I had the opportunity as Skype’s Blogger Ambassador for the BlogHer Entrepreneurs conference to interview Alison Coward of Bracket Creative to discuss Skype in the workspace, and how her company is using Skype to really move their business forward in this fast paced world. Of course we met over a Skype Video Call. One reason being that she is in the UK, and I am in Utah, and for some reason Skype didn’t want to fly me all the way to the UK to meet with her. Shocking, I know. I figured she would have a wonderful accent and she did not disappoint. I really could have listened to her talk all day long. First I asked her about how her company was using Skype to do business every day. She showed me the little room that she was using for our meeting. It was a small box of a room with solid colored walls. She pointed out that the room was specifically for people in her company to use Skype. The walls were soundproof, there was good lighting, and there were connections in there for each person in the company to bring their own laptop into the room and use Skype. She said having the room there made it so much easier to use Skype in the office. I totally agree! I have a large white poster board that I get out when I need to create videos or use Skype, but under normal circumstances there is a very loud wall full of music memorabilia in my office right behind me. When I want to use Skype for a more formal meeting, I need to “prep the area” first, which can sometimes take quite a while to set up. Next we discussed how they are using Skype in the workspace to discover new talent and clients. Through Skype in the workspace, you can advertise what type of talents and skills you have, or the talents and skills you are looking for. Through the site you can connect with those individuals who match, and then use Skype to further the conversation and find out if the perfect opportunity is out there for you, or find the right company to help take your business to the next level. She mentioned that when she does find someone that she would like to connect with more, they use Skype for some of those initial meetings. It’s much more time efficient to have that face to face time over a Skype Video Call, then it is to get in the car, drive to a location that may or may not be conveniently located for either party, possibly pay to park, pay for a meal if you are meeting at a restaurant, etc etc etc. If your meeting doesn’t go well, and you don’t feel like it’s a good fit, that is definitely a lot of wasted time and money. On the other hand using Skype can get that awkward first introduction out of the way, but in a more personal way than a phone call or an email. Meeting someone “face to face” even if it isn’t in person can give you such a better insight into how you would work together. After that initial meeting, I was curious how they were also using Skype to do their daily projects. She mentioned that many projects she works on have scheduled meetings over Skype. This allows all of the members of the team for a particular project to be on the same page in an easier format than trying to coordinate everything over email. One important thing about these meetings, she said, is that you need to have a moderator to lead the meeting/discussion. This is usually her role in the meetings. A clear meeting agenda is just as important to have during these meetings as it is when meeting in person. Also the moderator or leader of the discussion for the meetings also needs to know how to make sure no one is dominating the conversation that shouldn’t be, and that everyone’s input is heard. She has been helping people understand this moderator role over on Skype in the workspace by offering coaching sessions in the Skype in the Workspace Coaching area. Anyone can find the perfect person to mentor them through setting up a collaborations through Skype, or even stress management techniques! The possibilities are endless as to the type of people you can get matched with and develop business relationships with via Skype. It’s great to see a business really thrive using the technology that is available to them. Since she works with a lot of various consultants for the different projects, most of the time every person on the project isn’t in the same location at the same time. In this new mobile world, that is probably the case for a great deal of companies. Skype really has helped her company bridge this gap successfully. She was SO much fun to talk to, and I think everyone should have British Accents. Although, I guess that wouldn’t make it stand out as much, nevertheless I hope great things for her and her company in the future!
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