As an increasing number of teams move towards remote working, ensuring that all members are able to effectively communicate and collaborate with one another becomes increasingly important. This is especially important since the rising and ever-increasing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in forcing many businesses to resort to remote working processes, despite never having considered it before.
However, whether you’ve been involved with remote working practices before, or it’s something your business is now starting to newly implement, be aware that there are plenty of tools out there that can help you strive for and acquire the best results possible.
From team messaging to video conferencing, screen sharing and live document editing, there is a vast range of virtual meeting tools available to make the remote process work for you. Whatever your company’s budget and size understand there are virtual meeting tools that can meet your needs.
With this in mind, today I’m going to highlight some of the tools that are a great way for you to get started. Here are the top virtual meeting tools to consider.
Considered by many to be the original virtual meeting tool, Skype is used by millions of people every day. In addition to being available on computers, the Skype app can also be downloaded on smartphones and is even supported by some televisions. Not only does Skype offer free Skype-to-Skype calls around the world, but calls can also be made to mobile phones and landlines at reasonably affordable rates.
“Through Skype, you can make HD video calls with groups of up to 25 individuals, or you can use it for group chats. The app also allows for documents, files and images of all sizes to be shared. Additionally, there is even a special translator feature that can translate instant messages and calls, meaning that individuals speaking different languages can communicate easily,” says Kenneth Brumley, a marketing blogger at Eliteassignmenthelp and Uktopwriters.
There is a further option of Skype for Business. For a small fee of $5 per month per user, it offers extra tools, including facilitating access to contacts, screen sharing, the ability to record meetings, and voice or video calls with up to 200 people simultaneously.
For businesses already using MS Suite tools, this is also a great option, as Skype has a simple connection to Outlook, Outlook Calendar, and Microsoft Teams. If you’re already using these services, then Skype will be a great way to integrate everything together.
Zoom is by far one of the most popular choices for online video conferencing. Offering audio, video, group messaging, and even screen sharing options, it’s an increasingly convenient and accessible service. Furthermore, it can be used on a range of devices, making it an ideal, low-cost option for users.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Zoom user base has exploded, which means a ton of investment has gone into the software application and it’s now better than ever before. To give you an idea of how much Zoom has grown in the remote working space, in December 2019, there were around 10 million daily users, which skyrocketed to 200 million daily users in March 2020, and as of the time of writing, this number is only growing. All in all, there’s never been a better time to try Zoom for yourself.
There’s a free version available that has a time limit of 30 minutes per meeting. However, the service can be upgraded for $20 per month per host for pro services, which is clearly essential if you’re a serious business, but it really isn’t that expensive when you consider the level of features you receive.
Zoom video conferencing is generally high-quality, reliable, and stable, even during long video conferences. It is by far one of the most used video conferencing tools in the world, and for a good reason.
Additionally, the platform can support up to 1,000 interactive video participants at once, which is massive if you’re hosting webinars and online conferences, and up to 10,000 view-only users, making it a great choice for larger conference needs.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use, reliable, and fast program to host your virtual meetings, then Join.me is a great option. This application is very similar to Zoom, but it has less features and is much more lightweight. If you’re looking for an easy solution for few people, this can be an inexpensive option to consider.
The program is versatile and can be easily used on a range of devices, including laptops, smartphones and tablets which is a massive benefit for most businesses. Through Join.me, you can create virtual meetings quickly with both employees and clients. In addition to basic features, such as audio, video, and chat options, you can also share your screen with up to 10 individuals at once, making it an ideal option if you work with smaller teams and are looking to work more collaboratively.
There are three options available: the free version (which includes the basic features), the pro version (which allows unlimited audio conferencing and costs $20 per month), and the Enterprise version (offers more advanced management options for $25 per month). You can also set up private meeting rooms that have their own custom links, and users can personalize their experience with a range of options, including customizable URLs and backgrounds.
With the ability to use the software directly into a browser and anyone can be added to a meeting via a link, this is a very accessible option you’ll want to consider. If you’re just starting out with video conferencing software, this is a great place to start until you’re ready to upgrade to a more fully featured solution.
WebEx Meeting Centre, produced by Cisco, is a cloud-based tool that promotes collaboration. It is a popular choice for many Fortune 500 companies and is available to use on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. The free version offers basic features, such as messaging, audio and video calls and meetings, while the subscription model allows for even more collaboration.
For $69 per month, up to 100 people can work together with document sharing, annotations, virtual whiteboards (including the ability to sketch out ideas), options to record meetings, and even multiple feeds or side-by-side screen sharing options.
If you’re looking for a one-click meeting option that takes out the technical side of virtual meetings, check out GoToMeeting. With the ability to offer video conferencing solutions within your browser, hosting large-scale webinars that are designed for business purposes, and a ton of features so you can create a virtual meeting room that meets your requirements, GoToMeeting is for you.
What I love about GoToMeeting is the amount of admin features you’ll have access to, giving you full control over every meeting, you’ll be able to host meetings the way you want too.
If you’re looking for a messaging software that allows all members of the team to communicate efficiently, then Slack might be for you. With Slack, there is the option to organize team conversations into private or open channels, meaning that team messaging can be organized according to projects or departments. The app is easy to use and is supported by a range of devices including mobile devices, as well as computers.
“Not only does Slack integrate with other social media platforms, including Dropbox, but it also allows users to easily share a range of documents, including PDFs, spreadsheets and images, which they can add comments to. One of the best features of the app is that it’s fully searchable and it syncs instantly to other programs,” says Frederick Gray, a business writer at Best british essays and Academized.
7. Google Drive
As one of the most popular choices for live collaboration, Google Drive allows users to store up to 15 GB of data for free. Not only can users store files on the cloud, but they can also share and edit these documents in real-time with other collaborators. Google Drive can be used on computers, tablets, and smartphones.
Because the program is compatible with Microsoft Word, individuals are able to use editing and formatting tools they are already familiar with. Users can also access and edit other file types, including spreadsheets, presentations, images, and even audio files. It’s the perfect compliment to communicate together in meetings.
Dropbox is a cloud-based file sharing company that allows its customers to share documents instantly with any and all devices to anybody in the world. This tool is essential for any business, especially when people are working from home. You’ll need this tool at one point to share presentations, files, and documents for virtual team collaborations.
Dropbox is similar to Google Drive, Dropbox is secure, easy to use, and you have full control over your file structures, access controls, adding secure passwords to files and folders, and making sure everyone within your business can have access to the files they need.
When trying to decide which virtual meeting tool to choose from, make sure that you identify the core needs and communication objectives of your team. Each tool has a slightly different focus, and their strengths will vary according to which features your team will most likely need. One of the benefits of having multiple tools to choose from is that many of them offer a free version or trial period, so you can experiment and find the best tool to facilitate your team’s communication and collaboration.
About The Author
Kristin Herman is an experienced tech enthusiast and a project manager at Essay writer and Stateofwriting.com online writing services. She regularly writes articles for a wide variety of online magazines and blogs, including Big Assignments, amongst others.
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