The beauty of videoconferencing lies in its effectiveness. There is just nothing like being able to connect geographically dispersed individuals and enabling them to hear and respond to the same message at the same time. But how can you use videoconferencing to accomplish your meeting's specific goals? Here are a few possibilities.

New Product Announcements Automobile, pharmaceutical, and retail companies are just a few industries that regularly use videoconferencing to announce new products or services. Building instant awareness and gaining instant feedback regarding prospective buyers' likes and dislikes are key to the success of these events. For example, a live Internet webcast of Victoria's Secret's 1999 Fashion Show attracted 1.5 million viewers, making it one of the highest viewed webcasts to date.

Staff Training In the fast-paced high-tech world, training is essential to employee retention. Companies are faced with enormous training and travel budgets to keep up with the demand. Training delivered directly to the work facility via videoconferencing minimizes work slowdowns and increases morale since it allows more employees to attend. By combining interactive tools with videoconferencing, you can test retention levels and identify areas of improvement.

Investor Relations Companies are becoming more global, as are their shareholders. Allowing shareholders remote access to stockholder meetings and company updates is a courtesy that an increasing number of companies are embracing. Some companies are also offering daily video updates of their company's strategic plans.

Continuing Education The health care industry leads the pack in using videoconferencing to provide required continuing education. Videoconferencing of educational programs grants physicians remote access to key professionals within their health care segment while allowing them to take less time away from their practices. Last year, live cancer surgery was broadcast to hundreds of hospitals, demonstrating new and effective techniques to physicians. Videoconferencing might work equally well for training customers on new applications.

Seminars Paid-for seminars are in hot demand. Videoconferencing fills more seats and allows registrants to have a say about what type of seat they would like to fill (e.g., hotels, theaters, from their own PC, etc.). Experts hosting the seminars can deliver a fresh, enthusiastic message in one meeting to many locations.

Market Research Videoconferencing is used for focus group activities to solicit instant feedback on products and services across several demographics. Responses can be polled locally and combined within seconds across all viewing locations through keypad polling devices. Movie companies are using videoconferencing to assess viewer feedback on trailers being played in theaters. Their decision to use videoconferencing versus written questionnaires is supported by the fact that videoconferencing transmits facial expressions and body language, which are viewed as generally more honest and direct than simple written comments.

The possibilities are as wide as the reach of videoconferencing. The only limitations are the applications that we don't consider.