The Virtual Meeting
There are many talented moms out there actively seeking to re-enter the paid workforce or gearing up to do so in the future. As experts in flexible staffing, Mom Corps team members are often asked about crucial skills for today’s workplace. In our new monthly blog series, Career Confidential, we’ll share smart strategies for career re-launchers.
If you have been out of the work force for more than a few years, you may be unfamiliar with the widespread use of virtual meetings. In recent years, companies have reduced travel budgets and/or increased the number of telecommuting employees, reducing the opportunities for teams to meet live. Virtual meeting technology, like web conferencing and video calling, has allowed employees to communicate and collaborate regardless of location.
Web Conferencing is a way for team members to simulate a live meeting in a conference room. A presenter is able to display his or her computer screen to a limited number of invited participants through each individual's computer screen. All participants can speak to one another and to the presenter, either through the computer’s audio capacities or a dial-in phone connection. So the presenter, for example, can show his audience a prepared PowerPoint slide show or demonstrate the use of an Excel spreadsheet for budgeting. GoToMeeting and WebEx are very popular applications for web conferencing and webinars.
A webinar is very much like a web conference, but it is usually less interactive with a larger audience, much like a live seminar. A webinar leader would speak or teach about a pre-published topic or subject matter. Audience members may be invited to ask questions through a chat option at the end of the presentation.
Video calling allows two or more people to communicate over the web using both voice and video images. With a computer, fast web connection and a web camera, you can see and hear the other caller with amazing clarity and video quality. Many companies use video calling for job interviews or remote employee performance reviews. Larger companies actually combine video with online meeting technology to create video web conferencing.
How can you familiarize yourself with these technologies in preparation for using them in a future work setting? We have 3 great ideas for practicing the art of the virtual meeting.
- Sign up for a webinar. Free webinar opportunities are offered daily on topics from gardening to finance. You can find a free webinar by doing a web search on a topic that interests you . Once you find a webinar registration page, you will be asked to provide basic information like your name and e-mail. The webinar sponsor will then send you instructions on how to participate. In many cases you will need to download free software (like GoToMeeting) to participate. This is a very simple process that only takes a few minutes.
(Editor’s note: Mom Corps is launching our own webinar series, 30 Minute Mentor, next month. Be sure to sign up for these informative sessions on managing career and family!)
- Master the nuances of a video call. Video calls and conferences are quite common now; you may even be required to use this technology for job interviews. All you need is a web camera (pretty standard on recent computer models) and a fast internet connection. Setting up a Skype account or using Apple’s FaceTime application is very easy. You can talk to anyone free of charge with amazing voice clarity and video quality provided they have the same software on their end. Spend time getting comfortable looking at the camera and speaking with authority. Consider any visual or audio “noise” to keep it professional. You can find some informative video call etiquette tips like these on the web.
- Create your own online meeting. Want to take it to the next level? Many web conferencing tools like AnyMeeting offer free web conferencing services. Once you’ve downloaded the software and read the tutorial, you can start your own online meetings. Find a friend that will help you test the technology and you can have a meeting about volunteer activities, your kids' calendars or menus for your next supper club.
Virtual meeting technology may seem daunting for those who have taken a break from the corporate environment. By spending a little time understanding how it all works, you’ll be more comfortable collaborating and communicating with prospective employers and future co-workers.
Mom Corps is excited to announce the launch of our 30 Minute Mentor Series on Thursday, June 9th with our guest presenter, Carol Fishman Cohen, co-founder of iRelaunch. The weekly series will feature expert presenters in a variety of topics including Career Re-Entry, Career Skill Development , Parenting and Lifestyle. Also slated to present on June 15, is Stacy Kim of Life Junctions, a life coaching practice focused on family-work conflict.
||The 30 Minute Mentor program, which is free to all participants, is designed to help those seeking flexible work options navigate the puzzle of work-life balance. Registration for the webinar series will begin June 1st and will be available from the Mom Corps website and Mom Corps candidate newsletter, Hot Jobs.
What topics would you like to see covered in the 30 Minute Mentor? Let us know by sharing your comments.
Donna Emhart from Mom Corps Philadelphia, received a surprise gift from her young daughter this past Mother's Day. We thought it completely captured what makes Mom Corps a special place to work.
We would love to know what our Mom Corps fans think about the perfect jobs for working parents. Is it a shorter work week, owning your own business, working from home or project-based work? Share your comments with us!
Name: Caroline Smith
City/State: St. Paul, MN
Family: Married with 7-month-old child
Education: MBA from Bethel University, in Human Resources, undergraduate degree from University of Minnesota
Tell us about your professional experience: I've worked in both human resources and the consumer packaged goods industry since 2003, with companies including Target, Costco, Meijer, K-mart, Sams Club, and CVS. I have experience in customer service, supply chain, sales/marketing, and analysis. Also have experience leading teams and working in HR.
Why did you seek out Mom Corps? I was looking for a part-time role as I had just had a baby. Michelle Kim with Mom Corps-Twin Cities told me about flexible opportunities available through their clients.
Tell us about the type of position you are currently working through Mom Corps: I am currently a contract, part-time sales analyst working on Target and Sam's Club, working about 8-10 hours a week.
How has having a flexible job through Mom Corps improved your overall work-life balance and your professional and/or family life? I am able to work from home most of the time, while providing valuable information to a company that values it's employees.
What is your go-to stress reliever? I love to work out, walk the dog, and spend time with family. This position allows for that.
So, how has this position affected you overall? I enjoy the flexibility of the job and it allows me to have a great work/life balance to be a great mom.