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Top 6 Blogs for Frequent Flyers

I am somewhat of a road warrior, where I am in my car a lot. Personally, I travel by airline a lot less for business now being in a startup with an eye on the budget. Technology is an equalizer here. Web applications, mobile apps and the internet on my smartphone and my iPad provide me with the business tools to get work done.  Frequent flyers for business have an equal need to remain productive when mobile.

In my own experience I found that life on a plane is not that difficult, rather, it’s the planning, scheduling and work in between that can get our of hand.  Here are a few notable resources for frequent flying business people to help become more efficient when not ‘wheel up’.

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The Middle Seat Terminal - @middleseat
The Wall St Journal’s frequent flyer blog provides industry news, booking strategies including this great guide to when it’s worth paying for flyer status.

The Points Guy@thepointsguy
All the latest miles and frequent flyer credit cards deals plus hotel and airline reviews to help you maximize the return from your frequent flyer miles, credit card points and hotel points.

UPGRD@upgrd
Two dozen travel bloggers review their experiences, top-tier travel amenities, and how to leverage your points to get the upgrade for cheaper.

FlyerTalk@flyertalk
The world’s most popular frequent flyer community provides blogs and forums to discuss the latest industry news and rewards programs

Road Warriorette @RoadWarriorette
Besides reviewing frequent flyer programs, this blog reviews luggage and other travel accessories, covers travel etiquette and questions about TSA security screenings from a woman’s perspective.

Frugal Travel Guy@frugaltravelguy
Rick Ingersoll, the Frugal Travel Guy, provides hints and tips on “seeing the world at prices you can afford” for both leisure and business. Which rewards credit card has no foreign transaction fee? How do you spend a week in Cape Town on rewards points alone? Read his blog to find out.

10 Tips for Hosting a Productive Conference Call

conference_call_We’ve all had dreadful conference calls. You know the kind – the ones that drag on forever without accomplishing much at all, the ones where you get static, echoes and the sound of someone eating their lunch, the ones that get dominated by one speaker. Now that joining conference calls and online meetings from your mobile phone is easier than ever before, here are 10 tips on making them more productive.

1. Share the agenda with all participants

Would you call a meeting if you didn’t have an agenda? No! Why waste the time? Send the agenda early on so the participants will have time to prepare before the call. You will get more done when everyone is prepared. Agendas will also keep participants focused and allow for easy transitions.

2. Start on time

Waiting for everyone irritates those who were on time and rewards the laggards. Instead, reward those who were on time by starting the call when it was scheduled.

3. Have everyone introduce themselves

As a way of easing into the discussion, have everyone say their name, role and location. Participants will feel more comfortable when they know whom they’re addressing.

4. Gently remind everyone to mute their phone when not speaking

Odds are someone will be dialing in via their mobile phone, on speakerphone, or both! Eliminate the sounds of static, echoes and background noise by having everyone mute their lines. Remind landline callers not to place the call on hold and remind everyone to unmute themselves before speaking. Become familiar with how to mute with your conference call setup.

5. Address everyone by their name and role or location

If participants are unfamiliar with each other, refer to everyone by their name and location, i.e. “How do you see this, Nancy in New York?” This way everyone knows who’s talking and gives perspective to their comments.

6. If the call is scheduled for over an hour plan for breaks

Participants will need time to freshen up – get some water or coffee, use the restroom. Scheduling these breaks avoids a disruption during an important discussion.

7. Keep notes on who is and isn’t contributing

Encourage everyone to contribute. Quiet participants may need some persuading.

8. Summarize and review actions

At the end of the meeting, summarize the findings and ask each participant to go over their action items. This will bring everyone to the same page and let everyone know what to expect from each other.

9. Share meeting notes with all participants

Make sure everyone receives a summary of the meeting including the list of attendees, what was discussed, a brief summary and action steps. This will help everyone reference the meeting and keep track of their action items.

10. Dial into your conference with MobileDay

Don’t get worked up before the meeting digging around your email looking for the dial-in info and then trying to dial all those codes! Let MobileDay dial you in with just one touch and make it simple to set up conference calls! MobileDay is a free conference calling app for iPhone and Android.  http://mobileday.com for more info.

Thanks for reading. Have you got more great conference call tips?  Please leave a comment and add to the discussion.

“Wow What An Amazing App For My iPhone! I Have Told My Team And Everyone I Come Across How Great It Is! Thanks MobileDay!!!”

Tammy N., Chicago, Il.

Title: Consultant

Company: Technology

Testimonial:”Wow what an amazing app for my iPhone! I run a consulting practice and have between 25-30 calls a week. A majority of those calls are made from client sites, my car or just trying to get from point A to point B. This application has changed my ability to be effective. I never thought my favorite app would be business related! My two favorite features are  the one touch “join” button and the reminders. It’s hard to remember some of the longer call entry sequences and when you dial from your phone while referencing the calendar details on the phone can be challenging. This application dials it for me!! I also love that the reminder pops up when it’s time to make the call not 15 min before. Sometimes I get distracted in those 15 min so the instant reminder is great. I have told my team and everyone I come across how great it is! Thanks MobileDay!!!”

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A ‘Squirrelly’ Mobile Conference Call

As a knowledge worker, you are likely to at least participate in conference calls, if not hosting them yourself. I have been doing audio conference calls in business for more that 15 years, watching the technology change and morph from scheduling calls with operators into its current form used today, which is primarily reservationless conferencing, that is, using unique combinations of toll-free numbers and pass codes and/or PINs to get into a particular call instead of using an operator.  Heck, these calls have even become free to organize and use. Simple right?  Well, the mad growth in the business use of the mobile smartphone,  and the giant wave of remote work and road work being done, has created a whole new dimension to this newer method of conferencing.  Mobile devices now account for over 25% of all the people dialing into conference calls  each day and that number is increasing.  As we transition to joining calls from our cool new mobile device, there are new nuances that make things more challenging.  Multitasking, network quality, battery life, pass codes and PINs, an app for this and app for that… it can be a challenge just to join a call.

 

Since going mobile, I have had my fair share of times where the call was a bust.  I was working from home and discovered that my dog left the screen door open while I was on a conference call.  (Yes, my dog can open doors, but cannot close them.)  A squirrel had entered the house while I was in my home office and proceeded to tear about trying to find solace from my dog, the nice canine gentlemen that let him into this fine establishment (aka my living room).  Dog chases squirrel, things get loud, I start to yell (profane) all while my mobile phone remained un-muted.  The kicker was that this call was with my whole staff.  I sounded (and acted) like a lunatic until it discovered the open screen and returned to the yard.  Needless to say, they will never forget.

 

What is your worst mobile conference call story?  Please comment below.

For the Business Executive, It’s Mobility We Need

by Brad Dupee

You can’t wait for a train, watch a major sporting event, or attend your child’s recital without seeing the image so common to us now: the soft glow of a mobile phone’s screen. The ubiquitous smartphone has made us go nuts for mobile apps. And, with over 900,000 apps in the Apple store and the list always growing, there are many cool ones to explore. But for the business professional, it’s about mobility, not mobile apps. We’re not in our living room playing games or “pinning” our favorite items. We’re running for a plane in Denver, trying to find a conference center in Chicago, or driving the infinite abyss of I-95 on the east coast during our business travel. So for us, it’s about movement  – what are the apps that will allow me to hit the road, and meet face to face with key contacts, without losing the ability to be as productive, if not more, as if I were in my office.

Seventy-five percent of the workforce is now mobile. And as an executive of a mobile app venture start-up, I am my target audience, and I’ve created my own list of essential road warrior apps that keep me moving, while enhancing my productivity.

  • TurboScan – I don’t know about you, but the paperless office never really happened in my line of work. This app turns my phone into a multipage scanner for documents, receipts, notes, whiteboards, and other text, to help me manage all that paper. (iPhone only; $1.99)
  • WiFi Finder – You may not need it in New York City, but drive an hour along the Hudson, and this app will be your best friend. It searches and scans for free WiFi hotspots, so you don’t get stuck in the proverbial boonies. (Android and iPhone; free)
  • FlightTrack – Flight details, delays, gate information, baggage claim, if only the signs at airports were this helpful. (Android and iPhone; free)
  • TripIt – This one’s a beauty. It takes all the email confirmations for hotels, flights, and rental car information, and spits out a personal itinerary. (Android and iPhone; free)
  • MobileDay – Yes, I work for the company, but conference calls suck, and this fixes that. If you are in subscriber PIN hell, burning in the flames of access codes, this is the way out. MobileDay provides one-touch access to any voice conference call in the country. (Android and iPhone; free)

What are the apps that keep you moving? I’d love to hear.

rudy-p

“This App is Awesome! It Has Worked Flawlessly Since the First Time That I Used It.”

Rudy P., Boulder, CO

Title: Regional Sales Manager

Company Type: Security Software

Testimonial:  “This App is awesome!  It has worked flawlessly since the first time that I used it.  Reliability aside, just the simplicity of not having to worry about punching in all the conference numbers is great, especially when I am traveling. You make it easy. Thanks MobileDay!”

virginia-m

“MobileDay… Is Extremely Easy To Use… An Awesome Product All Around.”

Virginia M. PhD, Colorado

 

Title: CEO

Company Type: Construction

Testimonial: “I’m typically on the road about half the workweek and I have several weekly audio conference calls with clients that can’t be missed. In the past, I had to either pull over to tap into those conference calls (wasting precious travel time) or attempt to dial in while driving (making me the scourge of other drivers). Not to mention that highway driving lulls me into a daze that makes it difficult to remember to call in at the right time. MobileDay installed in seconds, is extremely easy to use, allows me to dial in without taking my mind off the road, and it even reminds me to dial in at the right time. An awesome product all around!”