- More than 11,000 customers–ranging from independent consultants to large corporations–use WebEx online services to decrease the cost and increase the effectiveness of meetings, presentations, conferences, support, and training
- Input from WebEx has enriched the book with actual examples and case studies of how individuals, small businesses, and large corporations are making use of the WebEx services
About the Author
Nancy Stevenson has written over 50 books on computer, business, and Internet topics, including e-commerce and wireless technology. She holds a Certificate in Distance Learning Design from the University of Washington.
Read an Excerpt
WebEX Web Meetings For Dummies
By Nancy Stevenson
John Wiley & SonsISBN: 0-7645-7941-X
Chapter OneWhat's a WebEx?
In This Chapter
* What, exactly, is WebEx?
* Understanding the Web-based nature of WebEx
* Running through the various WebEx meeting applications
* Discovering how people use WebEx applications
* Taking a first look at what WebEx has to offer
We've come a long way from the first meeting, which probably occurred when a few cavemen sat around a fire discussing the pros and cons of hunting saber-toothed tigers. We've replaced their grunts with sophisticated language (sometimes several languages in a single meeting). We've found ways to visualize our ideas with whiteboards and bullet point presentations. Companies have utilized all sorts of technologies, from conference phones to video conferencing, in search of the perfect meeting.
Yet for most of us, there are still a few obstacles to effective meetings. Organizing a meeting can be a nightmare in itself, with a wide variety of schedules and locations to accommodate. The cost of getting to and from a meeting, both in terms of time and travel expenses, can be prohibitive. If a meeting is held on the phone or even online, concerns about security and reliability ("Hey, Johnson just got disconnected ... again!") abound.
Enter WebEx. WebEx offers a comprehensive suite of Web meeting applications designed to improve collaboration and increase your productivity. Simply put,WebEx has found solutions to many of the problems you face in setting up and hosting meetings. The solutions work for any meeting, from a handful of people holding a spontaneous problem-solving conference across the corporate campus, to a CEO delivering a report on corporate profits to 3,000 employees located around the world.
Look, Ma, No Software!
The first thing you need to understand about WebEx solutions is that there is no box to open. Customers simply access WebEx applications with a common Internet browser. WebEx offers a set of applications, and those applications are Web-based. That means you access your meeting online. So if you're on the road, you can tap into the meeting as easily as the nearest Internet connection. It also means that you don't have to do much of anything to set up and maintain your WebEx applications, and you don't have to fool around with hardware to deliver a presentation (which beats having to fool around with connecting your laptop and that darn overhead display thing like you did at the last Dallas sales conference, huh?).
It's Not Software ... So What Is It?
WebEx has developed a comprehensive suite of Web meeting applications because not all meetings are alike. It offers you a very flexible approach to purchasing one or more meeting applications that make sense for your business. WebEx's Web meeting applications are designed to fit a specific meeting need, such as running a medium-sized project meeting, launching a global marketing event for thousands of people, or holding a one-on-one customer support session. You can mix and match the applications you need, and add new ones at any time. You can even customize your meeting applications to, for example, sport your own company logo in every meeting.
You can take the plunge and get a whole slew of these applications by buying WebEx Enterprise Edition. This includes Meeting Center, Sales Center, Training Center, Event Center, and Support Center in a single, easy-to-deploy interface for the company with a broad range of meeting needs.
Taking a look at all WebEx has to offer
Using WebEx, you can expand the reach of everybody in your company, from Jack the CEO to Jill the sales manager, to tap the potential of real-time collaboration.
WebEx currently offers the following Web meeting applications (what you have available depends on what your company buys):
One thing you'll get used to as you get familiar with the service is that WebEx calls different meetings different things. You hold meetings in Meeting Center and Sales Center, run events in Event Center, and hold sessions in Training Center and Support Center. I may refer generically to meetings in some places in this book, but when I get into the meat of a particular application, you'll discover the appropriate lingo.
Do you have to buy a bunch of services to simply meet online? No. You can get your feet wet with the WebEx Pay-Per-Use service, which allows you to hold meetings as you need to and be charged one at a time. See Chapter 2 for more about Pay-Per-Use.
What do you get?
Each meeting application offers different features. But, on a broad level, here's what the various WebEx solutions provide:
What do you have to do?
Though you can add some bells and whistles, here's essentially what you need to make use of most WebEx meeting features:
A Plethora of Multimedia Communications Options
Great. So WebEx provides all these tools for online interaction and communication. But just what are people out there doing with the service?
Just about anything you can imagine, actually ...
Putting meetings in their proper places
WebEx began with a focus on online meetings, so meetings are a lot of what people use WebEx for. But meetings can mean different things to different people.
With the WebEx solution, you can
Presentations with an attitude
Meetings may get lots of people talking, but for those times when your meeting is more of a presentation, you'll be glad to hear that making presentations is easy with WebEx Meeting Center, Training Center, Sales Center, and Event Center.
With WebEx presentations, you can create multimedia-rich presentations with PowerPoint animation and transition features with high-speed streaming of multimedia. This simply means that you can fly slides in from the right or left, twirl bullet points around in space, and add neat special effects without painful glitches and delays on the user's computer. Figure 1-7 shows such a presentation in progress. (By the way, Chapter 6 provides some wonderful tips for building great online presentations.)
One of the great strengths of the WebEx experience is the ability to share things, from single documents to your whole desktop. This makes an online meeting truly interactive.
Here are a few ways that you can share in a meeting (but remember this will vary depending on which WebEx Center you are using):
See Chapter 7 for information about both shared browsing and shared applications.
I could describe a football game to you all day, but unless you've seen one, you don't really know what the experience is like. In the same way, now that you have an idea of what WebEx's suite of applications is and what you can do with it, it would probably help you to jump right in and play around with it.
WebEx offers an amazing array of ways to get into the WebEx experience and lay the groundwork for using the service. These guys practically hold your hand through the entire experience of learning about their services and setting up your first meeting.
Attending a demo
One of the best ways to experience WebEx is to go through its online demo (see Figure 1-8). Go to webex.com and click the Join the Live Demo link. You'll be greeted by a real live host who demonstrates just what a WebEx meeting is all about. Ask questions or just sit and watch - it's a low-stress, user-friendly process, and you can duck out whenever you need to.
Experiencing the free trial
Are you the type who thinks nothing worthwhile is free? Well, in this case, you're wrong. If you want more time one-on-one with WebEx, you can try the free, 14-day trial. You get unlimited online meetings for up to three people for two whole weeks.
You can also use various support and training features, as well as the Meeting Assist feature. Meeting Assist gives you the services of a WebEx support person for 20 minutes as you run your first online meeting. You can use this help during a live meeting, or, if you want to do a dry run instead, your WebEx helper will spend time one-on-one to get you up to speed on the WebEx meeting environment.
Just follow these steps to sign up for the free trial (did I mention that it's absolutely free?):
1. Go to webex.com and click the Take the Free Trial link. A sign-up form appears. You can also find a link here to sign up for the free trial of Support Center. 2. Enter your name and e-mail address and click the Register for Trial button. An additional form (see Figure 1-9) appears. 3. Enter information in the fields in the Tell Us About You and the Tell Us What's Important To You areas and click the Submit Registration button. A message appears explaining that an activation e-mail has been sent to you, directing you to the demo, and informing you that you also get one free Meeting Assist session to help you learn the ins and outs of running a WebEx meeting.
Reading this book is, of course, your best bet for discovering all about WebEx (she said modestly). But if you're documentation-happy, WebEx provides quite a bit of help on its own. When you sign up for the free trial, take advantage of the links on the confirmation page that appears. They include a Quick Start Guide, User Guide, and Guide to Successful WebEx Meetings. There's even a How Do I? link that takes you to free online tutorials about setting up and running meetings.
Excerpted from WebEX Web Meetings For Dummies by Nancy Stevenson Excerpted by permission.
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Table of Contents
Part I: Meet Me on the Web 5
Chapter 1: What’s a WebEx?
Chapter 2: The Ins and Outs of Meeting Online 19
Chapter 3: Getting Started with Meetings 35
Part II: Always Be Prepared 49
Chapter 4: Setting Up Your Very First Meeting 51
Chapter 5: Taking Advantage of Remote Computers 67
Chapter 6: Preparing for a Dynamic Marketing Event 75
Part III: Let the Meetings Begin 95
Chapter 7: Hosting a Meeting 97
Chapter 8: Attending Meetings 129
Part IV: Selling, Supporting, and Training with WebEx 145
Chapter 9: Closing More Deals Faster with Sales Center 147
Chapter 10: Delivering Virtual Support with Support Center 167
Chapter 11: Creating Virtual Classrooms with Training Center 185
Part V: Taking WebEx Further 219
Chapter 12: Making the Most of Reports 221
Chapter 13: Administering WebEx Made Easy 231
Part VI: The Part of Tens 251
Chapter 14: Ten Things WebEx Can Do for your Enterprise 253
Chapter 15: Top Nine Frequently Asked Questions from WebEx Tech Support 259
Chapter 16: Ten Ideas for Small Businesses to Maximize Success 265
Chapter 17: Ten Ways That Companies Get the Most Out of WebEx 271