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Helping College Students Find Jobs

Posted on January 24, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

It is no surprise to anyone that the high unemployment rate in the U.S. has made it very difficult for talented, experienced people to find jobs. What is not discussed as frequently is how difficult it is for college seniors, and recent college graduates to find jobs. According to a CNN article, the projection for 2010 is hiring of grads with any degree will decline by 2% compared to 2009. In this tough environment we have some good news and hope for college students and graduates.

There is a new resource designed to help both the college graduate and the employer. 1stGiG.com is the first career service of its kind specifically designed to connect college undergraduates and recent college graduates and the companies that value their skills. There are no jobs posted, but there are countless opportunities for internships and employment.

Here’s how it works:

  • A precision matching matrix identifies compatible profiles between young career-bound talent and potential employers
  • When the talent accepts the match, an introduction is made with the prospective company
  • Over time, both parties make multiple connections, establish a relationship and create “opportunity pools” based on their mutual interest
  • When the right opportunity arises, the parties are prepared to move forward in the hiring process – eliminating the time-consuming process that has been the status quo.

1stGiG.com sources, screens, and presents the graduate with internship and/or career opportunities that meet their specific interests and requirements. Between 70 and 80% of jobs are never advertised. 1stGiG.com expands the opportunity network to put the college graduate on the radar of companies and industries that typically wait for job seekers to come to them, not the other way around. It’s a richer, longer-term approach to career development designed to make the “first gig” a better experience for everyone involved.

1stGiG.com has partnered with Vonei to add a video interviewing service to their site, allowing employers and college graduates to quickly and easily conduct video interviews over the Internet from their computer. In today’s economic reality, employers don’t have the time and money to visit as many campuses as they would like. Video interviewing allows the employer to recruit from anywhere without travel. Video Interviewing service starts as low as $99/year, so it is an extremely cost effective method to link employers and college graduates.

Now is a perfect time to consider using these innovative services. Help graduates start their career and begin benefiting from what only 1stGiG.com offers the early career professional!

For more information about Vonei LLC see www.vonei.com. For an online demo of the video interview service email us at info@vonei.com or call us toll free on 888-698-6634.

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Since Time is Money, Let’s Shorten and Improve Meetings

Posted on October 25, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Meetings are often required to accomplish objectives and share information. Unfortunately every company I know has too many meetings lasting far longer than needed, and involve too many people. An employee’s time is expensive, perishable and non-replenishable. Wasted meeting time steals from the accomplishment of productive work, steals away time from family and friends, and steals from ourselves. If a meeting organizer is not careful a lot of valuable time can be wasted. Let’s convert time to money, examine the meeting cost, and provide tips on improving meetings to be more cost effective.

Recently a bank employee told me about his twice monthly face-to-face meetings downtown. Ten people are in the meetings, which last about 90 minutes. Seven of the ten people have to drive downtown to get to the meeting, averaging a 30 minute drive each way. Mileage and parking is reimbursed by the bank, and on average each person’s salary is $40/hour. Let’s determine the value of the time of these twice monthly meetings. Each meeting costs $600 in salary, $280 in travel time, and $266 in reimbursable mileage and parking. This is $1,146/meeting, or $2,292/month. Calculate the cost of all the team meetings within the bank each month and see how expensive meetings can be.

A good step in improving meetings is having a specific agenda and objective, assigning pre-meeting preparation tasks, and assigning action items and documenting decisions at the end. A 90 minute meeting should be shortened to 60 minutes, a 60 minute meeting shortened to 45 minutes, etc. Another improvement is to consider the participants in the meeting and only invite those that must attend. How often have you sat through a long meeting only to find that your participation was either not needed, or only needed for five minutes? Wouldn’t it be better if you were only brought in for your five minutes? Maybe the bank needs to have four people in their meetings instead of ten.

Eliminating or reducing travel will cut the cost of meetings. In the bank example, does each person really need to drive downtown twice a month? An audio conference call would save time and money. Each person could call in from their desk, resulting in no mileage or parking cost, and no lost productivity in driving. Unfortunately these calls don’t always help with saving meeting time. Everyone I know places audio conference calls on mute and multi-tasks, checks emails, etc. It becomes evident when a question is asked of a person on the audio call, and that person who wasn’t paying attention, asks for the question to be repeated. Audio conference calls are great for saving travel, but a lot of effort needs to be placed in making them time efficient and not drag on for hours.

At this point you may be thinking that face-to-face meetings have other benefits, such as helping a group of people feel like a team. Audio calls are just not as good as seeing the other people on the team. When you see the other people it serves to build a social connection, helps to establish better working relationships, and fosters a deeper sense of belonging to the group. Not to mention that when you see a person face-to-face it makes it obvious if someone is multitasking or not paying attention. These benefits are real, and it is the reason why the bank choses to hold face-to-face meetings instead of audio conference calls. However with the advent of desktop video conferencing services, businesses can conduct face-to-face meetings from the desktop without the travel.

Instead of an audio conference call for your meetings, try a video meeting. You will see the participants face-to-face, you will eliminate travel cost, and by seeing that everyone is paying attention you can keep meetings focused and short. After all, time is precious.

vonei web conferencing

Vonei LLC provides multi-user desktop video conferencing service. Free demos and trials of the service can be found at http://www.vonei.com

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Reduce business costs now with these 5 technologies

Posted on October 12, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Today’s economy is forcing businesses of all sizes to examine every cost element and find ways to work at a lower cost. Not only is it imperative in 2009, but most businesses are starting their 2010 planning and need to identify cost savings to put into their budget. Fortunately technology continues to provide productivity enhancing tools. Here are a few recommended areas that should be examined to reduce your costs and improve performance:

  1. Hold online video conferences instead of travel. Computer based video conferencing services like Vonei Meeting offer unlimited use for less than $40/month. A regional bank VP told me they have twice a month meetings, where 7 of the 10 employees will drive 30 minutes to attend in person. The 1 hour of round trip lost productivity across 7 employees more than pays for the service with the first use. Additional savings include gasoline, parking, and reduced carbon pollution by eliminating driving. How much could you save by avoiding travel for meetings?

  2. Use open source software instead of licensing Microsoft software. Many people are switching to Google Apps for similar capabilities for no cost. If you are worried about Google’s insights into your data and communication you can consider OpenOffice and Zimbra. Both are open sourced and you can run them from your own computers and secure the data.

  3. Check for business class Internet service from your cable company. It is typically much less expensive than T-1 based Internet service from a telephone company. If you need 10Mb+ of Internet capacity consider getting an Ethernet connection from a competitive carrier. Ethernet is one of the least expensive transport mechanisms and is very reliable.

  4. For group communications use group chat or instant messaging services. Some video conferencing service providers like Vonei offer group and private chat embedded in their tool for no extra cost. Campfire is a stand alone group chat tool which works well for a small monthly cost. Google and Yahoo instant messaging services are free and are great for one-to-one communication without a phone call. Whether you use the group chat in Vonei or the one-to-one instant messaging services your communication stays within the group. For quick external chat Twitter is a useful tool. You just have to make sure everyone you want to communicate with has an account and regularly checks it.

  5. Use free video recording tools to improve your communication and advertising. An excellent video email service is available for free from Eyejot. You can record videos from your webcam and email them to anyone in the world. Instead of text, recipients will see and hear your message. There are several screen recording tools available for free which allow you to record video of your computer screen. CamStudio and Screenr are two I would recommend checking out. With a webcam one can record anything right from their computer, post it on YouTube, and then embed it or share the link. Here is an example of a recent video I made from my webcam called Why You Should Video Call Your Customers and How To Do It:

The technology tools mentioned above provide cost savings and improvements in the speed and effectiveness of communications. Check them out and leave me your comments.

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Video Resumes – Who Needs Them?

Posted on October 7, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

There is a lot of hype about candidates creating video resumes so they can “show their personality and stand out”. I’m sorry to be a stick-in-the-mud but I don’t think video resumes are very useful for most people. Here’s why:

  • Unless you have the proper equipment and lighting, a homemade video is likely to be of poor quality. Not to mention that the video background may be less than desirable and your personal editing abilities may not be studio quality. You would hate for a poor technical exhibit to reflect negatively on your abilities as a candidate.

  • Most candidates are not great at providing a one to two minute elevator pitch needed for a video resume. A script needs to be developed and fine tuned, and the candidate will need a lot of practice time to both memorize the script and present themselves well. Who coaches the candidate through this process?

  • A candidate may give a poor impression on camera, yet be an excellent fit for a job. Let’s face it, many jobs don’t require the most charismatic presence in front of a camera. If a candidate is interviewing for a back office position do you really think their video presentation skills are a good indication of their performance on the job?

  • Unsolicited video resumes are also likely to be tossed out. Discrimination concerns, as well as the difficulty of picking out key experiences from watching a video, make it easy for the recruiter to simply discard them and focus on the written resume.

vonei web conferencing

You are probably wondering why Vonei, a leader in video communications, is downplaying the role of video resumes. Well we are not downplaying the usefulness of video in the recruiting process, just downplaying the usefulness of a video resume. Live video interviews are certainly a great improvement over phone call screening. As a recruiter you are not simply watching a video resume, but you are conducting a live interview with the added benefit of seeing the candidate without having to pay them to travel for an in-person interview. Live video interview services like Vonei Meeting provide unlimited usage each month for less than $40, making it very economical.

While recorded videos are not that useful for video resumes, they can be used effectively in other parts of the recruiting and on-boarding process. Recorded videos can be great for the hiring manager or recruiter to send the winning candidate a video message welcoming them to the team, or providing useful information about the job or company. These welcome video mails do not have to be professional quality, nor are they elevator pitches. Video emails used for this purpose are valuable, personal touches that improve the overall process.

Would you like a free demo of the Vonei Meeting service and a free trial account? Simply send an email to sales@vonei.com and ask for your demo today.

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Why You Should Video Call Your Customers and How To Do It

Posted on October 6, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Seeing your customers face-to-face is the best method to build relationships, sell your ideas and proposals, and negotiate deals. Unfortunately distance can make in-person meetings expensive, time consuming, and more infrequent than you would like. Video conferencing addressing these issues, but these systems can be expensive to purchase, expensive to rent ($150+/hr), and require the parties to be in physical rooms that have equipment. A great solution is making video calls right from your computer to get the face-to-face benefit without the travel.

Why see your customers face-to-face?

  • Up to 90% of the meaning transmitted in face-to-face communication is nonverbal.

  • Audio calls make it easy for your customers to put you on mute. With video you can see them.

  • Audio calls don’t show you if your customer is paying attention and you can’t see their reaction.

  • Video calls allow you to see your customer while going over proposals and documents.

  • Face-to-face video calls can provide a competitive advantage for you versus your competitors.

  • More face-to-face communication can improve your personal relationship with your customer.

  • You have to see ’em to sell ’em (click this link for a great blog on selling with video).

How to make video calls from your computer

A free method to make video calls from your computer is to use Instant Messaging systems or Skype. These are great for calling family members anywhere in the world. These services work well, and what’s not to like about free? Well, there are some limitations to the free services:

  • These services only work for 2-person video calls. You can’t add a third person with live video.

  • Each person must download and use the same software application.

  • Calls are not scheduled so you have to call or email your customer first to arrange a meeting.

  • There is no historical tracking of the video calls.

  • No support is provided. If you have webcam troubles there is no one to call.

These limitations may be acceptable for personal use. However for professional business use these limitations can be show stoppers. Imagine trying to close a sale with a customer on Google Talk, your customer having difficulties with their webcam, and you have no way of getting technical support.

vonei web conferencing

For a professional image there are computer based video conferencing services like Vonei Meeting that are built for business users. For less than $40/month you have an unlimited usage, business quality video calling experience. Vonei (http://www.vonei.com) resolves limitations of the free services:

  • There is no software to load. Users simply go through their browser to a website.

  • Multiple participants can attend. Perfect for those calls when you need to bring in a sales engineer or have multiple people from the customer’s office in the meeting.

  • Video conferences are scheduled in advance and invitations are sent to all participants.

  • A historical record is kept of all video meetings.

  • Document sharing is available in the meeting service; no need to refer to email attachments.

  • Technical support is available to help with any issue, and to provide demos.

Lastly one must have the equipment on your computer to have a video call; a webcam and a headset. While this equipment is plug-n-play, there can still be questions on how to use it and how to get it to work with the video service. This is where the support provided by the paid service companies such as Vonei provides great value.

Would you like a free demo of Vonei Meeting? Send an email to sales@vonei.com and request your demo and free trial account today.

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Hurricane Disrupting Communications? Online Video Conferencing Can Help.

Posted on September 19, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

10 years ago this week Hurricane Floyd impacted the east coast of the United States. Businesses were impacted from eastern Carolinas, northeast to New Jersey, and adjacent areas along the east coast into Maine. In North Carolina alone 15-20 inches of rain fell across the eastern half of the state causing many rivers to set new flood records. Entire communities were underwater for days, and even weeks. The infrastructure of the eastern counties such as roads, bridges, and water plants were heavily damaged.

small.floyd.ir

If you own a business, how do you function when an office is inaccessible? Most disaster recovery plans suggest having alternative locations from which to work. Online video conferencing services from companies such as Vonei allow people to work from any location with broadband Internet. A computer with a webcam, speakers, and microphone can serve as an office-in-a-box, allowing employees to work from remote areas.

If you haven’t tried an online video conferencing service such as Vonei Meeting, now is a great time to get familiar with the tools. While you can sign up for service after disaster strikes, it sure makes sense to be prepared and have a service already in place and employees trained with how it works. Vonei offers 14 Day Free Trials of their 5-person Vonei Meeting service. Sign up today at http://www.vonei.com.

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Why don’t businesses use webcams for video conferencing and video mail?

Posted on September 17, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

Consumers have quickly adopted webcams on home computers for video communications. This is evidenced by the rapid growth in Skype, YouTube videos, Vonei Meeting, and video chat programs. In the business world it seems natural that the proven tool of video conferencing would migrate from the expensive room based systems to computer webcam based video conferencing service. The power of sending video emails, instead of text emails, also appears to be a prime tool for businesses to communicate on a more personal level. So why have businesses been slow to migrate to these webcam based services?

The first barrier is of course having a webcam. It seems that 90% of new laptop computers have built-in webcams, and 100% of the netbooks have built-in webcams. For older laptops and desktops one can purchase external webcams for less than $50. There is a migration to wider video camera availability in the workplace, but without a conscious effort to use video many business people stick to text and audio phone calls.

The second barrier is some people want to “hide” behind the technology. It does make one pay attention when the other person can see you, and you have to make sure you are dressed appropriately. No more multi-tasking when the others can see you; it keeps you on your toes. If you are the boss this is something you should like. If you are an attendee and like to mulitask then the live video conferencing service on the computer may be undesirable.

A third barrier is incurring the cost of the service. Video conferencing with webcams is a widely available service that costs less than $50/month. The first in-person meeting that is canceled and held online instead will pay for the cost of the webcams and service. However some businesses are so focused on the small outlay for the service and webcams that they forget the cost savings. Or sometimes employees simply like traveling, and don’t want to replace it with online meetings.

A fourth barrier is simply that the technology is new, and unless there is wide spread use many people will shy away from new tools. Some of the video mail services are free, and yet they struggle to gain users. Why? One needs to have a webcam to record the video that is to be mailed. Without the webcam the free service cannot be used.

Are webcams the solution for increased business usage of video conferencing and video mail? Well I wouldn’t say the solution, but I would say they are enablers. With a webcam one can take advantage of video communications, and without it one is stuck with text and audio only.

Does anyone have a success story of deploying webcams in the business environment? We’d love to hear from you!

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Happy 40th Birthday Internet

Posted on September 2, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Vonei would like to wish the Internet a happy 40th birthday today. Back on 9/2/69 two computers connected with a 15 foot cable passed test data in a lab at the University of California, Los Angeles. UCLA professor Len Kleinrock and graduate students Vinton Cerf and Stephen Crocker conducted the initial tests.

About a month later the Stanford Research Institute joined ARPANET, followed by US Santa Barbara and the University of Utah. The Internet was born. Of course no one knew back then the applications that would be developed, and the extent that people would be using Internet services such as Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and online video conferencing services like Vonei Meeting.

Today people email, IM, exchange documents, conduct audio calls, and conduct video calls online. With broadband Internet access widely deployed people worldwide have access to more information and faster communication with others. And it all started 40 years ago today.

Happy Birthday Internet!

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Use Video Mail and Video Conferencing to Improve Your Communication

Posted on August 31, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Email has long been a communication tool of choice for businesses and consumers. The person does not have to be online when you send it; they can retrieve it later at a convenient time. You have to be careful in your wording so people do not misinterpret your meaning. We are all familiar with the rule of NOT TYPING IN ALL CAPS AS IT LOOKS LIKE SHOUTING. But even using normal letter writing rules it often is difficult to convey emotion and expression. For example if I write “That is really great.”, how do you react? Am I being sarcastic? Am I being sincere?

The inability to detect emotion and expression is even higher with text messaging and networks like Twitter. Don’t get me wrong, these are great communication tools. Really. But in 140 characters or less it is even more difficult to convey how you feel when you type a message. Audio calls are a step forward, as you can hear inflection in a persons’ voice. However most people on audio conference calls place it on mute and multi-task. So what are they really thinking?

To me there is nothing better than being able to communicate face-to-face and have the other party see your facial expressions, see you smile or frown, laugh, or any other reaction. You are more likely to get your meaning across when you can be seen. The best scenario is to be right in front of the other person live. A second option is conducting a live video conference call with the other parties. A third option is to use recorded video such as video mail. TV news shows use recorded video frequently, using videos taken earlier in the day or on a previous day.

In-person meetings are great, but they can be costly if travel is involved, both from the travel cost as well as lost productivity. Live video conferencing service is a great low-cost method of obtaining a face-to-face experience. Desktop conferencing services like Vonei Meeting fill the need for being able to hold multi-person video conference calls from your computer anywhere with broadband Internet. But how about the 3rd option? Well, one can record a video on their webcam, and attach the video file to their email. But have you seen the file size? Some formats could consume 8Mb for a 1 minute recording. This would not please your IT department, and may cause you to exceed the storage space allotment you have for email. You could post the video on YouTube, and then put a link in your email to it. This would keep the email from being large, but doesn’t exactly give you a professional image for a business email. Also, how many people really click on hyperlinks? Did you click on any of the links on this Blog?

A solution for recorded video communication would be an embedded video clip within the email. The embedded clip would have a still frame of the sender with the right triangle Play button on it. I believe you are more likely to get a click on the Play button if the recipient can see your face in the square. Storage of the video files is done outside of email in storage servers. Clicking the Play button within the email downloads the video right to the recipient. This provides all the benefits of an embedded video clip without the file size difficulties of attachments, or a nonprofessional technique of sending your recipients to YouTube.

Video mail sounds exciting right? However I don’t see it being used. I plan to include video mails in future updates on this Blog instead of all text. How do you feel about using video in emails? Would you like to see and hear the other person as opposed to just reading text?

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Why don’t Computers have Echo Cancellation?

Posted on August 18, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

Have you ever been on a web conference or a video call and were frustrated that the audio experience was not the best? To be quite honest computers don’t exactly provide the greatest speakerphone performance. It can sometimes sound thin on the computer speakers, and mics might be too sensitive or not sensitive enough. Sometimes when the volume is turned up you can hear yourself some back through your speakers a couple seconds after saying something. How annoying.

What is the solution to this? Until computers and webcam manufacturers do a good job putting acoustic echo cancellation into the hardware you are left with the following options:

  1. Adjust your settings. Adjust your speaker volume and mic sensitivity to obtain the best results that you can. This approach is free, but may still leave you with a “computer-audio” sound.

  2. Wear headsets. I’ve found this to dramatically improve sound on video conference calls. You can wear a wired combination headset/mic, a bluetooth headset/mic, or simply plug in your iPod headphones and use the computer mic. Each of these techniques greatly improves the audio quality and the equipment cost is low.

  3. If you want a true speakerphone experience do what companies do in their conference rooms – buy an external speakerphone There are several USB speakerphones on the market that plug into your computer. They claim to support echo cancellation but I’ve seen mixed reviews when I’ve checked on Amazon. Prices range to over $100/unit.

  4. Use an external audio conferencing bridge for your web conference. It seems this solution is widely used for WebEx and GoToMeeting sessions as they mention it on their web sites. For a large group of 10+ people this may give you the best, telephone type audio experience. Unfortunately this could involve a per-minute usage charge and potential toll free charges.

Someday computer manufacturers may provide acoustic echo cancellation. Until then we have several options for improving audio quality on web conferences. I use a headset whenever I use Vonei Meeting for video conferencing. Which solution works best for you?

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