The Virtual Meeting Coach

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Archive for the ‘connected health’ Category

What will you say and do when you step onto a Holodeck for your virtual meeting?

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Image from France Telecom Magic Telepresence Wall

There’s news coming out over the last month that technology can – and will – soon provide us with new ways to be present with one another ala Star Wars/Star Trek “holodecks” and “holograms.”

If your fondest wish for a virtual meeting experience is to being able to simulate people being physically present (telepresent) with one another, here are a couple of new stories you may find interesting:

Fueled by extensive market research, Citrix and Cisco are taking different paths towards providing telepresence capabilities to business, education and medical markets. And all of this is fascinating for those of us who find technology fascinating.

But the even more fascinating inquiry – for me, and maybe for you – is wondering how these new holographic capabilities are going to affect our business communication practices and meeting processes.

Telepresence tools – like all of man’s tools – create new possibilities, new environments for human behavior. In so doing, they also create new limitations, new frames of reference that circumscribe behavior. Automobiles, for example, have opened up a whole new “way” of being on the planet – and a whole new set of constraints and hazards, too.

My everyday business requires me to think about new ways I can help my clients take advantage of social media and real-time virtual meeting tools to save time and money – without sacrificing quality outcomes. And every day I run into walls of assumptions about how people can – and should – interact around information and shared tasks together. Face-to-face is hard enough. Then there are the challenges of working together at a distance. . Climbing over the walls of  assumptions  about “appropriate” interaction in collaborative activities can either liberate groups or tie them up in knots. To be candid, quite often it does both – at first.

So, as I’m reading today about new possibilities for telepresence, I’m both excited about potential new terrain and more curious than ever about the new constraints clients are certainly going to encounter as they move to take advantage of these tools.

It’s going to be fascinating helping human beings look through their assumptions about what someone’s “quasi” physical presence might actually contribute to achieving shared outcomes. And how it might impede that achievement, as well.

So many of us have a Star Trek boy- or girlself who has been longing to be able to “see” and “feel” the semi-physical presence of others in our meetings. There’s no reason to deny it – it’s going to be totally cool!

And, if you haven’t already looked ahead to how having semi-physical presence possibilities is going to affect your communication and collaboration, I invite you this week to consider what you’re going to say and do when you step onto a “holodeck.” How are you imagining you’ll be able to contribute more to a virtual meeting than you can contribute now using FREE web conferencing tools that are already available?

Besides starting out with “Wow! Isn’t this cool? I can hardly believe this is happening…” how will you use telepresence to accelerate the achievement of your meeting objectives? And how will you work around the limitations that “quasi” physical presence may bring to the creation – and sustenance – of shared meaning that groups of human beings require if they’re going to get things done together?

I’d love to hear your thoughts here below or over at Amplify. Take your pick.

What else can you do in a virtual meeting room? How about Yoga?

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Standing in line at the market this morning, waiting to pay for my milk and muffins, I couldn’t help laughing out loud at the tabloid and magazine headlines promising fifty ways I could lose the body I’ve created with my choices over the last 6 weeks of holiday parties.

* 10 Best Weight-Loss Pills
* Strip Off 25 Lbs in Just 20 Days
* Drop 4 Dress Sizes Before Valentines!
* Revitalize Yourself for the New Year – in 1 Short Week
* 5 Exercises, 10 Minutes, 15 Days to Washboard Abs

You know this stuff! Maybe you still believe one of these will work…I don’t.

I’m old enough – and 2009 was tough enough – for me to skip pretending that one more quick recovery scheme will deliver anything but disappointment when it comes to my health. Or health care reform ;-(.

A Trustable Resource For Your 2010 Care-For-My-Health Plan
On the other hand, I am so excited about a live, online telehealth resource called EMindful that I want to open 2010 with the interview I did recently with the visionary founder and CEO of, Kelley McCabe, and her web class producer, David Lessak.

The interview runs about 35 minutes and it explores Kelley’s invention of Emindful and some of the ways she and David are using virtual meeting technologies to deliver a variety of telehealth services – including mindfulness training and live yoga classes.

(A MILLION THANKS! shout-out to my friend and partner-in-virtual-meeting-adventure-games, Tom Carroll, of, for his help recording this conversation with Kelly and David and helping me get it posted!)

Among the handful of high-quality telehealth resources offered at EMindful, the one that impresses me most is the live online yoga classes with Kirpalu-trained yoga instructors.

Here’s a little screencast that shows briefly what an Emindful yoga class looks like.

While you may never have considered using your computer to do yoga, having the opportunity to work with a live, online instructor offers many benefits – distinct from using VHS or DVD recordings of yoga routines. Just off the top of my head, here are five:

1. You can develop a relationship with a live instructor who varies your daily practice – instead of leaving you repeating the same few postures over and over on a tape.
2. Both before and after class, your live instructor is available to answer individual questions about specific challenges you’re facing in your practice.
3. You can practice anywhere you can get online, using a desktop or laptop computer.
4. If you can’t attend a live session, you can access the class archive at a later time in the day to do the class when it’s most convenient for you.
5. If you don’t live within walking distance of a high-quality yoga studio, you can walk-your-talk about lowering your carbon footprint by not driving all over town for a one-hour daily class.

Access and Convenience
Despite the phenomenal growth of yoga and other Eastern health practices across the US, substantial chunks of the population still lack access to well-trained instructors. Not just in rural areas. Access issues abound in traffic-jammed urban areas, too. Some groups that could benefit from Emindful’s yoga workshops and classes include:

1. People whose jobs require them to travel so much that they can’t attend local classes at regular times and build up a steady relationship with a knowledgeable teacher.
2. Mothers who are temporarily home-bound caring for young children.
3. Aging Baby Boomers – or other caregivers – who are providing care for seniors and can’t leave them unattended for long.
4. People with transportation issues that prevent them from getting to regular local classes.

If you’re in one of these groups – or you know people who are – and you’d like for yoga to play a bigger role in your 2010 Care-For-My-Health Plan, I hope you’ll check out Emindful this week and take Kelly and David up on one of their special offers.

Emindful is certainly stretching the limits (sic) of what can be accomplished with virtual meeting technology – and that’s exciting! I’m wishing Kelley and David great luck in 2010 will be keeping an eye out for new offerings from them in the fast-moving connected health and telehealth markets.

What else can people do in virtual meeting rooms? We’re only beginning to scratch the surface, aren’t we? What a decade this is going to be!

A Few Reasons Why Docs Might Want My Help Building Telepresence

Monday, October 26th, 2009

I promised the next thing I would share here would be the telehealth conversation I had with Kelly McCabe, former Citibank exec turned CEO of But I was in too big a hurry on my way out of Ashland and left the mp3 on my Mac at home. I’m on the road this week in Boston…

However…I just ran across two fascinating slide presentations.

The first is by Dr. Yannis Pappas of the Imperial College of London. The second is by George MacGinnis of the HNS in London. Despite the fact that the telehealth/telemedicine audience that’s starting to gather here on this blog might is mostly a US-centric group, I’m guessing you’ll still find both presentations quite useful. In many regards, we here in the US are way behind our European colleagues in the march towards simple, cheap and easy telemedicine solutions. My thanks to David Doherty of for sharing these shows at LinkedIn.

Dr Pappas’ presentation is full of solid data and elegant, simple ways to look at the multi-level challenges of transitioning from face-to-face patient care practices to virtual appointments. 

It’s true. The obstacles and challenges of moving appropriate types of healthcare online are difficult. But not impossible. Especially when you’ve got help from communication and management experts who understand both the vagaries and complexities of changing business processes and the subtleties of how human beings either build trust and respect when we communicate – or disrupt both terribly. Face-to-face and online.

I’m passionate about helping doctors and patients meet each other halfway between their computers and get more out of meeting that way than they’ll spend preparing themselves to do so from now on.

George McGinnis presentation below lays out an easily understandable visual map of how we need active, independent seniors with chronic health conditions and people being supported in assisted living facilities to connect more easily with families, caregivers, and healthcare providers using remote technologies. Again, thanks to David Doherty for sharing this show on his profile at LinkedIn.

As I’m fond of saying, this isn’t rocket science, folks. Patient groups, healthcare providers, tool makers and consolidators…It would be my great pleasure to help you move forward, regardless of what the government does or doesn’t get accomplished with regard to “healthcare reform.” Where would you like to start?

My fascinating conversation with Kelly McCabe coming next week…

Getting Ready to Launch A Series of Interviews With a Telemedicine/Telehealth Focus

Monday, October 12th, 2009

I really wish I had three bodies so I could finish all the things I’ve started lately. I don’t have three bodies. If I even had two bodies, I would send one of them to the E-Patient Connections Conference the third week of this month in Philadelphia.

Why? I’m getting more excited everyday at the innovative uses of virtual meeting tools unrolling daily in the telehealth and telemedicine arenas! The possibilities for patients and doctors to get together whenever and wherever and however works best for both parties are multiplying exponentially – with or without government healthcare reform!

I’ve been talking with innovators daily and canning some interviews you can expect to start enjoying here by the end of this week.

Until then, take a look at this vid and tell me if it doesn’t give you hope, too…

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.

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