The Virtual Meeting Coach

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Archive for September, 2009

E-Buyers, E-Patients, E-Learners, E-Workers, E-Clients: How Are You Gearing Up To Serve Them?

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

I’ve been in a flurry of local activity for the last 10 days or so and every conversation has come back to this question:

“What are you doing to prepare yourself and your people to respond in real-time to the tidal wave of buyers, patients, learners, workers, and clients who are already online now shopping for what you have to offer?”

This little slide show does a masterful job of outlining the issues and some of the challenges facing people working in the arenas of telehealth, telemedicine, and the other domains covered by connected health.

But the issues are the same for people who want to learn from you online, people who want to buy houses from you online, people who want to work with you online, and clients who want you to consult with them online. Take a look:

Patients Rising: How to Reach Empowered, Digital Health Consumers

So what’s your plan? How are you gearing up to serve digital consumers?

They’re already online looking for what they want. And if you want them to “meet” with you, you need to be able to meet them digitally. Virtually. Online.

If you’re not sure how to get started safely – and confidently – please let me help you start stepping through a simple way you can start using virtual meetings to serve e-buyers, e-patients, e-learners, and e-clients the way they want to be served by you!

Real-time virtual meetings aren’t rocket science, friends. And, if you’re not already using virtual meetings to empower digital buyers, digital patients, digital learners, and digital clients, time’s a’wasting… You’d better believe it: your competition is gearing up right now.

So, What’s The Big Deal About Meeting Live Online With President Obama?

Monday, September 7th, 2009

I have to say right up-front that I feel like I’ve been ambushed out of nowhere when I read and hear objections to President Obama’s web meeting tomorrow, September 8th, with our nation’s school children. From 1/3 and 1/2 of our nation’s school children are routinely dropping out of school before they complete a high-school degree program. The figures are higher in blighted urban areas. There, 4 out of 5 students are dropping out before completing their high-school degree. So, maybe I’m nuts, but to me  it only makes sense that the President would do something different to inspire students, teachers, and parents to do something different. So, what gives with the objections to having a national Back-to-School-Meeting?


I guess the biggest part of my surprise about the resistance comes from the fact that I meet online every day – with all kinds of people – in both my business and my personal life.  Apparently one of the reasons that vendors like Go To Meeting are running the same ad over and over and over through the evening news broadcasts on CNN is that a lot of people still don’t know they, too, can use virtual meeting tools easily and safely to meet with groups as small as 2 or as large as ????  (Tomorrow’s meeting will be historic and give us some new data about the possibilities of virtual meetings, too!)

I know from personal, daily experience that virtual meetings hold tremendous potential to support dialogue, discussion, and interaction – even when we can’t be in the same room with other people. Like I say here often, they’re not magic, but almost.

I’m thinking about what else I want to say about the rhetoric of resistance and hatred that seems to be fueling some schools boycotting the President’s meeting.

But for now, if you’re someone who really cares about education – a parent, a teacher, a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, or a school kid – please help yourself to Wes Fryer’s blog today. Wes has been tirelessly covering all the bases for many years now in the conversation, “How can we think differently about instruction using Web 2.0 tools?”  His passion and the encyclopedic drive of his blog are legendary amongst teachers who have their eye on the future. And for good reason.

Wes’ chart above is old, by Web 2.0 standards, but it still illustrates well some things you need to think about – whether you’re a teacher, a trainer, or any kind of business person who needs to share information in order to help someone else achieve their hopes and dreams – and you can’t always be in the same room with them at the same time. The technologies that support virtual classrooms and other kinds of virtual meetings allow us to view each others’ slides, photos, documents, web pages, and even video.

However, it’s always seemed to me that the most crucial thing we can share in virtual meetings (that we can’t do just watching television or one-way web presentations) is our voices, our thoughts, our in-the-moment-feedback with each other.  To me, this is the real beauty of virtual meetings – their live, interactive potential!

Now that I think about it, maybe that beauty that I value so much is exactly what the resisters are resisting. The interactive potential of virtual meetings spells an end to nation-wide one-way communication and the structures of hierarchy and domination that one-way communication perpetuates. Hmmmm….. Maybe that’s what’s up… You think?


Well, if you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle who would like to attend the meeting live with a classroom of students and their forward-thinking teacher, Karl Fisch, you can check in there tomorrow, and attend with Karl and his class of 5th grade students who live right in the heartland, Littleton, Colorado. The meeting will, of course, be recorded and immediately reposted to YouTube and the text of the President’s remarks will be posted online today ahead of the meeting. It’s unlikely that the President will be able to take live questions from the children – although I hope, somehow, the White House staff figures out how to do that technologically challenging task!

There are tons of materials available to support your talk and interaction with your children and anyone else who attends this meeting with you.  Wes has linked to some of the best on his blog today. Please use one or more of them to help each other make the most of this opportunity to set a new tone for everybody starting back to school this fall, 2009.  They need all our help to get across the finish line!

What Do You Think About the 2009 Gartner Magic Quandrant for Web Conferencing?

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

At the end of July, The Gartner Group updated its analysis and comparison of web conferencing applications/vendors.

Along with a thorough review of features, Gartner uses this bi-annual report to make strategic planning predictions about significant business usage patterns. This year’s predictions are Gartner’s best guess about the terrain between here and 2011.

I’m unable to reprint any direct quotes from the report or to republish the quadrant itself. However, AT&T has paid for reposting rights for the 2009 Gartner Magic Quandrant for Web Conferencing so that others can read it. If you’re unable to purchase your own copy from Gartner, you can read it here.

I was struck as I read through it with the variety of features available from the big names, on the one hand. And, on the other, at the narrow thinking about large-scale corporate deployment that just continues to ignore many of the realities of small business’ needs. Independent business people who are racing to keep the wolves from the door have a very different set of opportunities and constraints to work with than many of the bigger vendors are focused on.

And, as I keep saying, learning to operate all the bell and whistles in new web conferencing tools is just STEP ONE on the path to virtual meeting mastery. Adding virtual meetings efficiently into  business processes and learning to keep your full attention on the experience of those you’re meeting with are much more challenging tasks. As the tools become more widely available and accepted, your skill at thinking about and planning your virtual meetings is what’s going to help you stand out from the crowd. There’s never been a better time than now to start building those skills and I’d love to help you when you’re ready.

The 2009 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Conferencing is  a fascinating read. Take a look and let’s chat about what you think.

Scared to Get Started Using a Free Virtual Meeting Tool? No Worries…

Saturday, September 5th, 2009


If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you already know I’m crazy about all kinds of virtual meeting tools. And in this economy, I’m especially crazy about helping people practice their chops using some of the fabulous new FREE tools.

DimDim is one of the best of the free web conferencing, virtual meeting, internet conferencing, online meeting tools out there. They recently published a new set of simple setup tutorials and if you’re ready to dive in and explore, you can’t go wrong using them. Go here to find a well-organized set of tutorials.

Then, when you’re ready to focus on how to think about and organize your virtual meetings so you get – and keep – the rapport you need with the folks you’re meeting with, come back and see me here. Your next step? Get yourself a copy of The Coach’s Short List and sign up for my next live – or online – training.

It’s not rocket science learning to setup and use virtual meeting tools skillfully.  It’s also not something most people want to do without some help – until they get good at both the technical part AND the relationship part. That’s what I’m here for.

DimDim just made it a lot easier to get started!

Ready to Save BIG TIME By Simplifying Your Meeting Scheduling Life?

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

I can’t count the number of people who have asked me in the last month for a list of apps that might help them simplify their meeting scheduling processes. I haven’t had time to compile a list like that yet, but now I’m not going to bother. just published a great post yesterday that lists 10 top apps. You can find it here.

I like TimeBridge a lot and it integrates seamlessly into DimDim for virtual meetings. I also use Doodle regularly with multi-party local and nonlocal groups, like project teams, committees and boards. Until I saw the post at ReadWriteWeb, I hadn’t heard about Tungle, but it looks very cool so I just signed up.

If you’re ready to simplify your meeting scheduling life, this list is a great place to start.

A Big AMEN to This: “You could have the best videoconference equipment in the world, but if the users aren’t comfortable onscreen, the project will fail.”

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Videoconference System Picture

ComputerWorld tells the truth: Thinking videoconferencing is plug-and-play could get you into hot water.

This is precisely why I wrote “The Coach’s Short List.”Virtual meetings are not rocket science. But you can really screw up relationships – and jeopardize critical outcomes – if you don’t plan and practice well. And these days, no one’s got time, capital, or relationships to waste.

Ticor Title will be sponsoring an abbreviated version of “The Short List Workshop” with Southern Oregon REALTORS in about two weeks.  I can’t wait!

I worked with REALTORS often in Austin. They’re just about the most social animals on the planet! So I’ll be excited to see this bunch get a big-picture and crucial-details overview… and then take-off with it.

I’ll let you know how things go. Maybe you’d like me to bring “The Short List Workshop” to an office near you…

Live or online?

Wireless Healthcare: Giving You That Feeling Of Always Being Connected to Your Doctor

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009


Connectedness by Ayesha Hilton

Cutting the Chord (Click here for video.)

When you’re sick, you’re sick. And for many people being sick brings with it a powerful desire to be in close touch with your doctor until you feel well.

If YOU don’t have that desire – or maybe especially because you don’t – your family members are likely to have it twice as bad FOR YOU.

Well, mobile medical technologies are poised to make a much stronger link between you and your healthcare providers lot more possible than you might ever have imagined. Wireless healthcare devices and systems can make it downright simple for you to be monitored in all kinds of ways from well outside the walls of doctor’s offices and hospitals.

In case you missed it, this tight, meaty conversation  took place on August 28, 2009, on CNBC, between Hewlett Packard’s Executive VP of the Personal Systems Group, Todd Bradley, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs, and Dr. Eric Topol, Scripps Health Chief Academic Officer. The focus is wireless healthcare and mobile medicine initiatives that the big boys have been readying for market even while the economy has been languishing.

So, how would you like to be feeling better connected to your healthcare team? And in what ways?

Dreaming is about to be believing… Take a look:  Cutting the Chord (Click here for video.)

Telemedicine can have widespread, transforming impacts on costs, quality, delivery and health outcomes.

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

I signed another online petition today. Ho-hum.

So what’s new?

Well, this petition encourages Congress to expand support for telemedicine – a topic that’s pretty darned important to me – and a lot of other people – from 3 different perspectives.

1. From the first perspective, I have a chronic illness, Type 2 diabetes. And it’s not going to go away. I do all I can to manage it with diet and exercise and it’s still progressing. Not fast. But, caring for myself – since my insurer has excluded almost all my meds, supplies, and doctor care – is slowly but surely bankrupting me. So, any way I can contain the costs to get the appropriate, competent care I’m going to need for the rest of my life sounds good to me. And telehealth initiatives would do that.

2. From the second, I live in a relatively rural area now where access to medical care requires relatively long drives and long waits because there’s a shortage of doctors in relation to the number of folks who live here. Telehealth initiatives would help with this, too, providing access to specialists without the need for so much travel.

3. From the third perspective, I’m “The Virtual Meeting Coach,” and I KNOW that with the right training and dependable broadband internet access, it’s 100% possible for people to meet with each other – without being co-located – and get as good or better results than they can  meeting face-to-face.

In no way am I advocating that any of us gets rid of our primary docs or that insurers fleece us further by pushing delicate diagnostic processes into virtual meeting rooms. But I do believe that both doctors and patients can benefit tremendously from meeting more often – and less expensively – using virtual meeting technologies to address hundreds of health conditions and long term care.

(This is why I’ve offered to build the Cloud Computing skills of my neighbors at Mountain Meadows, for starters. In this rural part of southern Oregon, there’s a shortage of doctors and skilled caregivers and my neighbors need to be comfortable using computers to extend their networks of care -  including having online conversations with specialists and distant family members!)

I’ve been complaining for three years now about how insane it is for me to repeat this routine four times a year: I drive 40 miles round trip to get a blood draw. Then, 10 days later, drive another 40 miles round trip, wait for 20 minutes in a waiting room, and then sit down for 15 minutes with my doc while she reads the computer printout on the blood work to me. The costs in wasted time, fuel, and dollars are ridiculous. It insults my human intelligence and my doctor’s, too! It would be common sense for me to get a local blood draw, have the tests processed and sent to my doc electronically, and then meet with her in a virtual meeting room to go over the results with her instead.

But that would mean we’d be venturing into the “experimental” arena of telemedicine! Oh no, Mr. Bill!


Oh yes, Mr. Bill!! I’m excited about the petition I signed today at because the group there is a web-based coalition focused on getting health leaders to make maximum advantage of telehealth for improving Americans’ health.

As they report:

“After 50 years of demonstrations and research and over 10,000 studies published on the impact of telehealth, there is widespread agreement on its ability to save lives and money  while increasing access to care. Patients like it, it improves care and it expands access. Moreover, it can reduce costs.”

Among the bigger benefits of telehealth/telemedicine are better management of chronic diseases, better sharing of health specialists, fewer hospital stays and re-admittances, and reduced patient and provider travel times.

Studies indicate that the use of telemedicine for monitoring of chronic care patients or allowing specialists to provide care to patients over a large region have resulted in significantly improved quality of care.

And consumers want it. Patient satisfaction with the use of telemedicine to access care and the use of telecommunications technologies to connect with specialists and other health care providers to meet unmet health needs is consistently high.

Estimates of annual net cost savings to Medicare resulting in the widespread adoption of telemedicine services range from $2 billion to over $4 billion per year, according to various studies, including the Arthur D Little report, “Can Telecommunications Help Solve America’s Health Care problems?” and “Outcomes of an Integrated Telehealth Network Demonstration Project,” published as far back as 2003 in Telemedicine Journal and e-Health.

So, what’s the hold up?

Good question. And everyone’s got a little different answer.

Over the next several weeks I’m going to be interviewing  a variety of interesting people who are involved with the design and delivery of different telemedicine initiatives. I’ll be sharing clips from the conversations here and offering a set of the complete interviews for sale.

So stay tuned.

It’s clear to me that telemedicine can have a widespread and transforming impact on the cost, quality, delivery, and health outcomes for all people.

And frankly, given the demographic I’m part of (we aging Baby Boomers are going to break the bank with our healthcare), I can’t think of a better application of virtual meeting technologies than preventative health education and telemedicine.

Have you already had experiences with telemedicine – as a doc? As a patient? I’d love to talk with you about them…

Leave a comment below and I’ll get right back to you.

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