By Arthur Orchid

In 1999 I was working for a company having offices and subsidiaries in several coutries (Seattle (USA), Dublin (UK), Paris (France), Sydney (Australia), etc.) It would have been too expensive to pay flights tickets for all this staff to attend the weekly meetings. Web based conferencing became evident at this time.

I was a little bit apprehensive about first installing web based conferencing. It wasn't that it was prohibitively expensive or that I didn't think that we could use it, but I was worried about becoming too dependent on the new gadget. You see, we have gotten by without ever having a web based conference for years. As a matter of fact, we had few conference calls at all. I had seen businesses become completely dependent on web based conferencing systems, systems that were complex and sometimes failed. Many of these companies did perfectly well without the technology for a while, but once they got it, they couldn't do without it. I was afraid that if our Web conferencing software went off-line, we would be paralyzed.

Fortunately, we have a top-notch guy in IT working in Seattle. He assured me that the web based video conferencing program that we were using was extremely reliable, and that he would personally take responsibility for ensuring that it worked all the time. That's why I hired him: that willingness to step up to the plate and go the extra mile to make sure that things get done. Although it took a while to set up the web based conferencing software, once he did we were all eager to try it. We set up an experimental meeting with all of the various regional offices. We had a new sales policy and, rather than sending out an e-mail about it, we allowed our sales expert to give a lecture on it.

I was surprised by how much more effective it was. It's no secret that half of the people in the company never read the sales e-mails at all. They figure that they know how to do their jobs well enough without the new jargon and techniques. Once they were actually forced to sit and listen to it, however, I could tell that they were tuning in and picking up some useful tips. They asked intelligent questions that proved that they were listening, and helped illuminate the lesson further.

Since then, we have continued using the web based conferencing on a weekly basis. Most of our most important communication still take place over e-mail or in person, but slowly web-based video conferencing becamea bigger and bigger part of our company. It allowed us to check in on each other more thoroughly and communicate more efficiently, things that can only strengthen the company.

Have you ever used Web Based Conferencing? Do you prefer the solutions such as launching your webcam and a software like Skype?

To Your Success!

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