Online meetings vs. webinars: what small businesses stand to gain

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As the old saying goes, “Time waits for no man.”  When it comes to your [and most importantly, your client’s] time, here’s what every small business needs to know about the purpose of online meetings and webinars, as well as some tools:

Online meetings are used typically to exchange ideas and information, as well as share progress on deliverables. Skype, Google Hangout and BigMarker are excellent tools to use for people to come together to do just that.  Some Google Hangout best practices can be found in keyboard short-cuts, tagging users in posts and private messaging.

While webinars allow the dissemination of information, its use is more-so for instructional purposes.  Tools like Slideshare, GoToMeeting, WebEx and BigMarker’s real-time forums provide a space for online instruction followed by Q & A.  Documentation is always provided in webinars in real-time, sometimes as a take-away..  Best practices can be found in providing documentation via limited re-play for people who couldn’t attend during the original “air date.”

Depending on the number of dedicated lines available, these are the most effective ways to train people en masse, in a single setting.

Here’s an article I wrote on BigMarker last year that details how they do double-duty in both hosting online meetings as well as providing online instructional space:  http://www.examiner.com/article/collaboration-is-nice-but-social-media-community-organizer-looks-at-the-heart

Whatever path you choose, always be sure to get the most bang for your brand’s [and clients’!] time… which will lead to the big bucks.

To your success!

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5 handy tips to protect children online during winter break

5 handy tips to protect children online during winter break

School may be out for winter break, parents, but that doesn’t give kids license to abuse their momentary freedom from academic rule. Now that we’re stuck with – ahem – now that our precious children are back in our care, now is the time for the most important lesson to be imparted in them: online safety.

More than ever our kids need our persistent and consistent monitoring of their online activities.According to a 2010 study by The Pew Internet & American Life Project Research Centera nonpartisan, nonprofit “fact tank” that produces reports exploring the impact of the internet on families and communities – 32% of teens have experienced at least one or more forms on online abuse by their peers.

Protect your children online with these 5 handy tips:

1. Be the administrator of their e-mail and social media accounts.

Bump privacy. Only people who pay for mortgage/rent, bills, food, etcetera get that privilege. Without trying to be controversial, this isn’t the 50’s, folks. Our kids are in serious times.

2. Lay down the law.

By all means acknowledge the young adults they’re becoming, but it’s our job to inform them with privileges comes responsibility. Either they monitor their connections or they’ll be disconnected. If you catch an onslaught of expletives in your child’s Twitter stream after a series of warnings, it’s time to pull the plug.

3. Know their inner- AND ‘outer-circles’.

Simple: the first group is the “BFF’s,” the second “associates.”

4. Monitor your child’s behavior as well as activity.

Do they seem anxious? Are they nonchalantly slipping away to the escape that only social media provides away from us yappy parents? You really do want the latter. Are they the pitcher or the receiver of any online attack? Teach or remind your children of this golden rule: Don’t start none, won’t be none.

5. TALK to them.

Duh. Let them know that they can always come to us troglodytes with any issues, questions and concerns. Reassure them that we’re here for them and to trust that whatever measures we’ll take to protect them, we will not cause them further embarrassment or harm.

We parents just ‘look stupid’…. all the better to disarm them.