Training via Webinar and 3 Things I Learned

On Friday the 30th I gave a training session via webinar to 27 business owners and learned a lot. The training was about Online Reputation Management. Another business owner and myself created the training early this year and presented it in Las Vegas in May to members of a national network - with great success and kudos given from attendees. 
Last month I received an email from the national network, asking if I could provide this same presentation/training via the internet and telephone. Of course I said Yes! Who am I to turn down the opportunity to teach, train and present? Three things I really enjoy about being a business owner.

So, I reviewed the powerpoint file from May and realized how much the internet has changed in these short few months. New statistics are available, new sites have been launched and flocked to, social media is exploding with Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn. It is truly an amazing thing to watch because I know that there currently are no limits to what the internet can become.

The powerpoint file needed to be updated, and because the other business owner's name was on it I considered re-doing the entire training module. But after some thought I realized that it was effective in Las Vegas, so why mess with a good thing? I updated statistics, tweaked a few words here and there, and went with it.

During my introduction I made sure to credit the other business owner, mentioning that they are no longer focused on online/internet marketing, but that their expertise in Online Reputation Management was certainly evident in this presentation and that their contribution was invaluable.

The training lasted about 40 minutes and there were many questions afterward - all of which I was able to answer (yay!). Hey, sometimes there's a question that throws me and requires investigation - and yes, I know that "I don't know" is an answer, but I prefer being able to provide something more concrete if possible.

Some things I learned during the training:

  1. I really appreciate having face to face contact with my audience. Because I couldn't see their faces I found myself 'assuming' their reactions as I talked and pointed out things on each slide. It felt awkward because I couldn't respond to a reaction, a noise, a facial expression.
  2. My lower jaw locks up when I get anxious. This was an interesting development and something new. Even in Toastmasters I've not had this happen. But it did on the phone, and it did when I did an interview online via webcam. I felt the locking start about 3 minutes before the training was to begin, and to combat it I stretched my mouth as wide as possible ... repeatedly. This worked initially, but after about 15 minutes I could hear the change in my speak as my lower jaw got tighter and tighter.  I'll be looking for an answer to this in days to come.
  3. Although a webinar training module is supposed to be trainer talk, attendees listen - I like having interaction throughout a training session. I did not like having to answer questions at the end about items that were covered in the beginning. Hmm. The only answer I have for this is to layout the slides in a grid on the screen so everyone can see what the questioner is referring to. I'll have to look into how to do this the next time.
Overall I think I did well. I've not received emails or telephone calls about my performance, but I did speak with the moderator and she told me that she received emails from some attendees that gave good feedback and kudos for my performance. I hope evaluations are sent in because it's the only way I know that I can improve. Constructive criticism is vital to a presenter - it's the only way we can rid ourselves of annoying, distracting and ineffective ways of communicating.


Outlook Error Message: 0x80042109

I know you're asking - what the heck is that? Well, that is the error message I get when I try to send an email using Outlook and my business email address/server.

***Edited to add this solution***

This solution was not provided by a Verizon employee/technician, but by a fellow user on a forum. It appears to work, for now. I say this because there are other messages in the forum that say various solutions were temporary.  Anyway...try this:

  • Outlook 2007 Tools
  • Account Settings
  • Highlight email account to change
  • Select change
  • Change SMTP to read: outgoing.verizon.net
  • Select More Settings
  • Select Outgoing Server
  • Highlight 'Long on using' Radio button
  • Enter your Verizon user name and password
  • Select Ok
  • Test Account Settings - a test email is sent and you will either receive an error message or a notice saying it was completed and your email is now set up.
  • Select Next
  • Select Finish

Today is Thurday, October 29. This started Tuesday, October 27. Until then, I had been sending and receiving emails, doing business, using Outlook as my centralized organization system. Then, boom. I see that emails are stuck in the Outbox. I'm receiving just fine - but can't reply to an email, send to a distribution list, nothing.

I spoke with Verizon via their chat option. Using my desktop I was able to chat with the technician while she looked at my settings in Outlook on my laptop.  All settings were good, but she couldn't get it to work. We changed my outgoing SMTP to outgoing.verizon.net and it was not good! Changed the ports from 25 to 587 and it was no good! She then told me that Verizon does not support Outlook, that I would have to contact their Verizon DSL technical support, a pay for service. I don't think so!

I spoke with my hosting company. What a fabulous group of people they are - responsive, courteous, helpful. But everything on their end was good...so that meant it was either Outlook itself or Verizon.

I reloaded Outlook using my original installation disc. Problem still there!

I checked out Verizon's customer forums and found a litany of messages from irate customers who cannot send email using their 3rd party addresses.  That means no business can send an email while using VerizonDSL as their ISP! Holy crap!

Verizon support, locally, is fabulous. And their front line people are quite good. Just don't ask for assistance for anything more difficult than the basics of setting up a phone account.

VerizonDSL support is handled by technically adept people who don't speak English very well. I have encountered a few different accents, but haven't truly been able to communicate with anyone well enough to make them understand that this is a VerizonDSL issue - not my Outlook!

I wish I had a choice. VerizonDSL is the only high speed internet provider in my area. Heck, they came here in June of 2008 - so before that I was using dial-up and an unstable wireless system provided by my local town.

So, now here I sit. I can use my web-based program to send emails out - but can't use my contact list, address book, reply to existing emails, etc. I've just increased my work load and am not happy about it.

My hope is that there are others in this predicament willing to Twitter, Facebook, etc. about this issue and shame VerizonDSL (a company all about communication) into looking at their own system as the problem!

If you use Twitter, use hashtag #verizondsl so a stream can be followed.

*Sigh* okay, back to work - because I do have projects that need tending to, and as irritating and annoying as this issue is, I must take care of my clients.


Books are as necessary as food in the pantry

Don't believe me? Here is my dream room:

My husband stopped breathing when I showed this to him, almost panicked actually. I'm not kidding though. If we had the money and built a home it would have a library that was so filled with books that the only needed accessories would be two chairs and a lamp to read by.

Earlier this year I cleaned out my home library. And I do mean cleaned out. I donated many, many, many books to the local library and their donation spot didn't have room for them all!

I cried buckets. Books have been a part of my life - always. I felt like I was giving away old friends. I know, pitiful.

But it was necessary. I had accumulated so many books that there was a path made between the stacks so that I could reach my desk. It was bad.

So, Rick put his foot down (and rightfully so) saying that he wanted to remodel this room to make it a good office space for me to work in - but I had to clean out every book and piece of paper before he could do this.

That's how I happened to be on my knees, in the room, crying buckets and putting book, after book, after book into large plastic bags and copy paper boxes.

*Sigh* An experience I hope to not repeat.

Today the room is beautiful and spacious and not overloaded with books. Rick got a storage unit with doors for me to use for all my business books and files, keeping the floor free from the stacks. Of course, I just looked down and realized that I had put an entire stack of files on the floor earlier this week and they're still there - NO! I will not let them stay! I will put on my Today List the need to clean the stack.

Hmm...looking around, I think I'll also put on the Today List that I will organize my desk again.

And so it goes. Another day of realizing that I will never be neat, clean and utterly organized for more than a few days. Another day of realizing that this is how I work and as long as I go into action right after the realization I can prevent overload from happening.