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At SW2007, Jerry Clarke, president of the Long Beach Computer Club, presented a workshop on Getting A Presentation When Others Can Not, featuring Skype, a free service that lets you make video calls to anyone else with Skype and a webcam and microphone.
Small businesses and many user groups have been at a disadvantage when it comes to getting and giving presentations. Whether to present at a user group is often predicated on anticipated monetary return.
In order to meet the needs of user groups in getting presenters, and for vendors to get an acceptable return, one solution is an online presentation via Webcasting.
Webcasting can be broken down into three major segments: canned presentations, interactive meetings and collaborative efforts. In an effort for user groups and presenters to reach each other, Jerry and LBCC club member Mike Whitlinger tested several collaborative services and felt that Skype would be a win-win proposition for both user groups and vendors. There are many other collaborative services but many of them cost money, and we all know that most user groups don’t have funds to pay for a presentation (Corel’s online presentations are free to user groups). Best of all, Skype is free for both vendor and user group.
Skype is a small program that is free to user groups and presenters alike. It can be configured as both a client and host to meet the needs of both. Once installed and configured, user groups can use it to view presentations, communicate with its members, make VOIP calls, chat, play games and much more. With two free add-ons, the presenter is able to make live, uninterrupted presentations where you can not only see the presentation, but also the presenter can see your members’ reaction to his presentation in a small window. Q&A after the presentation can easily be held to round out the online meeting.
You will find both user group and vendor guidelines at the conference website ( www.theswcc.org ). Just click on Workshops and then on the links in the Workshop Schedule under the “Getting that presentation….’ workshop.