Posts Tagged ‘virtual meeting’
Meetings – don’t we just hate them?!? The travel, the preparation, the setting up of projectors, the forgetting of the crucial cables. Meetings can seriously eat into a freelancer or small business schedule. But they are a necessity to good business and working as a team.
But why not try a virtual meeting? Yes, it may not have the tactile feel of a face to face chat or a huddle over a project plan, but it also means that that you can do it in the comfort of your own chair, or in your underwear, or even in the bath.
So here are two FREE ways of holding virtual meetings:
From its original version, the Skype system continues to add more and more functionality. In addition to the voice chat and text chat, Skype now allows free video conferencing and computer screen sharing. There is a downside in that to screen share, you do need to have everybody in a video call first, which relies on a web cam and a FAST internet connection, but once connected, screen sharing works very well. The other plus side is that with Skype, everything is included – voice, face to face and the screen share – so nothing else is needed for a great virtual meeting. Of course, everybody in the meeting needs to be a registered skype user. Skype provides a useful ‘how to share screens on skype’ tutorial for further information.
The alternative to skype that I would recommend is a FREE service called Mikogo. This is a web based screen sharing and virtual meeting system. The service does require the download of a small 1.6Mb application (as does most paid for virtual meeting products), but this adds a pop-of menu of features including whiteboard, annotations, freezing screen (so you can do stuff without others seeing), file transfer, participant pointers (you can see what your audience are talking about via hovering coloured dots) and a whole host of other features. To invite others to a meeting, you just email them a web URL (shortcut) to a Mikogo virtual meeting room, and they enter a room code, password and their name to participate in the meeting.
Mikogo also has a dial in number for voice communication (with non-premium numbers for most counties), so you can talk and show at the same time. Whilst it doesn’t offer the video chat that Skype offers, the fact that anybody with an internet connection can use it, with up to 10 participants makes it perfect for most virtual business meetings and discussions. There is also a premium (paid) version of Mikogo for more meeting participants (upto 25).
Which one am I using and Why
Out of the two free options, when doing formal group meetings, I generally opt for Mikogo. Skype is great for quick one to ones with distant workers, but Mikogo feels more professional. Plus the features offered such as the whiteboard are so useful – just highlight sections of the screen, draw boxes, lines, whatever – to illustrate what you are talking about. The final reason for selecting Mikogo is because not everybody uses Skype, and I don’t want to force anybody to register on any service to have a meeting with me.