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Skype and small business: What's new this week

In honor of Small Business Saturday a little more than a week ago, we thought we’d share a roundup of some of the things people are saying about Skype for business lately – plus a bonus gift idea, given that the holidays are approaching faster than we’d like to admit. Here are a few of the items that caught our eye:

Skype for business? Most definitely.

We loved seeing digital marketer Henry Richards’ post, “The Business Benefits of Skype,” detailing how Skype can help companies reduce costs (both telecom and travel), boost productivity and build relationships.

Henry writes: “While Skype has become incredibly valuable in its own right there’s a strong argument that its greatest impact has been the benefits other businesses have found in through using it.” Many thanks, Henry.

Connect face-to-face, even when you aren’t

In this article from Accounting Today, Jody Padar discusses how meeting with clients has evolved over time. Jody, a certified public accountant based in Arlington Heights, Ill., writes that online meetings via tools like Skype (her technology of choice) have become so prevalent that in-person meetings sometimes sneak up on her.

“The bottom line is that whether you communicate via video, phone, email, or in person…you ARE communicating. It’s that frequency of touches with clients, not so much how you connect with them,” she writes. We tend to agree.

Keynote on the other side of the world, via Skype

We were excited to see that Linda Reinstein, a Los Angeles-based activist focused on asbestos-related disease, delivered a keynote presentation via Skype in Perth, Australia last Wednesday. Great job, Linda!

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Linda is president and CEO of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), a group she co-founded in 2004 to reach out to those who have been affected by asbestos-related disease.

Videoconferencing: From novelty to necessity

Here’s another reminder that in years past videoconferencing was considered the exception rather than the rule – and of how quickly it’s become an accepted part of daily business. In an article in FCW, The Business of Federal Technology, writer John Moore notes that in the 1996 novel “Infinite Jest,” characters found videoconferencing “vexing,” to the point that some used 2-D cutouts to ease the anxiety of being on screen.

“Sixteen years later, video communication no longer inspires dread among people who have grown accustomed to Skype and other readily available services,” Moore writes. “Industry executives say people increasingly expect to have such tools available at work as well. … Even camera-shy employees might need to embrace videoconferencing now that agencies are exploring greater use of the technology as a cost-saving tool.”

If you’re on the list of camera-shy folks, boost your confidence with these tips from recruiter Maren Hogan in her article, “Camera Time: 5 Ways to Wow Skype Nation.”

And a bonus – give the gift of communication this season

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Not sure what to give clients, colleagues or employees this holiday? You can now give the gift that keeps on giving with Skype Gift Cards.

Did you know that a $10 Skype Gift Card can get you more than 400 minutes of calls to Russia, Germany, UK, China, Australia or 36 other countries? With the global nature of business today, that’s a sure way to put a smile on the face of a colleague.

Skype Gift Cards are available in the U.S. at retail locations including Microsoft Stores, Target and OfficeMax, as well as e-Gift Cards. You can also buy them in our Skype Shop, or on Facebook (US only). If your audience is international, send them to the shop. If it’s largely US, send them to the Facebook app.

Did you see an interesting use of Skype in small business this week? Share it in the comments, below.

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