Top 5 Free Webinar Services For Speakers

One aspect of my speaking business for next year involves conducting monthly webinars on various topics. As part of my research for a solid and affordable webinar platform, I am listing below the top 5 services that made the best impression on me. webinars

AnyMeeting offers a full-featured web conferencing product designed and priced for small business, including a completely free ad-supported option. The setup is easy and creating an account was painless. If you need not to pay for your webinars and don’t mind your webinar participants being exposed to ads you have no control over, AnyMeeting might be the way to go for you.

FreeConferenceCall offers screen sharing with up to 25 attendees at no cost. It is more a conference calling service than a webinar service, but I tested their screen sharing feature and it worked really well. The neat thing is that your participants don’t need a computer to listen to you. You will have to rely less on visuals. However, for those participants with computer access, there is no software download. They can simply access your broadcast through their any modern browser.

BigMarker is the most solid solution I have experienced. It gives you up to 100 free participants and there are no ads. The only downside to BigMarker is that it only supports Chrome for now. However, they are working on supporting other browsers soon. BigMarker is the platform I will personally use.

MeetingBurner is a fast and simple online meeting platform that gives you 10 participants for free. MeetingBurner is the service which integrates best with Social Media sites. It has options to create Facebook webinar page, audio conferencing on phone and computer, automated email reminders, and more. The major con for MeetingBurner is that its free option does not allow you to record the webinar. Bummer! If you don’t care about recording or can setup alternative ways of recording video and audio output on your computer, MeetingBurner might be for you.

FreeScreenSharing is a service of the same company offering FreeConferenceCall.com. This is a webinar service that is 100% free and the best in terms of customization options. The only cons I found with this service is 1) the missing option to record the webinar and 2) having to install a executable before running the host program. Otherwise, this is the way to go for starters.

If you are looking for a more comprehensive list of Webinar or Call Conferencing solutions for small businesses, see the following link:

What other tools do you have experience with or would you like to recommend?

 

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Lessons From Losing the Area G4 Humorous Speech Contest

Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. Learning I did, after losing the Area G4 Humorous Speech Contest last Saturday 10/11 in Irvine, California. The contest is part of the Annual Humorous Speech Contest with Toastmasters International, and I was up against contestant from 3 other clubs. I did not completely lose (took runner up), but nobody remember who came second place. lionnel-at-contest-with-trophy

All we remember most of the time is who came first place, and even first place is soon forgotten, if he or she does not become the ultimate winner at the Toastmasters District or International level of the competition. Buzz Aldrin was the second man to set foot on the moon. You probably have never heard of him. Who is Lance Armstrong? … That’s right, the first human being to step on the planet moon. Need I say more?

There are three key lessons I took away from the speech contest experience:

  • Never Over-prepare For a Speech

I was very uncomfortable in the time leading to the speech because I am not know to have a lot of humor when I speak. Therefore, I exercised a lot of restrain in order for me not to prepare too much for the performance.

My friend and public speaking coach Quinn was more excited about me going there to win than I was. I knew my main stories, my punch lines, and my delivery turned out way better than ever before in front of other audiences. Next time you have an “important” speech to deliver, don’t over-prepare. Practice a few times in front of a live audience where the stakes are lower, that should be enough.

  • Have Familiar Faces in The Audience

Even though I have met and interacted with many people in my District, the group of about 40 people I was speaking in front of had only about 5 to 7 familiar faces. Two of them had already heard my speech. Having them in the audience provided me with a good emotional support. Yes, even champions need emotional support.

Whenever you have to speak to an unfamiliar group of people, arrange for at least one familiar face to be in the audience. That really helps.

  • When in Doubt Go With Your Guts

Because I was speaking at the contest as a representative of my club OC Toasters, I received a ton of feedback and suggestion for improvement. It felt overwhelming and I did not know what to leave and what to take out. It is difficult to incorporate everybody’s opinion about a speech to improve it.

When you don’t know what to leave out and what to take from feedback you receive, take nothing and go with your original message. That way regardless of how things turn out, you can be proud you followed your guts.

I failed at fasting for 7 days, but…

vegetable-based-food

What my food looked like from Wednesday to Sunday.

the experience was immensely rewarding. When a few weeks ago my sister told me she was in the process of fasting for 30 days and well beyond the first 10 days, I felt intrigued. When she went past the third week and was enthusiastically sharing the benefits and transformations she was experiencing, I though to myself: “If she could do it, I sure can do it too.” After all, it is just about deciding to pass on food, right? Nope! I tell you, it is more than just passing on food.

On Sunday 9/28, I decided to take the challenge: spend 7 days without eating anything. The only thing to pass through my mouth was to be water, cold or warm, with no added substance except lemon fruit juice. Monday was relatively easy, and I drank well over 1 Gallon of water. Tuesday afternoon, I gave up! I went to a the local Subway store close to my workplace and got myself a foot-long sandwich loaded with veggies.

What happened? My body was craving not necessarily food, but anything sweet. In the first place, underlying my decision to fast were three major reasons:

  1. Normalizing my weight (yes, I am officially overweight)
  2. Overcoming my sugar addiction (very few people are NOT addicted to sugar)
  3. Engaging in deeper and better meditation (which I am recently beginning to enjoy more and more)

I kept drinking lots of water throughout Tuesday, even after breaking my fast. Did I mention I also got a few cookies along with my Subway sandwich? I know, the sandwich on its own was bad enough. The cookies really signified that there was no hope for me to resume fasting on Wednesday as if nothing had happened, so I decided to go veggies (+ cookies) only for the rest of the week.

On Wednesday afternoon, after spending the day without eating anything, I went down to a Fresh & Easy store and bought myself a set of 4 different vegetables, vegan mayonnaise and vegan sausage. I ate only crazy mixtures of vegetables for the rest of the weekdays (including today), and I proudly passed on offers to eat food containing any animal products.

In addition to changing that about my food intake, I also exercised more than usual every day after Tuesday. My daily exercise routine is usually 2 to 3 miles walk in the park, but this week I included 25 minutes intense workout based on Shaun T’s revolutionary program: T25.

What did I get from this failed experiment?

  • Exercised more and enjoyed it. I plan on keeping the 25 minutes exercise routines part of my daily plans.
  • Suppressed my craving for soda drinks. I have not drank anything else than water since Monday, not even coffee.
  • Discovered a wide array of healthy eating options outside the traditional meat-based diet I was on. I will now stay away from any form of “animal” meat in my food intake.
  • Enjoyed meditating a bit better. It is easier to meditate on an empty stomach. Because then you have more control over the direction of your body’s energy. It is not caught up in servicing your digestive system.

In conclusion, I think I will make every Monday my food-free day. Next, work on overcoming my cookies (sugar?) addiction for good!

Have you ever failed at fasting? What did you learn?