The Virtual Meeting Coach

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Archive for July, 2009

Ready for the Holodeck? Telepresence is Here: From San Diego to Singapore to Corvalis, Oregon!

Friday, July 24th, 2009

With the economy still in fragments, lots of people say they’re too busy to investigate social media. They think of social media as too new to mess with.

In the last week, I’ve had at least a dozen people tell me they can’t “waste time” on Twitter. They say they’ve got too much to do already, running from place to place to meet with “real” people, to put up a LinkedIn profile or a Facebook page.

These kinds of conversations, both live and online, worry me. Because the thing is, as I heard my new friend, Rene Fabre, tell a room full of title agents, Realtors, and lenders yesterday in Medford, Oregon, social media technologies aren’t new.

Some of them are 10 years old!

I’ve been reporting in this blog about online medicine. And online government. And online education. And I’ve been talking about some of the free virtual meeting tools available to talk to your doctor, participate in government, and learn whatever you want – all at a distance. This stuff isn’t rocket science. And it’s not new. Yet it amazes me how many people are still operating in the dark about it.

If you’re someone feeling relatively “in the dark” about virtual meetings – or working with other people who are – here are two videos I suggest you take a couple of minutes to watch. Feel free to link back here to share them with your friends. This is Telepresence. And it’s right here, right now, and coming soon to your town and your neighborhood. Maybe your home.

The first video shows Cisco CEO, John Chambers, and Marthin De Beer demonstrating the newest iteration of Cisco’s Telepresence system for an Indian audience. This isn’t Star Trek, it’s real life, right now. And yes, it’s real expensive. If you don’t have the money to put one of these into your organization right now, I suggest you use the time between now and when you find that money to practice using the FREE virtual meeting tools available now so you’re a pro at distance education before you get your Telepresence system.

In fact, at the risk of sounding like a shameless self-promoter, I recommend that if you need some help wrapping your mind around what you need to do to prepare for virtual meetings, you download a copy of “The Coach’s Short List” from this site and use it to support your practice.  The Coach’s Short List is the  “Cliff’s Notes” of virtual meetings. I wrote it so people could have their own little “cheat sheet” to guide them.

The future is upon us, friends. The question is, “How do you want to play?”

San Diego to Singapore to Corvalis, Oregon

The second video was made TWO full years ago, in 2007. It shows Mark Anderson meeting from the HP Halo Studio in San Diego with colleagues in Singapore and Corvalis, Oregon, during the “Future in Review” Conference. This piece shows the “older” Telepresence technology at work. This technology is already at work in corporate settings, doctor’s offices, hotel conference rooms, and even some colleges. And it has been for quite some time now.

Workin’ and Practicin’ …Your Night Moves

If you can’t imagine yourself yet well-prepared to meet with clients, customers, and colleagues as if you were in the same room with them, it’s time to start workin’ and practicin’, as Bob Seeger used to sing. Maybe you’re old enough to remember this one:

The Dandelion Theory of Social Media

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009


It’s not for the faint of heart.

Building, monitoring and managing your online reputation can be a bit complex – at the start. And even in the middle. It does get easier, but having someone point us in the right direction can really save us a bucket of frustration and wasted time. For sure, the deliberate use of social media to build business isn’t for slackers.

In our fourth and final conversation of this series on The Virtual Meeting Coach Show, Matt Sweet, Rene Fabre and I talk about dandelions and Malcolm Cecil – and what we’re really accomplishing with all our social media participation. Besides wasting time and scrambling our brains.

Dandelions? Who in the #[email protected]% is Malcolm Cecil? And what  do things like that have to do with helping people find you and your professional services on the internet or put money in your pockets?

Masters of the Obvious

Matt and Rene, two wild and crazy internet marketers for the Pacific NW region of Ticor Title, call themselves “Masters of the Obvious.” But it’s not true. They’re musicians who see patterns where some of us can’t. And God knows, most of us could use some help making sense of how we might ever make a living out of our Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn interactions. Not to speak of all the rest…

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Our conversation in this fourth and final segment is rich with metaphor – and some powerful visual analogues. We talk about StepRep and how you can use it to help Google track all your dandelion seeds back to their source – you.

We hope our dialogue inspires you to participate both more creatively and more sensibly in online communities where, as Matt is fond of saying, “Conversations are markets.”

“Like, love or hate this show? Can we improve? Tell us!”

Wondering Why People Resist Your Virtual Touch?

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Man, I just met a new Twitter follower, virtually. He made a nice offer to try out his product. I signed up to do so…and [email protected] There he was in my email with a personal webcam message.

That was okay…sort of. But the webcam message included telling me how I should use his product and that he would be tracking when I read his messages and used his system… That was a little creepy. Especially at 7:30am in the morning…

A stream of tweets followed to push me forward to do what he wanted me to do… When I replied, to see if we could start up a little dialogue on Twitter, I got ANOTHER webcam message! [email protected] This one giving me more unsolicited direction. Including how I should use his product instead of Twitter to communicate… along with another dump of advice about how I should use his product to do business.

Another middle-aged white American business guy who doesn’t get relationship. Especially virtual relationship. Sigh…

If you want some coaching to ensure you’re not making this kind of first – and last – impression marketing to women, I can help.

Ustream + Twitter: Is It Access TV – or a Live Virtual Meeting?

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009


Just watched a live-streaming TV show and I have to say I’m impressed with the courage and creativity of David Riklan!

David is the CEO and rabid advocate for his website which aggregates the work of thousands of self-help teachers and authors. has an enviable traffic flow and I’m predicting that David’s latest experiment using UStream’s live feed plus Twitter is going to ramp up his traffic even further!

The stage setup for the show had David behind his desk with a speaker-phone co-host whose presence was made “visible” by having the phone displayed prominently, upstage, on David’s desk. David introduced one of his staff members, the onsite “Twitter manager,” who mostly remained off-stage tracking participants’ live tweets, but made an appearance every so often behind the desk with David, too. Other staff members made personal appearances – sitting next to David behind the desk – throughout the show, as well. The team seemed to have someone juggling the IM/chat window on UStream, too, although I couldn’t get it to take my input.

David collected some questions ahead of the show, using an online form he circulated to his list. He answered some viewers’ questions live and punted some to his telephone co-host to answer throughout the show.

He used a very smart giveaway strategy, encouraging real-time Twitter participation (now incorporated into UStream as the “social stream”). Asking participants to tweet a “commercial” message for him made them eligible for a live drawing of a multi-piece CD/DVD set he showed. The commercial feel of that strategy felt more than a little tacky to me, but it certainly demonstrated an interesting way to incentivize others to broadcast your message  on Twitter if that’s something you want to do with Twitter.

The experience reminded me at lot of the early days of Access TV. And, of course, the value of Access TV shows always hinges on the creativity and mindfulness of the show host. David has been developing his community for quite awhile and he’s a pretty fair show host. I look forward to seeing where else he takes this approach…

Interesting experiment! Is this Access TV on the internet… or a new kind of Virtual Meeting?

Did you attend? If so, I’m curious to hear your thoughts about the experience. Did you feel like you were in a virtual meeting with David…or was this a second-tier version of the new ABC Nightline Format (that includes Twitter participation)? What do YOU think?

Building Online Reputation: Quit Marketing to The Crowd That Already Left The Building!

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Who would have thought in just 50 short years we would go from meeting and greeting people in the town square to meeting and greeting people hundreds of miles away – without anyone actually leaving home?

And, in that same short time, who would have thought we would go from buying the biggest newspaper or magazine display ads we could afford to stimulate traffic to our businesses to asking everyone we know what they’re doing to encourage their customers to write about their experiences with them in online directories?

The change is staggering. It’s enough to make my head spin all the way around!

And it’s not science fiction. It’s already happened. Elvis has left the building.

(According to Wikipedia, “Elvis has left the building!” was a phrase often used by public address announcers following Elvis Presley concerts to disperse audiences who lingered in hopes of an Elvis encore.)

As my guests on this third episode of “The Virtual Meeting Coach Show“ like to say, business people who continue to neglect online meetings and other social media – focusing the bulk of their marketing dollars on traditional tv and radio, or newspaper and magazine display ads – are marketing to a crowd that already left the building.

The old models don’t work…and the new ones do.

If the people you need to tell about your business don’t read newspapers anymore, it makes no sense to buy newspaper advertising to communicate with them. But many people are still doing just that.

In their jobs as the Pacific NW internet marketing team for Ticor Title, Matt Sweet and Rene Fabre, spend a big chunk of their time helping Realtors, bankers, and other folks in the real estate industry understand why the old models of advertising and business communication don’t work anymore… and why the new models do.

As Rene likes to say, young and old alike, people all over the world have become “searchers.” We go online daily now to self-educate and to find what we need. So, the question is, how can people possibly choose to buy your products or services unless they can easily find your compelling presence online?

Matt jokingly called this third conversation, “I Get By With A Little Yelp From My Friends.”

Take a look and a listen as the three of us talk about ways to use online review sites like Yelp, Amazon and others to help people searching for things they want FIND YOU in the process of their searching.

FYI: You don’t have to be in real estate to get a lot of value out of this conversation. Anyone who sells professional services needs to be thinking this way to make a decent living in this new economy.

“Like, love or hate this show? Can we improve? Tell us!

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