Online meeting software has come a long way over the last few years, and I regularly use it when talking to clients and team members. I thought I’d provide a short guide here to some of the most useful online meeting solutions to help you out if you decide that you want to experiment with them yourself.
LiveMinutes is an excellent online meeting tool that I use regularly. The first thing to note is that the user interface is simple, clean and incredibly easy to use – but that it still packs in a lot of features.
You can join a meeting via your internet browser or through your Skype account, and then you can speak to people via video conferencing (you can share up to nine screens). However, in addition to this you can take and edit notes, share documents and upload files. The sketching feature is very useful, and it allows you to illustrate ideas and notes using a paintbrush, shapes and photos, making it feel more like a real meeting environment.
You can also connect to your Evernote account and open notes directly, which is incredibly useful if, like me, you use Evernote extensively. You can then watch the changes being made to notes in real time as other people add ideas and thoughts. At the end, you can get a report of the meeting, and this can also be synced to your Evernote account.
Another great feature is that you can hold meeting with people who have not yet signed up to the service, which is useful as sometimes your contacts may be put off having to sign up to something new. This then gives them an opportunity to use it before they decide whether they want to sign up or not.
YetAnotherMeeting, also known as yaM, can also run in your internet browser or through your Skype account so there are no downloads necessary. In many ways it is similar to LiveMinutes, although it does have a few unique features, and it will often come down to your personal choice which one you want to use.
You can use yaM to create a meeting, add your contacts (and send invites to your Gmail contacts), set a date, time and place for the meeting, create an agenda and then get started.
All the members of the meeting can take notes and collaborate, and whenever someone posts something new it appears in real time. It is a useful tool for brainstorming and analysis, and you can also print the minutes at the end directly from the app. Another useful feature allows you to classify notes depending on their subjects, making it easy to keep track. You can also set up action items for the meeting so that nothing gets forgotten.
Integration with other services is good. You can get a summary of the meeting sent directly to your Evernote account, and you can also integrate with your Google account and Google Calendar.
Overall, it is a simple, well-designed tool that has a range of advanced features that make it a great option for anyone who carries out regular meetings.
Dispatch.io is slightly different from the above two options because it focuses more on providing a way to share files from a selection of cloud services. Many people (myself included) now have accounts with Dropbox, Evernote and Google Drive, and Dispatch.io is all about bringing files together into one place for quick and easy collaboration.
Using the service, you can share files such as documents and images from your other cloud accounts, as well as URLs and notes, and then your contacts can add comments to these. If you are working on various files in a range of cloud services, you can post them all here and discuss them in one place.
It is a smaller and simpler tool than the above options, and it is basically about adding more functionality to your favourite cloud services. It also aims to allow you to avoid sending numerous emails back and forth, which can become confusing, and keeping everyone in the loop with ease.
Try Them All Out
These are just three of the best solutions for online meeting software, and I have used them all in the past and found them to be very useful when working remotely. The most suitable for you will depend upon your own situation, so give them all a go and see which works best for you. Whichever you use, online meeting solutions are incredibly useful for anyone carrying out remote work, so choose your favourite one and never feel left out of the loop again.