Ed Rigsbee, CSP, CAE
the Cover of the November 19, 2001 issue of Meeting News, the article
stated, “Prior to Sept. 11, meeting by electronic means had already gained
momentum among U.S. organizations. But now, with the terrorist attacks having
exacerbated an already-weak economy, look for electronic conferencing, also
known as virtual meetings, to advance substantially in 2002.”
a videoconferencing session in your future? If you are a professional speaker
and plan to continue in the speaking and training business, you can be assured
the likelihood is strong. I believe videoconferencing is both attendee and
of the advantages videoconferencing offers you, the professional speaker;
include timesavings and the ability to be in two places at the same time.
Additionally, you can do multiple client dates in a single day and travel less.
Some of the advantages video conferencing offers meeting planners are reduced
speaker cost (travel & fees), availability of multiple location venues
(saving attendees travel) and real time global interaction
make videoconferencing part of your success plan, master the six main areas to
that are to follow. The six areas are: Meeting Industry usage, Profitability,
Local Accessibility, Technology Applications, Technology Providers and
Presentation Skills. Let's take the areas individually.
Meeting Industry Usage:
Often, videoconferencing is
replacing small meetings. Owens
Corning has installed desktop videoconferencing in about one-fourth of the
firm's 80 locations worldwide. This allows team members worldwide to meet and
make decisions within hours rather than days or weeks before the technology.
Ford Motor Company created their FORDSTAR dealer communications network
employing satellite transponders. This allows broadcast quality on several
channels. The main purpose has been training. Additionally, executives can
inform all manufacturing locations on developments without having to travel.
National associations and corporations are including real-time videoconferencing
in their annual meetings. Also, multi location meetings save travel and hotel
expense. The explosion is close at hand. About one-fifth of the Fortune 1000
companies have corporate networks. I believe we professional speakers must
design our future. It is better than flowing with the uncertain wind, wherever
There is gold in those Integrated Services Digital
Network (ISDN) lines if we know how to dig. Besides the time savings and multiple
client days, back-of-the-room products (video) can be the byproduct of a
videoconference, just record it, the camera is already there. Clients, who
before could not afford you, now might. Your
clients will experience the hard-dollar benefits with multiple locations and
reduced travel expenses. Additionally, companies with videoconferencing
capability are receiving soft-dollar benefits through improved information
sharing and productivity gains.
How much time you save will
depend on how close you are to an organization that has a videoconferencing
studio for rent. Kinko's, one of my partners in the bringing the technology to
the National Speakers Association (NSA) convention a few years ago in Orlando, has 800 locations worldwide. They might
be the first place to check, call 1-800-2-KINKOS for the nearest
videoconferencing location. Additionally, universities are a good place to look,
as are large corporations with public rooms and other providers. Another
possibility is to purchase your own camera, like PictureTel's Live 50 desktop
How can you profit? When you
want to interview an important person, have them go to their local Kinko's. They
will get a kick out of it and you saved travel expense and time. The few dollars
it cost to set up the videoconferencing network is usually less than the cost of
a flight. You can close deals with important clients who have the technology.
You can do your consulting using the technology as will as simply making
presentations. Not to make it sound like a kinko's advertisement, but it is
half-price on the weekends.
My partners at the NSA
convention were PictureTel, Kinko's and Sprint; they paid for everything but the ISDN lines in
the hotel. For videoconferencing to work needed are cameras and monitors for all
locations (to be interactive) and the network (telephone or private) to carry
the sound and picture signal. The telephone line capability is currently the
bottleneck. For clean broadcast-quality videoconferencing, three ISDN
lines are required. ISDN lines
carry up to 128 kilobits per second. Think of your dial-up modem at a maximum 56 kilobits per
second and you will understand. Lucent Technologies is currently laying fiber optics cable across the USA (they
recently tore up the streets in my neighborhood). Also higher speed cable and DSL are
becoming available for your home or office.
is now time for a warning. The technology usually works if connected properly.
If you are going to use the technology in a real-time situation at a conference,
have a technician on site. PictureTel hired VideoLinx Communications in
Annandale, Virginia to do the connection in Orlando and they were great. Without
a qualified technician, you could end up eating crow.
The camera is much different
from live. Things you need to consider include: Move slower, make smaller
gestures and romance the camera. The camera lens is the portal to your audience.
Avoid plaids and prints that may be emphasized on the screen. White clothing
creates glare and red bleeds. Videoconferencing etiquette reminds us of the
broadcast delay. Remember to give the person on the far side time to answer
before you start again. Avoid coughing into microphones, shuffling papers or
possible side conversations.
technology could be your foe (speaker and meeting planner) if you are not
willing to learn. But, like getting your first computer, master it and the
technology will be your friend in new speaking and meeting possibilities and
Ed Rigsbee, CSP, CAE, is the
author of PartnerShift, Developing
Strategic Alliances and The
Art of Partnering and has over 2,000 published articles to his
credit. Ed travels internationally to deliver strategic alliance keynotes
and workshops. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.rigsbee.com.
access helpful additional information from Ed Rigsbee at no charge,
please visit www.rigsbee.com/downloadaccess.htm.