The IT Leader’s Guide to Collaboration Huddle Rooms

There are several new realities to which organizations must respond. These realities hold no bias. They impact companies from all around the world and across industries. And they all are driven by one thing: technology.

The telecommuting phenomenon has spread worldwide, with 70 percent of professionals working remotely at least one day a week, and 53 percent working remotely for at least half of the week. Although employees are no longer forced to travel to headquarters or local offices to complete tasks — eliminating costly trips and even long, stressful commutes — employees still crave face-to-face interaction and collaboration.

Huddle rooms help teams spark collaboration and foster candor that is sometimes difficult to achieve when employees are disconnected. And technology is what augments the huddle room experience.

What exactly is a huddle room?

It’s easy to see the term “huddle room” and imagine a small space brimming with people chatting and sharing ideas. But thanks to technology, it has become so much more than that.

TechTarget defines huddle rooms as: “Small and private meeting areas, typically seating three to six people and equipped with teleconferencing and collaboration technologies.”

Huddle rooms give employees the power and flexibility to meet on their terms — and employers the ability to improve efficiencies and streamline costs. Rather than spending thousands of dollars flying out employees for important team or client meetings, organizations can invest in technology to equip their huddle rooms with all of the features and capabilities required to have a stellar collaborative experience.

Of course, companies may have more than one huddle room in their offices, depending on the size of their business and number of employees who commute daily and who may only travel to the office for important meetings. A company could also decide to have larger-capacity conference rooms and boardrooms function in the same manner, so remote team members can connect to larger meetings — even company-wide discussions.

Video conferencing: The linchpin to successful huddle rooms
Video conferencing is a critical ingredient for great huddle room experiences. It enables team members to have face-to-face conversations that encourage better listening, more valuable conversations and more productive collaboration.

Video conferencing technology connects a multitude of endpoints and software that further augment the experience, including:

  • Collaboration platforms
  • White boarding technology
  • Display screens of various sizes

Companies use a variety of terms for video conferencing technology, such as video room connector, video teleconferencing and standards-based conferencing, At the core is software-based video room systems or endpoints with internet connection and a multi-point control unit (MCU) or bridge for multi-point conferencing.

Regardless of preferred terminology, video conferencing transforms the typical small conference room into a digitally powered huddle room that inspires creativity and supports more seamless and secure information sharing. As a result, team members from all around the world can communicate and collaborate as if they were sitting in the same room.

GlobalMeet provides video room connections to support modern teams — and empower IT

Video conferencing technology is the foundational technology that supports huddle rooms, the employees who use them and those who log in from afar. And now, GlobalMeet® is working to help organizations of all sizes bring their huddle rooms to life so they can support “any-to-any” collaboration.

The new video room connector within GlobalMeet was designed to empower teams and IT by:

  • Integrating seamlessly with the GlobalMeet platform
  • Supporting legacy and new standards-based video room systems, ultimately lowering IT costs
  • Allowing integration with emerging huddle rooms
  • Easily supporting future integrations with other collaboration solutions

Are you ready to get your huddle room up and running? Learn more about VRC from GlobalMeet.

Quiz: What’s Your Virtual Collaboration Style?

No doubt about it, collaboration (much of it virtual) is the way of getting things done in the modern workplace. In fact, it pretty much “takes a village” to finish any kind of sizable project. And, every village (aka your workplace), has its cast of collaboration characters, from the big cheese to the minutiae manager.

But which collaboration character are you?  Take our “What’s Your Virtual Collaboration Style Quiz” with personalized results and tips for what’s good about your particular style as well as what you can do to improve or change.

Ideal collaboration results from the blend of your personal style and how you use your communication technologies to work with teammates.

Take the Quiz Now

C-Suite Collaboration: Earning and Keeping Marketing’s Seat at the Table

Not surprisingly, by 2017, CMOs will direct more corporate technology spending than CIOs. However, the leader most often left out of the C-suite is still the CMO, according to research in the newest eBook by PGi.

Marketing leaders, it’s time to make your mark and learn how to earn a bigger role in setting the corporate agenda. Get your copy of the “C-Suite Collaboration” eBook now for four easy ways you can earn the respect of C-level executives and help guide digital transformation.

Download this must-read, free eBook from PGi today: “C-Suite Collaboration: Earning and Keeping Marketing’s Seat at the Table.”

3 Tips to Easily Schedule Online Meetings in Outlook

Scheduling meetings, especially last minute ones, can get a bit tricky if you’re meeting with a large group of people or with people in different locations. From finding a time that works for everyone to including all the appropriate contacts and materials, scheduling can be a hassle.

Microsoft Outlook makes scheduling online meetings a little easier. Here are three tips guaranteed to make scheduling your next meeting simple and stress-free for both you and your guests.

Scheduling Assistant: First and foremost, you’re going to need to see when everyone is available. By using Outlook’s Scheduling Assistant, you can choose a time when everyone can meet by looking at the invitee’s free/busy information in Calendar.

Simply enter the desired contact name in your Address Book, and your free/busy grid will show the availability of the attendees. This works especially well for scheduling online meetings with guests in different locations.
Color Coded Messages: We all have pack calendars, so what’s an easy way to keep track of type of online meetings you have scheduled? Use Outlook’s Color Coded messages feature. The benefit of this tool is you can mark a meeting as private, personal or confidential, or you can tag it with a high or low importance.

Tracking: After you have sent out your proposed times and have set a definite time for your online meeting, send out an invite to your guests.

With the tracking feature, you can take the guest work out of who has responded to your invitation. Using this feature, you’ll be able to quickly see who has responded.

To use the tool, click on the desired meeting and click the tracking icon. The list of invitees will display along with their response. This way, you’ll make sure the appropriate people aren’t missing out on your online meeting.

These tips will help you fully utilize the features of Outlook, but to further your online meeting experience, try PGi’s iMeet®, free for 30 days. iMeet® conveniently  connects to Outlook so you can schedule and join your next online meeting with ease.

Related Posts:

How to Use Presentation Tools During Virtual Meetings

Working with your team in the same place and at the same time is becoming more and more like winning the lottery. PGi’s 2015 Global Telework Survey revealed that roughly 79 percent of knowledge workers now work outside the office, and remote teams are more common than ever.

Yet, businesses drive innovation, productivity and growth most when teams come together to collaborate, and email just doesn’t cut it. Virtual meetings, on the other hand, help remote teams build better relationships and speed up projects—if you keep them engaged.

Luckily, the best software for virtual meetings includes presentation tools you can use to foster active participation and keep multitasking at bay. Here are five ways to use presentation tools during virtual meetings to keep your remote teammates on their toes:

  1. Get on video. Because 60-80 percent of communication is nonverbal, being able to see and hear each other is vital for making the connections needed to establish trust and encourage collaboration. Using today’s simple and personal video conferencing tools, like iMeet®, turn on your webcams so that you can turn voice-only calls into a productive, face-to-face experience.
  2. Share your screen. Instead of sending slide decks ahead of time, ensure your teammates pay attention by going it through live using your screen sharing feature. You can also use screen sharing to train teammates on new technology and processes.
  3. Show a video. Don’t limit your presentations to text and static images only. Liven them up by showing videos. Videos can serve as fun breaks in a presentation, help turn your presentation into a story and better illustrate complex ideas. Just store and pull up the video from your file library or enter the web video link to share it during virtual meetings.
  4. Listen with live chat. Great presentations aren’t just one-way communication. Let your remote team ask questions and post comments without interrupting your presentation using live chat. Besides creating a more interactive presentation, live chat also helps you gauge how well your team understands what you’re saying so you can adjust your presentation in real time.
  5. Keep the conversation going. All of your presentations can live on even after virtual meetings to keep the ball rolling and build ongoing conversations. Record and share your presentation through a URL with action items via email, or post the recording to your team workspace so teammates can review it and follow up on questions.

Learn More:

Sales Presentations: Are You Doing Them all Wrong?

The art of the sales presentation takes a lifetime to perfect. Over the years, you hone your personal appearance, speaking skills, negotiation tactics and customer service methods. However, between constantly evolving technology and buyer behaviors, modern sales professionals find that the old way of things are no longer the right way of doing things.

So, when it comes to the ever-important sales presentation, are you doing them all wrong? Here are four symptoms that you’re behind the times when it comes to sales presentations:

  1. You’re using the same slide template from 2001.
  2. You only make sales presentations in person or over the phone.
  3. You shake hands, hand out a business card and that’s that.
  4. You speak for over five minutes without interruptions or questions, and every meeting lasts exactly 60 minutes.

If these scenarios sound familiar, it’s time to get you back on track perfecting the art of the sales presentation.

Step 1: Upgrade your presentation creation tools.
Slide decks and business cards are still staples in the presentation arena, but new tools take those old-school methods, add a little tech polish and provide a better experience for everyone. Here are some great tools that will get you out of the PowerPoint® funk.

Canva‘s free online tool helps professionals of any skill level create high-quality graphic design elements, including presentation slides that are available to download and share as PDF files. Free templates and layouts offer the most up-to-date, modern design styles, which you can customize with your own images, colors and fonts.

Haiku Deck‘sfree app also helps you make visually compelling presentations in minutes. Just select your format and layout for text, add high-quality images to the background and then export presentations as PPTX or PDF files for sharing.

Step 2: Add video narration to your presentation slides.
The average business person attends 60 meetings a week, either in person or via conference calls. For you, the salesperson trying to get in and close a deal, that means you’re competing to just get in the door. Effective sales reps, however, are taking modern tech tools like sales productivity software to gain customers’ attention, facilitate simulated face-to-face presentations and close the deals.

In fact, iMeet® Narrate lets you record audio and video to narrate slides and better tailor online sales presentations for your audience. By sending personalized, video sales presentations, you’re not only better able to capture attention through the power of video but also track and monitor engagement, more effectively score leads and reach multiple prospects at once so you can close more deals, faster.

Simply upload your slide deck (as a PPT, PPTX or PDF file) and choose whether you want to add video or audio-only narration using your webcam or microphone. Next, you can customize your presentation with additional chapters, polls and attachments; set up tracking and lead generation; share it by email, link, social media or embedded in a website and view real-time analytics to assess your presentation’s reception.

Step 3: Follow up virtually.
Once you analyze your presentation’s performance metrics, quickly follow up with the warmest leads by using your personal iMeet online meeting room.

Step 4: One more thing…
Outside the techie ways to get the presentation done, even the methods employed during speeches and presentations have changed. The listen-and-learn philosophy is over. Customers want to collaborate with trusted partners more than ever before.

To really learn about your customers and establish yourself as not just a vendor, but a trusted adviser, employ these techniques to put the “it factor” in your sales presentations and follow-up online meetings:

  • Identify their pain points. Come prepared with a list of questions and ask them. Easy as that.
  • Share your human side. Salespeople often try too hard to impress customers. In the era of social media and collaboration, however, customers want to get to know the real you. Share photos of your animals, kids and hobbies in your slide decks and don’t be afraid to share a personal story.
  • Engage all five senses. Salespeople can get stuck in the corporate-approved, road map-style presentation, but, again, that’s old-school, one-way-dialogue thinking. To really engage your prospects and customers, remember that customers learn not just with their ears, but also their eyes, nose, taste and touch. Use visually appealing slides that will engage all the senses for a 100-percent sensory understanding of what you’re putting on the table.

For more presentation ideas to help kick your sales methods into the next era, download the newest, free eBook by PGi, “The Science of Sales Presentations.”

The Science of Sales Presentations

How Do You Make Better Sales Presentations?

Sales teams now have so many methods to attract and engage with prospects in today’s complex buyer’s journey: LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, webinars, videos, meetings, phone calls, etc. What still holds true to sales, though, is that all it takes is a tenth of a second to lose prospects to every other sales professional racing you to the next big thing.

The defining difference between sales reps that get a “yes” and the rest is: presentation!

So how do you rev up your game and make better presentations?

Take a Scientific Approach to Sales Presentations
The best sales presentations are stories, and there’s a science to creating more than slides and pitches. Here are three ways to be a rock star presenter and a better storyteller, backed by research in the newest eBook by PGi, “The Science of Sales Presentations”:

  1. Incorporate your story into the presentation design. That means thinking about the order of your slides in terms of a story arc, creating a design theme and using visuals that strategically evoke emotions.
  2. Tailor your story for each potential customer. Even if your presentation design is rock-star quality, your audience won’t care if the story isn’t meaningful to them. Each potential customer has a unique challenge, learning style and even communication style to research and incorporate into your presentation.
  3. Test your story to see what works. With the right sales technology, it’s easier than ever to monitor and analyze the effectiveness of your sales presentations with data. Use that to your advantage to make ongoing efforts to tweak and perfect your story for the right audience.

 

 

Learn More

  1. Learn how to create engaging sales presentations with iMeet Narrate at The Future of Business Collaboration.
  2. Before you turn on the webcam, learn how to improve your presentation skills and delivery here.
  3. Download the sales presentations eBook now for the complete, scientific formulas to make prospects say “yes.”

The Science of Sales Presentations

Featured Image Source: Pexels

When Should You Escalate Conference Calls to Online Meetings?

Despite all of the advances in online meetings, conference calls are still indispensable in business collaboration. Nothing beats the familiarity of a telephone, even if it is now mobile and smart, which makes conference calls still the fastest, most convenient and most accessible form of communication.

However, not every meeting is best suited for audio-only meetings. Sometimes, you need visuals to better communicate, engage and solve problems with the people on the other end.

All-in-one, “all-you-can-meet” conferencing solutions now let you choose the best way to communicate for each unique meeting, and they offer a unified communications and collaboration experience so you can effortlessly glide from one virtual meeting type to another.

So when should you escalate conference calls to online meetings? Here are some examples:

  • When you need to share content immediately and securely, escalate to online meetings. Online meetings include web conferencing features like cloud-based file storage and screen sharing so you can instantly share the agenda you forgot in the invite or collaborate on a document in real time. And, because everything is encrypted and available only to attendees, it beats sharing files on emails that can easily be forwarded or accessed by unintended third parties.
  • When you need to communicate a complex idea, use visuals. Our understanding of some concepts is limited by language alone. The richness of streaming videos, presentation slides and screen sharing better breaks down hard-to-explain ideas, and the non-verbal communication that accompanies being on webcams assures nothing is lost in translation.
  • When you need to address a sensitive matter or resolve a conflict, turn on your webcam. You cannot communicate empathy, sympathy, concern or sadness on audio only, and you won’t be able to discern the depth of emotions of the other party. It’s easy to reduce the person on the other end to a stance or position when all you see is a name, but when you can hear and see the other person, you’re better able to develop empathy on both ends and resolve sticky situations.

If you’re using an all-in-one collaboration solution like iMeet® or GlobalMeet®, you have the option to easily escalate from a conference call to a video conference. Simply click the camera icon to turn on your webcam or remain on audio only using the static user image cubes as visuals for who’s talking. And you’ll never have to take roll call again.

Learn More

Featured Image Source: Pexels

When Should You Use VoIP for Virtual Meetings?

Many conferencing solutions now offer you the option to connect via VoIP or your phone, but which is best? When should you use your computer and when should you use your phone to connect to virtual meetings?

Wait, What Is VoIP Again?
Essentially, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is when you connect and talk through your computer on a connected microphone instead of through your phone. Because voice information is digitally transferred through the Internet, there are no additional costs to call via VoIP, as opposed to a traditional phone line.

VoIP streamlines the virtual meeting experience, eliminating the need to rotate between devices or applications to connect. This additional access method helps virtual meeting technology better support the plethora of ways employees work today, outside of the office, across the world and on the go.

How Would You Like to Talk?
VoIP has improved virtual meetings by leaps and bounds, but it still has limited reliability. Here are some guidelines on choosing between your computer and phone to connect:

  • When you’re at your desktop computer, try VoIP. The seamless experience provides more convenience than switching between devices, and reliability doesn’t suffer so long as you’re hard-wired to the Internet.
  • If you’re working on Wi-Fi, opt for a traditional phone line. You could experience occasional lapses in audio if you’re not on a high-speed, wired Internet connection.
  • When you’re out of country, connect via VoIP. VoIP typically offers better global availability and lower prices for international phone calls than traditional phone lines.
  • Skip VoIP when you’re mobile. If you don’t have a dependable connection or enough bandwidth, your connection could drop.

Both VoIP and public switched telephone network (PSTN) connections give users options to choose the best way to connect to virtual meetings, which is why the best virtual meeting solutions offer hybrid audio. Without sacrificing audio quality, security or functionality, hybrid audio networks seamlessly connect a variety of access methods and endpoints to accommodate users no matter where they are and what device they are on.

Learn More

  • Brush up on the basics. Learn more about what VoIP is.
  • Read more about the importance of having a hybrid audio network for better user adoption.
  • Find out how hybrid audio integration improved Northwestern University’s VoIP-only web conferencing solution for online learning programs.

How to Host a Conference Call

Though fast and simple, conference calls can be messy and confusing without the right guidelines and preparations.

Missing visual cues, you don’t know who’s speaking, when it’s your turn, what someone really meant and what page of a document everyone else is on. These are common conferencing calling traps that, when left unchecked, can collapse the productivity of your entire call just like a gaping sinkhole.

Control the chaos and avoid these mishaps by getting a little more organized. Use the following tips to experience better conference calling and collaboration.

10 Steps to Organize a Conference Call:

  1. Set a clear meeting agenda. Organize meeting objectives in an outline for a clear path to follow. This way, you’ll be able to get your audience back on track and remind yourself when you’re chasing too many tangents.
  2. Find the best time to meet. Conference calling that’s too early or too late winds up with late arrivals or participants hanging up early, as well as callers that are too distracted or too tired to participate. To make it easy (especially if you’re dealing with multiple time zones) send a free/busy poll to everyone at once with options for them to select.
  3. Send a calendar invite. Creating calendar invites is easy, but consider adding these extras for a more productive meeting. First, include the agenda and let your attendees know how they should prepare. Should they brainstorm ahead of time, come with questions or read over other attachments beforehand? Also, make it easier for mobile callers by including links to apps with one-click access. Don’t forget to set a reminder notification at least 15 minutes before the meeting.
  4. Find the mute button. If you’re new to playing host, practice with the technology. Find all the buttons on your visual conference calling controls, as well as your speaker phone, like how to mute a single line or all callers at once.
  5. Join early. Dial in at least five minutes before the start time to welcome participants and ensure they have everything they need to participate.
  6. Kick off with ground rules. To minimize disruptions, set quick guidelines. For instance, let callers know that putting the call on hold initiates hold music, that they need to state their name before speaking if it’s a large call or new group and to mute themselves at all times unless they’re speaking. In fact, include this conference call flowchart in your invite so they get the picture.
  7. Ask questions. This is a surefire way to get engagement and to make sure participants understand the conversation. Using your visual display of who’s on the call, direct your questions to someone new each time so everyone pays attention instead of multitasks.
  8. Jot down ideas, questions and feedback. Many conference calling solutions provide a recording and meeting summary afterwards, but if you want to be an active listener and better host, take notes during the meeting, too.
  9. Wrap up with action items. Outline any next steps your participants need to take so everyone leaves with a clear understanding of their responsibilities. In addition, use wrap-up time to review what was and was not accomplished and to ask callers what they think could be improved on the next call.
  10. Follow up with an email. Recap your meeting, next steps, assigned roles and deadlines in an email so everyone has a clear, written summary to cement what they learned and what’s next.

What else can you control for better conferencing calling? Your technology. Request a demo today of GlobalMeet® Audio to find out why PGi is one of the most trusted audio conferencing providers!

How & Why You Should Record Conference Calls

The evolution of the conference call has made it easier than ever for businesses to meet with employees and prospects locally and globally. Whether through just audio or with integrated video, web and screen sharing, conference calling features allow for more engagement with meeting participants, no matter the location. But what if you or another attendee can’t make the meeting?

That’s where the record button comes in. Similar to the DVR you use to record the shows you don’t want to miss, the record feature on web conferencing solutions, like PGi’s iMeet®, records your conference calls. This feature isn’t just for those missing out on a meeting. Check out how different aspects of the business can benefit from hitting record when conference calling:

Sales:
The days of the door-to-door salesmen are long gone, but that doesn’t mean that your sales reps can’t replicate that age-old tactic. In order to reach prospects, and save money on travel, sales teams can use the record feature by creating a video message for prospects.

Instead of having to deal with the hassle of aligning schedules with a prospect for a conference call, sales reps can simulate a meeting by using the record feature. Reps can use audio, video and share their screen to issue an impressive digital sales pitch.

After recording their pitch, the sales rep would simply send the prospect a link to the video. From here, the prospect can access the entire recording and contact the sales rep with any additional questions.

HR:
Imagine there is a candidate that you’d love to interview, but they’re hundreds of miles away. Do you fork over the expense of a flight and accommodations? Now, HR teams can utilize web conferencing tools, like iMeet, to meet with potential candidates.

Rather than dealing with scheduling conflicts with interviewers and risking the expense of a travel to meet with a candidate that could end up not being the best fit, HR teams can use the record feature when conference calling to make sure everyone can meet the candidate.

And if someone isn’t available for the interview? Simply send them a recording of the audio and video interview so they can get a feel of the candidate without having to try to reschedule.

Marketing: 
Have a new product you’d like to show off to investors or industry analysts? Using the same tactic mentioned above for sales departments, marketing teams can showcase their new products through audio, video and screen sharing recordings. Record the “conference call” and simply send the link to anyone who needs to know about your new product.

Corporate Communications:
If you’re working on internal communications within a company, using the record feature can help you get information to your business quickly and effectively. This works especially well if you have a hard-to-pin-down executive who would like to get out a message to his or her employees. Have the executive deliver a presentation and record it, then send the recording to you to disseminate to the company.

This feature also works well if you’re hosting a virtual town hall. If your company is full of remote workers that may not be able to meet in-person for a quarterly town hall, use the record feature when conference calling to ensure everyone stays in the loop with important business updates.

Regardless of your goal, utilizing the record feature on a conference call can make sure you get any necessary information to the right people. If you’re ready to see how the record feature can help your business save time and money, try PGi’s iMeet, free for 30 days.

How to Avoid Audio Conferencing Mishaps

Thanks to the proliferation of mobile technology, telework is on the rise. Gone are the days when employees were forced to be in office to take conference calls. Now, audio conferencing can help generate meetings pretty much anywhere – from airport terminals to coffee shops.

But these on-the-go meetings can pose some unique challenges. From poor audio due to mobile service providers to loud background noise, we’ve all suffered through some audio conferencing mishaps. Check out the below best practices to keep your next audio conference trouble-free:  

Keep it Easy to Join
We’ve all been there, waiting on that one person who can never seem to figure out the passcode or get the right dial-in number for an audio conference call. Avoid this situation altogether by choosing an audio conferencing solution that doesn’t require extensive steps to join a call.

Sometimes though, dial-in numbers are unavoidable. If this is the case, you can make it easier for everyone, especially your mobile attendees, to join the call. Make sure the dial-in number or passcode is included in the meeting invite so when they are reminded of the call, their pop-up notification will give them access to the information they need. This will also make it easier for them to rejoin the meeting in case the call is dropped.

Have international attendees? Remember to give them access to local access numbers to avoid high international audio conferencing fees.

Keep Audio Clear
Mobile technology has improved tremendously since it was first introduced in 1973. But, as we all know, sometimes mobile carrier service can be weak, causing dropped calls or intermittent lapses in audio. If you’re a remote worker joining an audio conference, make sure your signal is strong to avoid audio break-ups.

To further the chances of clear audio, make sure you are cognizant of your environment. If you’re in the office, you may be subjected to the occasional side conversation from colleagues, but if you’re mobile, your environment may be a little noisier. In all audio conferencing situations, the mute button is a great feature to use. As a rule of thumb, if you’re not presenting or interjecting, keep your line on mute to avoid unwanted distractions.

Also consider using headsets or hands-free devices if you’re on the go while taking your call. Not only is it safer, but you’ll be less likely to accidentally hang up or unmute your line while juggling your luggage, coffee or brief case.

Whether you’re constantly working on-the-go or working in-office, audio conferencing doesn’t have to be full of mishaps. Execute these best practices with a reliable audio conferencing solution, like PGi’s GlobalMeet® Audio.

 

How to Use Central Desktop for Better Team Collaboration

Are you sacrificing speed and organization for free and familiar? If your team is using the same tools you’ve always used, like email and spreadsheets, you may not even realize that your team’s full potential is still across the horizon.

Tools like these are what you know –  you already know how to use them and that they get you to the finish line. But there are other ways to get there – faster and with better results – that require little effort to learn and adopt.

Team collaboration software like iMeet® Central by PGi offers your team a smarter way to collaborate. Using iMeet® Central, you’ll hit the primary goals of effective team collaboration, such as:

  • Improved inclusion: The more complex your team(s) is, the trickier inclusion and accessibility are to achieve. However, iMeet Central dissolves the boundaries and limitations of complex collaboration by centralizing every document, conversation, update, calendar and more into a virtual workspace that anyone can access from anywhere on any device. Telecommuters, road warriors and team members around the world will be able to collaborate in the cloud as if time zones didn’t even exist, and you’ll be able to include external collaborators (like agencies and vendors) just as easily and control what they can see and edit with varying authorization levels.
  • Increased clarity: One of the key elements to effective team collaboration is ensuring everyone understands each other’s roles and responsibilities. By allowing you to assign tasks and their order within a workflow, you create greater transparency so nothing falls through the cracks. Plus, as you receive team members’ updates in your stream, you have the ability to better assess where projects are stalling and readjust and assign help as needed.
  • Greater knowledge sharing: iMeet Central turns all of your documents, discussions and updates into a searchable database, making it easier to find and share information and ideas. Every file and discussion page has a permalink that makes it fast and easy to share specific items.
  • Better progress: iMeet Central helps your team move forward on projects faster than ever. Replacing multiple team collaboration tools with a single solution means you only need to remember one login, and you don’t even have to log in everyday to receive alerts and notifications. Both in-person and virtual teams have everything they need to schedule and join meetings right from iMeet Central, including shared calendars and integrated web and audio conferencing software. iMeet Central even lets you update and edit documents right in the platform, saving you time downloading and re-uploading files, and locks documents being edited in the cloud so you don’t have to worry about other team members overriding your work.

Just as importantly, since you’re replying to photos and customized profiles, iMeet Central allows for much more personal team collaboration than other asynchronous options like email. Because Central Desktop is built with a broad range of users in mind, not just IT, you’ll find it incredibly easy to leverage the solution’s full potential and tailor it to your team’s unique needs.

If the tools you’re using for team collaboration aren’t helping you eliminate common challenges like trust and communication, try Central Desktop for free. Sign up now for a 15-day free trial to experience the solution that hundreds of teams around the world trust.

Try iMeet Central Free

How a Business Calendar App Cuts Costs & Improves Productivity

In order to keep pace with trends in mobile technology, modern businesses are evolving to adapt to the ideas of flex work, telecommuting and remote work. To support a more mobile workforce, many companies are adopting a policy that allows employees use their own technology and mobile devices to work.

As BYOD becomes commonplace, there’s an increasing need for a solution to keep remote workers productive and in sync with the business while keeping costs low. That’s where business calendar apps come in.

A business calendar app unifies calendars and provides one-touch access into calls, scheduling features and much more. Here’s a list of how the features of a business calendar app can help companies cut costs and improve productivity:

Reducing Costs: With business calendar apps like Agenday®, companies can cut costs on roaming and international mobile calls by automatically dialing into meetings using the most cost-effective number. By connecting calls through the most local route, you’ll reduce surprise spikes on your company’s next mobile bill. Some business calendar apps will take mobile calling a step further with active group calling, accessible directly from the application.

Internal Communication: For remote workers, effective communication is key to making sure they’re in sync with daily business. Agenday can also serve as an additional internal communications touchpoint by sending vital information to mobile workers through banner announcements right inside the app, all managed from a central dashboard.

Aggregation: One of the main functions a business calendar app performs is aggregation of your work and personal calendars, as well as other useful information like contacts. You’ll have access to all of your appointments, contacts and meetings in one easy-to-use interface, eliminating the time spent switching between apps looking for relevant information.

Relevant Information: Because of seamless aggregation, your business calendar app will also be able to enhance your workday with relevant information. From directions to offsite meetings to local weather and LinkedIn profiles of the person your meeting with, a business calendar app will help you access relevant information to navigate through your day.

Business calendar apps are more than just aggregators; they’re applications built to help remote and mobile workers stay productive while allowing companies everywhere to leverage powerful features to solve business needs like cost savings.

If your business is looking to support a more mobile workforce, check out the new Enterprise features of PGi’s business calendar app, Agenday, available in iTunes and Google Play.

How to Use a Collaboration Solution for Better Project Management

For the average worker, projects just keep multiplying and accelerating at faster paces. However, by employing a collaboration solution, you can get a better handle on dispersed teams, aggressive deadlines, incoming requests and high-volume collaboration and improve your project results.

With robust features, iMeet® Central by PGi helps to solves common project management challenges, like:

1. The challenge: Managing multiple teams and projects.

The solution: Centralize everything for in-person and virtual teams with iMeet Central – files, schedules, updates, conversations, tasks – within searchable workspaces and make it easy to view color-coded calendars and status reports across multiple projects from your desktop or mobile dashboard.

2. The challenge: Overseeing projects with large, diverse team members.

The solution: Collaborating with multiple parties and external collaborators often slows communication (and in turn, progress), but with iMeet Central, you’ll be able to initiate communication seamlessly with integrated web and audio conferencing. The collaboration solution also makes it easy to control the authorization levels of all team members and see who’s editing or viewing tasks with audit logs.

3. The challenge: Keeping everyone on track to meet deadlines.

The solution: Break every piece of a project down into transparent, actionable tasks in iMeet Central, and set deadlines, priority levels and time budgets for each one so each project team member knows when their commitments are due and are accountable.

4. The challenge: Measuring the real-time status of projects.

The solution: Up-to-date data is critical to ensuring that you deliver projects on time and within set parameters, so the iMeet Central collaboration solution lets you create milestones out of tasks and generate Gantt charts and status reports to visualize and summarize your entire project as needed.

5. The challenge: Responding to last-minute changes or major overhauls.

The solution: iMeet Central helps you carve in room for flexibility and agility. Once you assign work requests, workflow rules you establish automate repeatable review-and-approve processes thereafter, granting you more time to make project changes as needed instead of micromanaging the details. The collaboration solution also archives all activity and document versions so you can track changes and get a complete view of project modifications.

Though project management success depends on a variety of factors – like better planning and getting the right people on board – the right tools and processes enable you to get the rest right, even in the face of rapid movement and redirection.

Whether you’re connecting teams in the office or afar, creating your next big marketing campaign or connecting global development teams, having the powerful collaboration features of iMeet Central at your fingertips will help you do it on time and on budget.

Request a demo today to see how much easier your teamwork and project management could be with a proven, trusted collaboration solution like iMeet Central.

How Do I Set up a Webinar?

With the increasing popularity of webinars, it’s becoming important for business professionals of all walks to understand the benefits from using the software. However, many professionals hesitate to work with webinar platforms because they aren’t familiar with the technology.

Yes, launching a webinar from scratch can seem like a large project, especially if it’s your first time hosting one. But being prepared and confident with your webinar software can make all the difference. With these start-up suggestions, you’ll be able to get your webinar up and running with success:

Registration: Setting up a registration landing page or microsite is probably one of the first tasks you’ll complete when setting up your webinar. Because it will serve as your first interaction with your target audience, you should spend time carefully designing and branding the landing page to align with your company and the specific webinar’s content and imagery.

The page should contain a contact form designed to capture information from your registrants. Before creating the form, consider you audience and what information you would like to retrieve from them before the webinar. You don’t want to overwhelm potential registrants with a lengthy form, but you also want to ensure you’re capturing information that will be valuable to your sales and marketing efforts.

Audio and Video Settings: There are a few options to choose from when it comes to audio and video settings for your webinar, and the features you need will vary depending on the type of presentation. Examples include:

  • Audio with accompanying screen share, for things like trainings.
  • Audio and real-time video, perfect for panel discussions or interviews.
  • Combining all three with audio, video and screen sharing for events like a high-profile speaker presentation.

Decide on which features are appropriate for your webinar and make sure you understand how to implement and deploy them during your live event.

Managed vs. Self-Service: Depending on how critical your event is, you may consider working with event managers instead of running the webinar yourself. Self-service webinar solutions, like PGi’s iMeetLive®, are controlled by you and will work with your company’s existing technology infrastructure. Self-service webinar solutions are best for companies who host webinars frequently, and like to keep the production internal.

Managed webinars are controlled by your chosen service provider. They will take on all aspects of the online event, right down to the logistics of your presentation. Managed webinars are great for large-scale events that must run flawlessly.

Setting up a webinar doesn’t have to be difficult or intimidating. Now that you have a few tips to help ease you into the process, your next – or first – webinar will be a success.

Ready to host your own webinar, but haven’t picked a webinar platform yet? Try PGi’s GlobalMeet®, free today.

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How to Ensure a Flawless Investor Relations Call

Investor relations calls can be risky business. After all the diligent, time-consuming preparations, a lot can go wrong.

What if the audio sounds bad? What if your team forgets the call flow? How will you handle dropped calls and mispronounced names, and how will you recover from late starts and mismanaged Q&A sessions?

The complexity of a large-scale investor relations call demands so much—connecting hundreds of endpoints, complying with best practices, etc.—that they often take away the time you need to focus on your message. And the stress of minimizing slipups can deteriorate your confidence, which analysts and veteran listeners interpret as red flags.

Because there’s so much to do, and doing it all with confidence is imperative, you need the right features and solutions to ensure a flawless investor relations call. So all you need to do on the day of the call is deliver your message, you need complete IR support, such as:

  • Event Management: Veteran event managers with a thorough understanding of the industry take over the entire earnings call process, from planning and preparation to execution and post-event services. An entire team goes to work planning presentations, connecting participants and managing your Q&A. An event manager further simplifies the process by acting as a single point of contact and learning your preferences as you go.
  • Operator Assistance: Seasoned, dedicated operators with clear enunciation help make events more professional, welcoming and comfortable to minimize friction and maximize interaction. They welcome and connect callers, make introductions, moderate your live Q&A and seamlessly manage call operations with your event team behind the scenes on a separate communications line.
  • Rehearsals and Briefings: Your operator and event manager conduct rehearsals and pre-event speaker briefings to make sure there are no surprises during your investor relations call. Get audio quality checks, go over call flow and review the pronunciation of names to eliminate mistakes.
  • Host Controls: A visual audio display helps your operator or IR team prioritize callers in the Q&A queue so everyone gets a chance to ask questions (and so you can avoid disruptive callers).
  • Superior Audio Quality: Nothing’s worse than being asked to repeat yourself on an IR call, and when you’ve got hundreds of callers listening, you don’t want to fumble for solutions when connections drop. Your audio conferencing provider must be known for crystal-clear audio and reliability so you’ll be able to devote your attention to your investors, not your technology.
  • Hybrid Audio Support: Maximize attendance by choosing an audio conferencing provider with excellent hybrid audio support so you won’t have any problems connecting mobile callers and out-of-town executives.
  • Pre-Recorded Calls: By pre-recording your financial announcements, simulated live IR calls let you perfect your message and take some of the pressure off you to deliver a live event. Instead, you can stand by and wait on the Q&A portion.
  • Recording and Transcription: Make your financial announcements more accessible and extend your reach to those not in attendance with on-demand event recordings and transcription services available in multiple languages.
  • Web Streaming: Easy-to-join webcasts make your events even more engaging, interactive and impactful.

Remember, it’s not just what you say on IR calls but also how you present your message.

Explore PGi’s investor relations call solutions today for experienced event management, white glove service and customized experiences that let you minimize risks and focus on perfecting your message.

How Do I Host a Webinar?

Webinars have quickly become one of the best ways to relay information both internally and externally for enterprises. Webinars at their core are interactive web-based seminars. These interactive presentations are broadcast through both audio and video, giving a presenter the ability to easily convey engaging information to an audience that can give feedback in real time.

Whether your webinar consists of a slide show or streaming video, it is the modern way to collaborate and present efficiently. Now that you know the basics benefits of webinars, let’s look at some simple ways to successfully host a webinar of your own:

Identify Audience: Before you even begin thinking about hosting your webinar, you’ll need to identify your target audience. Review the information you are trying to relay and your ultimate goals for hosting a webinar, and then determine who needs to hear your message. By doing this, you can tailor your presentation and create a promotional campaign that will attract the right people to make your webinar a success.

Prepare Software: It’s important to choose the right webinar software for your needs. Webinar software is typically classified as managed or self-service. Managed webinars are handled by a service provider that will take on all aspects of the online event, including general logistics and the presentation.

Self-service webinar solutions, like PGi’s iMeetLive®, are controlled by you and work with your company’s existing technology infrastructure. This type of software is great for companies who frequently host webinars and would like to keep the production internal.

Webinar software should truly be simple to use. Modern self-service webinar systems integrate with your existing audio and video hardware, making it easy to host an online event.

After you’ve chosen a webinar solution, you’ll need to test your audio and video capabilities before hosting your webinar. Do a trial run of your webinar presentation with your team to make sure all components are functional before the big event.

Promote: Because hosting a webinar takes time to plan and execute, promotion is key. Without your target audience listening, your webinar won’t be a success. As a host, set aside plenty of time ahead of the webinar to focus on a promotional campaign. Utilize outlets like social media, email campaigns and blogs to push your event to the right audience.

Present and Engage: After you’ve completed all your webinar hosting prep-work, it’s time to present! This is your time to shine, so make sure you are engaging your audience through live Q&A or polls. Keep the audience on their toes by asking for real-time feedback.

Measure: After your webinar is over grab as many analytics as possible. Most modern webinar software will feature a suite of analytics tools like instant access to survey results and attendance metrics. Use these tools to adapt future webinar content and to ensure you’re maximizing your webinar ROI.

Hosting a webinar is a great way to broadcast information in real-time to a targeted audience. If you’re ready to learn more about how a webinar solution can help your business, try PGi’s iMeetLive free for 30 days.

Want more tips on how you can spice up your next webinar presentation? Check out PGi’s free eBook, The Little Black Book of Presentation Ideas.

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How Do I Schedule Meetings Across Different Time Zones?

As a part of a corporate network, you understand the importance of meetings. If your team members or clients are all within your local area, then finding a meeting time that suits everyone’s schedule shouldn’t be too difficult. But if you’re working for a business that often deals with international clients or has offices spread all over the United States, then finding a meeting time that suits everyone’s schedule can quickly become difficult.

To take the pain out of scheduling your next meeting, take a look at some best practices for ensuring all of your participant’s schedules are considered, regardless of their location:

Meetings across the U.S.:
If your team is working remotely across the U.S. or if you have clients spread across the states, you could be working with up to four major time zones: Eastern (EST), Central (CST), Mountain (MST) and Pacific (PST). Instead of spending time memorizing what states are in each time zones, we’ve got an easy solution to making a meeting time work for everyone in each of these time zones.

Typically, 2:00 pm EST is the perfect time for meeting with peers or clients in each of these time zones. This time allows for those working in the most western time zone (PST) to have time to arrive to work and prepare the meeting, while preventing the East Coasters from having to stay too late. Of course, if there is a conflict for someone during this time then give participants options an hour or two before or after the original time suggested.

Meetings across the Globe:
Scheduling meetings internationally is where things start to really get tricky because of the multitude of time zones you could be dealing with. Though there is not really a “perfect” time suggestion we can make for international meetings, there is a great tool you can use to help find a suitable time to meet. World Time Buddy is a website that deems itself as a “cross between a time zone converter, a world clock converter, and an online meeting scheduler.”

The tool, also available as an app, features a time table in which you can add your location and the locations of those you are meeting with, allowing you to see the times that are most appropriate for everyone. Once you have selected the best time, the tool can sync up and create a meeting invite on Outlook, iCalendar and Google Calendar.

There are plenty of scheduling tools out there to take the pain out of arranging those meetings across various time zones. Make scheduling and keeping track of your meetings easier with PGi’s Agenday® app, available for free on iTunes, Google Play and the Amazon app store.

Want to learn more about scheduling meetings? Check out The Best and Worst Times for Meetings.

What You Need to Know about Using Webcasting Software

Whether you’re a part of a marketing team that’s looking to generate leads, a sales team introducing product updates or a part of human resources deploying on-boarding training to new hires, webcasting software makes it easy to create professional online presentations for up to 10,000 people.

At its simplest explanation, webcasting is a live or on-demand media presentation using audio or video and is deployed over the Internet—allowing you to present your message to a large audience, without worrying about travel or logistics. This type of software will also typically include interactive features like polling, Q&A, surveys and social media to create an engaging experience for the audience.

If you’re new to the idea of using live webcasting software, here’s some in-depth information you’ll need to know:

Managed vs. Self-Service Webcasting Software
First, it’s important to note that webcasting software typically falls into two categories: managed and self-service. For managed webcasts, a service provider handles all aspects of the event including the filming, broadcasting and general logistics of the presentation. This type of webcasting is great for large-scale productions that need to be fail-safe, such as executive town halls or investor relations presentations.

Self-service webcasting software, like PGi’s iMeetLive®, offers businesses or individuals the ability to use their company’s existing technology infrastructure to host their own webcasts or webinars with enterprise-grade audio and video, publishing, editing and analytics. Self-service webcasting software is great for companies who frequently host webcasts and would prefer to keep the production aspect in-house.

Webcast Hosting 101
If your company elects to use managed webcasting software, the majority of the work will be done for you, but if you elect to use self-service webcasting software, you’ll have the flexibility to host webinars and webcasts whenever you like, with access to technology that makes hosting a webcast straightforward and uncomplicated.

First, self-service webcasting software will be cloud-based, allowing your audience to easily join through the click of a URL on any device that has access to a web browser. No downloads, plugins or apps are required.

It will also allow you, as the host, to turn your existing video and audio technology infrastructure into broadcasting equipment. You’ll be able to use your computer’s webcam, your company’s video conferencing unit or telephone system to conduct your event. In other words, there are no additional costs on audio and video equipment but improved ROI on your existing investments.

Most webcasting software will also make sure your event is relevant, even after it’s completed. The entire presentation will be immediately available for publication for on-demand viewing for any users who’d like to revisit information, or for those who may have missed the webcast completely.

Finally, webcasting software typically offers pre- and post-event analytics tools to ensure you’re maximizing your ROI. These analytics tools include instant access to survey results, Q&A, training and certification, and attendance metrics.

Webcasting software is a great business tool for creating and distributing important content in real-time. If you’re ready to learn more about the benefits of webcasting software, try PGi’s iMeetLive free for 30 days or check out PGi’s event services to learn more about managed webcasts.