When you’re building your virtual office for an independent business, technology plays a key role in keeping your company operating smoothly. When you work remotely, one of the biggest challenges is collaborating with clients. But just because you can’t be in the same physical space as your client doesn’t mean you can’t run an important meeting.
Below, we explore some of the most widely used and recognized online meeting tools and platforms. While it can be hard to top face-to-face interaction, these technologies can be great options when working remotely. With the right tools in place, you can facilitate the collaboration needed to maintain a productive and successful client relationship.
WebEx is one of the most established online meeting services. It has a desktop plugin that allows users to quickly host or join a virtual meeting. All meeting participants can then share their screens or video chat to simulate an in-person meeting.
WebEx also has the ability to integrate with other applications like Microsoft Office, which makes it easy to add virtual meetings to any calendar appointment. It also provides the flexibility of mobile and table access.
With such a steady reputation, WebEx carries a strong list of large corporate clients, which could be useful should these customers be your clients as well. It always helps when you’re able to “speak the same language” as your client. Be ready to make the investment, however, as features raise the monthly rate.
WebEx pricing ranges from $0 to $26.95 per month, depending on meeting participant sizes.
Skype is another highly-used and recognized service. It features the ability to call landline or mobile phones anywhere in the world as well as HD group video calling. Skype offers many different download options that correspond to your specific computer software or mobile device.
Skype features include screensharing, and the ability to host encrypted conversations, record calls, or share files. Even if your client doesn’t have Skype, you can still call or text them using the service, which can be financially friendly if you’re new to remote work.
Most Skype feature are free; Skype Business plans start at $2 per month, per user.
Zoom is a popular collaboration tool that allows you to do 1:1 video calls, chat, mobile collaboration, and large-scale webinars. Zoom Meetings sync with your calendar system and delivers streamlined video conferencing from desktop and mobile.
Feature-rich and simple-to-use, Zoom mobile and desktop apps bring the whole experience together with built-in cross-platform group chat. Zoom also features native support for Skype for Business and integration with Slack.
Zoom is free for personal use; Zoom’s business plans start at $14.99 per month, per host.
GoToMeeting provides online meeting, screen sharing, and mobile options with one-click access to start a meeting. Meeting attendees may need to install a plugin before joining the meeting, but once this is done one-click meetings will be at your fingertips.
If hosting webinars is part of your content strategy, GoToMeeting can be a helpful tool to communicate with your audience. Features include live polling and question and answer capabilities.
GoToMeeting pricing starts at $12 per organizer, per month.
Unlike the platforms listed above, Join.me was originally created as an internal remote-control support tool rather than a meeting collaboration tool. The service has evolved to become a popular online meeting platform, and now provides the same desired meeting features as may other services such as multiple viewers, screen sharing, chat, file sharing, and mobile capabilities.
However, Join.me does charge a premium for a number of additional perks and settings including dedicated meeting URL and conference line capability. Join.me is part of a larger suite of online collaboration platforms called LogMeIn.
Join.me pricing ranges from $10-$30 per month, depending on meeting participant sizes and desired capabilities.
Google+ Hangouts first came to the scene as a casual tool for friends to hold video chats, but it is now also used for workplace collaboration, especially as the use of remote talent increases. The platform provides free voice calls and incorporates real-time video.
Google Hangouts also offers screen sharing and document collaboration, taking advantage of Google’s own Google Docs group editing. As a compatible, social, and economical service, Google Hangouts might be the best place to start when growing your business.
Google Hangouts is a free service.
Whether you’re collaborating with a team or keeping lines of communication open with your clients, these virtual tools can help you formulate the best online meeting strategy for your business.