Building Projects in Business Contact Manager 2010

 Customer relationship management (CRM) systems have typically only been able to be used by large scale organizations that have difficulty managing when and what customers have been contacted because of their complexity and cost. CRM’s are often used to leverage sales and leads across numerous departments and locations. In today’s economy many small companies are looking at CRM systems to track marketing and communication campaigns with accounts and contacts in order to leverage every lead and possible sale. One, cost effective, CRM is Business Contact Manager 2010 (BCM) by Microsoft.  BCM is a free add-in for Outlook 2010 professional.

 This week, we created a short podcast which shows how projects work in BCM. This functionality allows you to track the resources, tasks, and time spent on a project. Projects could be client events, conferences, or requests for proposals. The options for using projects are almost limitless. In this podcast we look at how to create a project and then assign/link these projects to accounts while tracking key dates and overall progress. Trevor and I have begun to leverage this functionality for KIT and we have found the ability to monitor tasks, their due dates, and what is outstanding is a great tool not only to meet our deadlines but for building better relationships with our clients.

Thank you and please let us know if you have any comments of feedback. See you next week for another video podcast.

Keystone Interactive Training Team

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Default Font in Word 2010

With the release of Office 2010 Word came a surprising change the defaulted font in Word changed from Times New Roman 12 point font to Calibri 11 point font. For many people this simple change was the most amazing thing Microsoft could have done but for others the thought of changing organizational style guides to match this new strange font brought on hives.

In recent training sessions, at The Banff Centre, the question of changing this defaulted font came up time and time again. Well don’t worry, changing the default font back to Times New Roman, or whatever font you wish to use, is not that difficult and in this week’s podcast will walk you through the steps.

One thing that I would suggest in changing this default is to create a test document like I do in the podcast so you don’t mess up a document you’re currently working on while playing with this process.

Have fun and we look forward to seeing you next week for another video podcast.

New Toys

Our new sound recording equipment arrived this week and we’re super pumped.

But why is quality sound recording equipment so important for creating software training videos and why are we excited? Both Blair and I spend a lot of time recording and editing training videos and listening to our own voices. We ask users about our videos looking for feedback to increase the quality and in the beginning many viewers commented on the quality of the audio not the content of the videos. So having sweet recording equipment makes our voices sound really good and at the same time better audio makes better videos.

Think back to the last time you attended a classroom training session and the tone of the instructor’s voice either engaged you in the topic or made you sleepy and disinterested. Video narration has the same effect even on the learners even if most software training videos are less than four minutes in length. On top of the narrator’s voice, background sounds such as pops, vocal ticks, and mouse clicks will pull the learner away from the focus of the video and focus their attention on the background noises.

 Another issue occurs when you have multiple people creating videos with different equipment because this often causes issues when trying to create videos with consistent audio quality and volume. There are ways to correct these audio inconsistences during the editing process but this can take a lot of time and doesn’t always work. We already spend a majority of our editing time dealing with audio so if we can start with a cleaner sound, then we are much further ahead.

 If you’re  working on creating your own videos here are a few tips to create videos with quality video

 When we are creating a new video there are a few things to think about with regards to the audio:

  • What are the background noises? Computer, monitor, printer, mouse clicks, fridge, chair, co-workers, and in downtown Toronto… fire trucks. Work to eliminate these noises by finding quiet places to record
  • Where are you recording? Larger the room the more chance for echo and dilution of the narrator’s voice. Big room… bath tub sound
  • What recording device are you using? Headset devices are often better than desk microphones but even the most inexpensive podcasting equipment is the best and they don’t have to have to cost an arm and a leg to purchase
  • Watch what you say…well more importantly listen to what you say. Learn  your  vocal ticks and pops because some of these will be hard to mask and edit  so by learning them you can decrease them during the recording process.

 With our new equipment we are excited to begin working on our podcasting series. Keep your eyes open for these in the near future.