Face Time?

Managing employees in Second Life.
2 min read

This story appears in the June 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Last November, IBM CEO Sam Palmisano stood on the steps of Beijing's Forbidden City and addressed 7,000 IBM employees as a virtual representation of himself. He then took questions from employees, who were represented by their own avatars. Think The Sims, only in a corporate setting.

Could this work for your growing business? A company with 40 employees can likely shell out at least $5,000 for a basic but permanent Second Life meeting space and possibly pay someone to create and maintain the space.

The ability of a virtual venue to keep employees' attention may well offset the cost. "It creates an interesting element of a meeting that you wouldn't have otherwise," says John Beck, president of The Attention Company, a consulting and executive training firm.

To get the most out of virtual meetings, analyze if employees are tech-savvy enough to plug into the concept and enjoy it. If you do go ahead with a meeting, your company can create avatars for less tech-savvy employees. You'll also have to set some ground rules, like how to make sure employees got the gist of the meeting (a follow-up summary e-mail is one way).

If avatars seem far-out, keep an eye on teleconferencing, as companies like Hewlett-Packard and Cisco create better products that put both sides in sync.

More from Entrepreneur

Grow Your Business at Entrepreneur LIVE! Join us on Nov. 16 in Brooklyn, NY, to learn from legends like Danica Patrick and Maria Sharapova, pitch our editors, meet with investors, and potentially walk away with funding!
Register here

One-on-one online sessions with our experts can help you start a business, grow your business, build your brand, fundraise and more.
Book Your Session

In as little as seven months, the Entrepreneur Authors program will turn your ideas and expertise into a professionally presented book.
Apply Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.