Communication technology has made leaps and bounds in the past few decades. Cell phone have only been around since 1973 – and they sure didn’t look sleek and sophisticated at the very beginning.
In the 70’s, you pretty much had two options for having a business or client meeting. You could have the meeting in person, or you could do it over the phone. In-person meetings were inconvenient if clients were located far away, and phone calls wouldn’t do if there were something that needed to be seen to the presentation rather than heard.
Luckily, we now live in a world of telecommuting and jetsetting, and while this may mean that we spend less time face-to-face, it sure is convenient when we need to schedule a meeting with someone.
Every person has a specific way that they like to communicate, and often it depends on the situation. While a simple idea can be explained over the phone or over video conference, more complicated things should be discussed in person. For instance, we always have kickoff meetings face-to-face so that we can get to know our clients AND their businesses.
The next time you go to schedule a meeting ask yourself:
- What do we need to accomplish here?
- Do I need them to see AND hear me?
- Will things like body language be important? (This can often be the case when making design presentations)
- Will it be easy for everyone to participate?
If you don’t think that it will be easy for everyone on your team to take part in an in-person meeting, consider these alternatives the next time you try to get a group together:
You may think that Skype is only a tool for keeping in touch with long-distance friends and family, but it can actually be a powerful business tool. In fact, there is an entire sector of the business devoted to helping businesses stay connected with clients. This service includes:
- Instant Messaging
- Group Calls
- Voice Messages
- Call Forwarding
- Screen Sharing
It’s easy to Skype from your phone, laptop, or tablet, so it’s perfect for a team on the go. You can try Skype Unlimited World for one month, free, however, the basic service is free.
Google Hangouts work through Google +, which means that you need a Google account in order to log in. Luckily, most people have a Gmail account, and Hangouts are pretty easy to use. Google is pretty much king of the internet, and this platform is relatively easy to use, and also features services like instant messaging, screen sharing, and group calls, as well as options for mobile. The service is free!
Another option for video chatting, oovoo is also free to use. Oovoo allows you to video chat with up to 12 people, while Skype and Google Hangouts allow 10. The service is free!
GoToMeeting, and our next option, WebEx, are actually aimed at businesses and used to make presentations and seamlessly manage online meetings. It’s common to call in and connect to video on separate platforms, but it’s a simple process that just involves dialing in and entering a code. You may have 15 people in a meeting. You can try GoToMeeting for 30 days, free.
WebEx is extremely similar to GoToMeeting. You can have 8 people in a meeting in the WebEx basic plan. You can try WebEx for 14 days, free.
There are a ton of options out there for video conferencing, but that is in your favor! Try out which option works best for you, and let us know which one won in your office!