A few weeks ago, our blog took a look at the best ways independent talent use technology to create the optimal virtual office. One of the biggest hurdles to collaboration when working remotely is when work can’t be done independently. After all, not being in the same physical room shouldn’t stop you from making the most of a meeting.
In today’s follow-up entry to our online collaboration series, we take a look at the latest, and most commonly utilized, online meeting tools and platforms. Again, while nothing will beat face-to-face interactions, the suggested technologies below are great options for emulating the experience and fostering the collaboration needed for a productive, successful client relationship.
This Cisco tool is one of the most “established” of online meeting services. The program has a desktop plug that enables users to quickly host or join a virtual meeting. Their technology allows all participants to share their screens by rotating the “presenter” role. Face-to-face video chat is also an option.
Its integration with other applications, including Microsoft Office, makes it easy to add virtual meeting info/capabilities to any appointment. WebEx also provides the flexibility of mobile and tablet access.
With such a steady reputation, it carries a strong list of large corporate clients, which could be incredibly helpful should these customers be your clients as well. It always helps when a client and contractor “speak the same language” from a technology standpoint. Be ready to make the investment, however, as many features raise its monthly rate.
Pricing ranges from $19 to $89 per month, depending on meeting participant sizes.
Citrix GoToMeeting provides similar online meeting, screen sharing, and mobile options with one-click access to start a meeting.
Fellow attendees on a GoToMeeting may need to install a small plug-in before joining a meeting, but once the installation is made, the one-click meeting becomes a (virtual) reality.
Additionally, you may have noticed that many recent MBO Partners webinars are hosted via GoToMeeting in order to best communicate with our audience (including via live polling) and field questions from the attendees.
Pricing ranges from $24 to $49 per month, depending on meeting participant sizes and desired capabilities. Middle-tier packages include drawing tools, recording, mobile apps, and keyboard and mouse sharing, while more expensive packages include an active directory and virtual whiteboard.
Unlike the platforms listed above, Join.me was not created at first for meeting collaboration, and instead, started in IT as an internal remote control support tool. The service has evolved to become a popular online meeting platform, and now provides the same desired meeting features above (multiple viewers, screen sharing, chat, file sharing, mobile capabilities), however, also similar to the offerings above, charges a premium for a number of additional perks and settings, such as a dedicated meeting URL and conference line capability.
Join.me is a part of a larger suite of online collaboration platforms called LogMeIn.
Pricing ranges from free to $25 per month, depending on meeting participant sizes and desired capabilities. Middle-tier packages include recording, reporting, and cloud storage, while more expensive packages include enhanced reporting and more expansive cloud storage.
First utilized as a more casual tool for friends to hold video chats, Google+ Hangout is now commonly used for workplace collaboration, especially as remote talent becomes a bigger reality. Similar to Google Voice, the platform provides free voice calls, but also incorporates real-time video.
Google+ Hangouts also offers screen sharing and document collaboration, taking advantage of Google’s own Google Docs document sharing for group editing.
As the most commonly utilized, compatible, social, and economical (it’s free, after all!), Google+ Hangouts might be the best place to start when growing your business. The platform is also commonly used for interviews, so often times it may very be the tool that first introduces you to new clients!
To paraphrase an old adage, “No matter where we go, there we are.” Keeping the team together, no matter how far apart, means the most when formulating on online collaboration meeting strategy. Looking to learn more about running your own business? We can help – contact us today.
As an independent consultant it's important to know what exactly soft skills are, why they matter, and how you can improve yours.
News and notes for independent professionals and their clients. This is the September 19, 2016 edition.