Zoom, GoToMeeting, Skype, Webex, Google Hangouts, streaming, gallery view, speaker view, invite to meeting, ask to join, leave meeting, dial back in, can you hear me?, can you see me?, mute your mic, unmute your mic…

Social restrictions imposed by the novel COVID-19 virus have ushered in an equally novel lexicon that is on everyone’s lips, along with a few expletives cursing the challenges of technology. Even seniors are in on the action. Like “Google,” “Zoom” has become a verb.

Videoconferencing technology has allowed us to remain socially and professionally connected to one another, even as we keep our safe social distances. That’s a very good thing that is only going to become more prevalent as we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of our world today.

Video calls have also presented some unique issues of finesse and decorum.

While social calls (birthdays, happy hours, chats with grandma) are more casual, less formal and generally more forgiving of various gaffes in etiquette, all videoconferences come with some do’s and don’ts from which users can benefit:

  • Square away technology ahead of time. While technical snafus can – and do! – occur even under the best of circumstances, many of them can be eliminated by preparing ahead of a videoconference call. At least 30 minutes in advance of the call, especially if you’re the host, make sure you’ve shared/received the call link, number and/or password. Also ensure that your Internet connection is strong, your microphone and camera functions are working properly, and turn off any other apps that could drain bandwidth. Once the call has begun, mute yourself when you’re not speaking to eliminate feedback, echo effects, and background noise. People working or sheltering at home share space with dogs, lawnmowers, children, passing cars and any number of other interfering sounds. And for goodness’ sake, don’t type on the device you’re using for the call, as the internal noise will be loudly audible – and annoying – to all participants.
  • Assign a moderator. While this may be unnecessary for social calls, anyone who’s ever tried to participate in a call when it seems that either everyone or no one is talking knows that it’s helpful to have someone guide who will speak and when. Questions or comments can be made in the chat section at any time and addressed later in the call, and everyone will see them.
  • Don’t interrupt or talk over one another. In a video call, it’s not as easy to tell who’s going to speak or when they might be finished. It’s always important to be respectful and give everyone a chance to speak in equal measure, even more so on video when the advantage of body language isn’t there. Wait until someone has stopped talking for as long as it takes to spell out “WAIT” in your mind (Why Am I Talking?) before speaking. If someone else talks at the same time, stop and either wait for a later opportunity to speak, jot a comment, or politely cede the “right of way.”
  • Limit verbal space fillers. “Uh, um, mmm, well, like, ah, yes…” While these pause words may indicate that someone is either speaking or listening, they add little to the discussion, waste time, and may cause others to inject their own unnecessary comments: “Sorry, say again?, please repeat, what was that?…”
  • Optics are everything. Even though you may be working from home in your curlers and PJs, it’s important to dress for your video call like you would in a face-to-face professional meeting (at least from the waist up, unless you plan to stand up!). Whatever you’d wear to the office is how you should dress on a video call. If you’re not using the background blur function or one of the backdrops many video conferencing tools provide (tropical islands, landscapes, SpongeBob SquarePants), try to find a quiet, uncluttered area of your home in which to attend the call.
  • Behave as if you’re there in person. Be on time to the video call, ideally ahead of the host, and give it your full attention – even when you’re not speaking. Make eye contact with your fellow meeting members, and limit fidgeting or distracting movements. Don’t look at your phone, have side conversations with other call participants, chat with people in your house, chew gum, pick your teeth, slurp coffee, etc.

Seniors and Videoconferencing
Videoconferencing technology has been a saving grace for seniors, many of whom are isolated and apart from family and friends during the pandemic. While older people may be intimidated by technology or reluctant to try it, many are finding that it’s paving the way for greater connection and are willing to ride out the learning curve.

It’s important to be patient and understanding with older people learning videoconferencing technology. There are some very senior-friendly software and apps on the market; consider researching and installing them on their behalf. Sit with them as they’re learning, going slowly and methodically through the process. Write out step-by-step instructions with screen shots they can refer to later, and don’t use techy terms, no matter how intuitive they may seem to you. “Cloud,” “portal,” and “stream” mean something entirely different to people born years ago.

IVY Is Here for You
The IVY team is adapting to the ever-evolving “new normal” of social distancing, meeting virtually and conducting business remotely. But we know that, as many of our clients are considered essential employees, they cannot operate in the safety of their own residences. We recognize that they are frontline heroes who are inventing new ways to keep residents and staff safe, while also engaged and happy.

We thank and admire our clients, who are making a positive difference for seniors and their families, even amidst negative press and unscrupulous lawyers. Let us help share your good news of tireless care, compassion, creativity and celebration.

IVY MARKETING GROUP. COME GROW WITH US.

 

It’s addicting!  The fast-paced, ever changing world of public relations and marketing captures your interest and keeps you charged up to learn more everyday.  I love to find the best ways to tell our client’s stories and man, they have awesome stories!

It’s my job to discover our client’s goals and then match the best processes to achieve them, within their budgets, of course.  I get to explore traditional, digital and every manner of communication to determine which tactics, whether it is direct mail or TV advertising, a new website or PPC (to name just a few) will efficiently and effectively capture the attention of prospects. 

I also get to work with great people at IVY – they’re creative, fun, caring and super smart.  We’ve all been around the industry a while so there is not a novice among us.  Our clients are very cool too and totally passionate about the services they offer.  We’ve been working with most of them for years so we know they truly care about being innovative and responsible to the markets they service.  I have great admiration for all of them and look forward to every day. 

It’s true what “they” say, if you love what you do, you won’t work a day of your life!

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IVY was established in 1990 with a basic premise to offer professional, ethical and highly creative marketing, advertising and public relations services. We have successfully maintained our core values and have been part of many amazing projects, client growth and changes in the world of marketing that continue to happen at lightening speed. Most of our clients serve older adults in some capacity so we keep abreast of the opportunities and challenges they face.   Each day, we keep it real and fun and consistently deliver positive results to our clients and their markets.

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As a hybrid graphic and digital designer/web developer with over 17 years of experience, I am always on the lookout for innovative digital and print visual communications. IVY Marketing Group’s broad range of projects keeps my job challenging and rewarding, as each campaign is a new and exciting opportunity to effectively communicate our clients’ messages and help them achieve their goals. It’s my passion!

My body of work encompasses a diverse design style and wide base of clients, ranging from national associations, small businesses and big name brands like Hyatt and LiftMaster. I firmly believe that form follows function and highly value the communicative power of simplicity. 

Areas of professional expertise include Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Word Press, Responsive Design, CSS3, and HTML5. The industries I’ve served include senior living, health care, hospitality and finance.

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All my life, I have loved writing. As a child, I could often be found in my room “writing a book.” While “novelist” is not (yet) on my resume, I am a storyteller. I believe that everyone and everything has a great story, and it is my joy to find that story and share it with the world.

After earning my bachelor’s degree in journalism and completing my master’s studies in the same field, I joined a small advertising agency with powerhouse clients in the hospitality industry, such as Hyatt, Hilton International and Carnival Cruise Lines. I began as a proofreader and achieved the position of senior copy writer within a year.

After my first son was born, followed by two more, I started a freelance writing business that included (among several others) such clients as Advocate Health Care and Coldwell-Banker Realty. Clients in the education arena included DeVry University’s Becker CPA and Stalla CFA Reviews, DePaul University, and Naperville School District 203, for which I won two state public relations awards.

For nine years, I was employed as Communications Director for a large faith community, where I managed all aspects of internal and external communications. I was writer, editor, designer, web master, and content manager.

As such, I am experienced and comfortable writing multimedia for a broad variety of industries, products and services.

I joined IVY Marketing Group in 2013, when I began writing client press releases on a freelance basis. I loved the work—and my teammates—so much, I was thrilled when I was invited to come on board in a greater capacity.

I have immensely enjoyed getting to know our valued clients in the senior housing industry, the people they serve, and telling the many wonderful stories that come out of content marketing done right—with the love and care our IVY teams puts into everything we do.

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It all starts with one idea. Working with the Ivy creative team for over two decades has always meant taking one great idea and bringing it to life to help our clients meet their goals. We enjoy the challenges offered with every creative opportunity and try to make the design process itself enjoyable for our clients.

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Making certain that the projects IVY produces are word- and picture-perfect is my specialty. But I also love implementing marketing campaigns and programs that bring our clients success. Details are my thing, so it is a pleasure to have worked with IVY twice now, first after college four years ago and, recently, for the past two years.

The IVY Group is a terrific team of creative, positive and talented professionals that I love working with and, judging from the length of stay of our clients, I think they love our team, too!

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Rock-climbing, training for an 80-floor stair climb event, running a 5K…This is just a tiny peek into what people 20 and even 30 years older than I am, are doing on a fairly regular basis at some of the retirement communities that IVY represents.

I’m of the generation that still has reoccurring nightmares about what the next step looked like when my grandmother could no longer live by herself. The very best option at that time was living at a “facility” and  included eating rubbery chicken and playing an occasional game of BINGO. Period. That’s why my parent’s generation begged us not to ever put them into “one of those places.”

I am so proud that IVY’s clients are at the very forefront of an industry that creates opportunities, challenges, and most of all freedom for seniors, allowing them to explore hobbies, interests, passions…the next chapter of their very full lives.

I feel reassured for my own future. Even more, I feel honored to be able to share the impactful stories about this paradigm shift in the world of senior housing. What we hear and see at our clients’ communities is fascinating and inspiring!

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Keeping up to date on new public relations strategies, online engagement tactics, and promotional tools is my passion.

With my hospitality background in marketing top Chicago restaurants and hotels, I was eager to bring fresh concepts and communication strategies to our clients and have really enjoyed learning various industries.

Our clients have such exciting and unique events and programs, which really makes it motivating for me to make the most of their content.  Results like increased sales leads, website visits and social media connections make everyday rewarding and interesting.

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I oversee, plan and implement projects and processes at IVY.  Often,  I am the conduit between our writers and designers, with printers, and other vendors to fulfill the marketing needs for our clients. I also manage media buys and coordinate production of advertisements.

Working for a flexible and fluid company that is constantly growing, changing and evolving is fun and rewarding. There is always something new to learn.

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My bio has a big blank in the beginning—Mom and Dad rescued me in Wisconsin, and no one really knows my origins. They were probably ruff. What matters though is where I am now, running IVY Marketing Group. There are humans here who think they’re in charge. In truth, they do actually have amazing experience in content marketing and public relations, but I’m super important and the center of attention. I mean, look at this face. Right? And I know I’m the top dog because honestly, I’m the only one allowed to sleep through staff meetings and eat things that people drop on the floor.

The fact is though that I truly love staying awake at staff meetings. Everyone talks and laughs and they’re always excited. That surprises me a little because it’s not like anyone has thrown a ball to play fetch or anything. But I guess what gets my pack of peoples’ tails wagging is their work and their clients. I don’t know what a website or a blog is, but I do know that my pack must be good at them because they’ve earned all sorts of awards for these and other things. My bed had to be moved because the framed certificates were taking up so much room. Despite the inconvenience, I’m proud of these awards!

I serve several important purposes at IVY. I always let Mom (and the world) know when the mailman is here. When people come into the office, just one (usually) quick non-invasive (usually) sniff, allows me to determine important characteristics…like if they had anything good for breakfast, own any pets (pet owners are the best!) or if they stepped in anything on the way in. (It’s sort of like me conducting a first job interview.) I generously share my tummy because I know people like to give it a good scratch. I always give kisses, whether one is feeling lonely or not. And I’m always happy to share someone’s meal, especially if they’re trying to lose weight. My pack describes me as being engaging, amusing, and entertaining. (When I hear a siren, I “sing” along and it makes them laugh.) NPR talks about the benefits of having a pet at the workplace. Studies show pets lower stress hormones and improve morale and productivity. I wholeheartedly agree that a dog in the workplace is the best thing since rawhide bones.

As for my pack of people at IVY…they are amazing and always make my tail wag!

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I could not be more thrilled to work alongside the IVY team.

For over 25 years, I have been employed in top executive positions across the Chicago area and have consistently built profitable businesses, generated sales, and developed and launched new product lines.

Strategically positioning companies and commodities for growth is a strong suit I’m eager to bring to ResponderHub™, IVY’s new crisis communications solution. I’m also excited to help expand IVY’s reach in the senior marketing industry.

I believe people are more open than ever to thinking outside the box and looking at new ways to reach their customer base, while at the same time reducing their cost of sale. The senior industry is exploding, and IVY is perfectly positioned to respond to the need for innovative, quality content marketing services and effective crisis communications.

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