When “Star Trek” premiered in the U.S. in 1966, the cost of a three-minute international phone call was about $12, which, adjusted for inflation, is $92 today.
Even in the 1980’s, when I was in graduate school, calling overseas was anything but cheap. I remember being in a hotel in Luxembourg as part of a work assignment for a bookseller and wanting to call home. The telephone table in the room was equipped with something akin to a taxi meter. When my overseas call to the U.S. was connected, the meter started clicking and turning. As the contraption shook, pens danced off the edge of the table.
The charges were calculated not in currency but in some unknown message units that started at 10,000. Every few seconds, the counter in the vibrating table would turn in increments of 2,500. After about two minutes, I had spent over 30,000 of these units, and I quickly ended my call. My employer paid the bill. I never learned exactly how much I had spent, but my boss made it clear that I was not to make any more calls during that trip.
I still travel frequently for my speaking and consulting business, but I also take advantage of video conferencing. There are platforms for webinars, which I have used very successfully, but I also really enjoy “virtual meetings” courtesy of services such as Skype.
In fact, when I train dental teams to use the best verbal skills, I often “beam in” to offices across North America via Skype. When participants are able to see and hear each other, we come very close to the experience of being in the same room. I marvel at the technology that allows me to be (virtually) in Texas at 2:00 p.m. and California at 3:00 p.m., which does not cost a penny more than what all of us pay anyway for our Internet connections.
During these sessions we cover verbal skills and other issues that come up in practices every day. If you would like valuable team training with zero travel cost, contact me for more information and we will make it so: firstname.lastname@example.org.