are dialing in remotely. [link to GlobalMeet page on your website]

Good luck!

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