Skype logoI was surprised to realize just now, from a quick search of the archives, that I have been a fan of and writing here about the “Internet phone” service Skype, for at least four years now.

Surprised, because after all that time I’m still finding people, some even in business, who look blank when I ask are they on Skype. Not so many now, mind, but some. And it bothers me somewhat that, even when I’ve explained that it is a free service and all you need to use it is your Internet connection, some still look a bit wary and change the subject to the football or the weather (yes, there are some add-on services you can pay for, but you can do plenty without those).

My interest is usually not in persuading someone that it would be good for them, although I don’t believe I know anyone who could not benefit. More that it would be good for me when I want to communicate with them and especially if there is likely to be a need for a group meeting. Because that’s another great thing about Skype, the phone conferencing.

Skype also has video and my friend and colleague Bill Vick has used Skype video with continuing success, to record video interviews such as those on his site.

Of all the tools available on the Web for home based business professionals, especially for that vast tribe of us who work internationationally and don’t really want to run up huge phone bills but still want to talk to people live from time to time, Skype has to be in the top rank.

One of the big advantages it has for me, over the regular telephone service, is that through the chat box I can establish whether someone is “at home” and willing to take a call, before I hit the “Call” button. When you are working with people around the world, in different time zones, that is completely preferable to phoning them on a regular phone connection, at what might be an inappropriate time, such as when they are asleep!

And now, thanks to a post by Phil Wolff of Skype Journal fame, I’ve discovered an easy way to help people understand what Skype is and what it does, by pointing them to the short, effective video from the obviously very talented folks at Say It Visually!

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