Many attorneys, accountants, and other professionals rely on public speaking at seminars and\or webinars as a core tactic for marketing their practice. Slideshare has long been a great tool to share the handouts from your presentation with attendees as well as others who could not attend the live event. Slideshare also provides some nice tools for sharing your presentations with your social network.

Last week, SlideShare announced ZipCast, their new service for online meetings and webinars. With ZipCast, you can jump into a web meeting any time you are near a computer.

If you have a SlideShare account, you already have a personalized meeting room at http://www.slideshare.net/USERNAME/meeting. Zipcast is free for holding public meetings. Of course, this means other people you don’t know can join the meeting. While this may seem disturbing at first, I really don’t think this is harmful and could be a benefit in many situations. You just want to be aware of this so you don’t broadcast information you thought was private.

If you prefer to have private, password-protected meetings accessible you will want to upgrade to a Pro account. Pro account users also get some extras like ad removal and audio conferencing. You can see the different Pro Plans here.

The visual part of your meeting consists of the slides you are sharing via Slideshare. You can see the video (and hear audio) of the presenter who is also driving the slides. Everyone can chat. Audio and video are delivered via flash so the whole experience is browser based (no software to download or install).

Zipcasts gets aggregated into an activitiy feed here so you can keep an eye out for interesting upcoming Zipcasts.

Zipcast has a couple of integrations with Facebook. When you start a Zipcast, you immediately get a dialog box to invite your Facebook friends to the meeting. zipcast_invite

Once you are in the meeting, you can chat with participants and also post to your Facebook account. When you click on the big orange invite button

zipcast2

You see this dialog box

zipcast3

where you can invite people via Facebook, Twitter, or by sending a URL through email, IM, etc.

Finally, here is a screenshot of a presentation (free version, notice the ad at the bottom) with slides and video showing.

zipcastfull

Zipcast is still in beta, so functionality may change. I did have a few issues with the flash plug-in locking up when I was testing with the Chrome browser but when I switched to FireFox, everything worked just fine.

Zipcast looks like a very promising service and will continue to evaluate it to determine if we will include support for it as part of our Managed Marketing Services.

Bill Brelsford Small Business Marketing Consultant