Our essential online meeting tools overview
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Our essential online meeting tools overview

12th May 2020
By Tom Ladle

What is an online meeting?

We understand that when we throw out the term online meetings, it can cause some confusion. Think of it as an umbrella term, which shelters several different tools. These tools reproduce an aspect of a face-to-face meeting but online. The goal is to increase productivity for remote working teams and move away from the idea of the traditional office being the hub for getting stuff done. Now that’s out of the way, let’s get into our essential online meeting tools overview.

Conference calls

Let’s start with a classic shall we. Technically not an online meeting tool but one that paved the way for many we see today: Conference calls. I’m sure everyone’s aware of the tech solution that uses the trusty telephone. A brief history lesson (yawn), they were invented way back in 1956, transforming how the workforce communicated with group calls.

The concept is simple, you dial a number, enter a PIN and boom, you’re all on the same phone call. Suddenly you could talk with clients on the other side of the world and not have to spend countless hours and coin on unnecessary travel. They’re straightforward to set-up also and if used correctly can be super productive. Overall, this piece of handy tech showed just what was possible and led to the online meeting tech we see today.

What is screen share?

A screen share tool does exactly what it says on the tin, allows you to share your screen. We’ve all had meetings where everyone wants to discuss something different and it turns out to be a massive waste of time. By sharing your screen you’re focusing everyone’s attention on something specific, making it much easier to have a productive meeting. If you want instant feedback on the project you’ve been working on, need help with a tech problem or just want to share an interesting website you stumbled across, then this is the best way to do so.

Don’t believe us? Here’s three ways screen share could save your meeting.

What are video calls?

The next important piece of tech is video calls, a solution that brings us slightly closer to replicating face-to-face meetings. With a recent survey finding a huge 96% of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing that video conferencing is effective for improving the connectedness of remote team member[1], the tech is here to stay.

So, what are video calls? You could say the proofs in the name, but as products they often come with a host of features other than just the ability to use your webcam. The tool is built for online collaboration, so they’ll often come with computer audio (VoIP), screen share (more on this later), online chat, present document and more. There’s an art to preparing for video calls, very similar to how you would prepare for a face-to-face meeting. If used correctly they’re a brilliant tool for remote workers. Adding video to your online meetings helps humanise the conversation and you can often pick up on things like body language and facial expressions, something that’s difficult to get from a phone call (for obvious reasons).

See more on when to use video calls and how they enable flexibility.

What are webinars?

The best way to describe a webinar is to think of a large online event, where presenters are addressing a massive audience. Used by companies to provide valuable insights to their audience, for training purposes, to promote a new product and for many other reasons. They are a fantastic tool for generating leads as the platform allows you to use custom registration forms that your audience must fill out to view your webinar.

It’s a great platform to gather large amounts of feedback through features such as event surveys, interactive polls, and live Q&As. The idea of presenting to lots of people can strike fear in many but if set-up properly with clear objectives and enough preparation then there really is nothing to fear. Used properly you can positively impact how you are viewed by your audience and massively increase your customer pool (double win).

Start exploring

Investing in the latest tech is a crucial part of business success. These online meeting tools are a simple way to adapt to the modern working lifestyle, which is only seeing an increased number of people working flexibly and remotely. So, go on, have a gander and how they can help your business!

[1] https://www.owllabs.com/blog/video-conferencing-statistics