Tuesday, August 02, 2011

As Travel Becomes Costlier, Online Meetings Look Better

In these economically challenged times, the cost of travel hasn’t improved one bit. In fact, it’s just getting more expensive and often less convenient to travel across the country for team coordination, client presentations and other face to face activities. Some of this is critical to the business, but is all of it? Couldn’t you do a better job if you could collaborate more often without the time and expense of business travel?

GoToMeeting - Online Meetings Made EasyMany companies have found online meetings to be both a money saver and productivity improver. It works especially well if you can just call a meeting anytime you feel the need to get together, without having to worry about the cost involved. You can do that with GoToMeeting. You pay one low monthly fee. You have as many meetings as you like, anytime you like. No need to coordinate with a service provider. This is a service that makes calling meetings about as simple as sending out emails.

How easy is GoToMeeting? You can set up instant meetings with a single click. You also have the option to have one-time scheduled meetings or recurring meetings. It’s just like setting up a weekly review in the conference room except that the participants can be anywhere, even traveling. Those participants can join your meeting from a Mac, PC, iPad or iPhone. The cost to them is nothing. Even the apps for their devices are free.

All someone has to do to participate is click on the meeting link you provide them via email, instant message, or even over the phone. You’ll need to give them a meeting ID verbally if you invite them by phone. Each attendee chooses whether to pick up the audio portion of the meeting by phone or by using the microphone and speakers built into their computer. Use your own toll free service or purchase integrated audio conferencing from Citrix Online Audio.

What can you do in your online meeting? It’s both an audio and visual experience. The audio conferencing allows everyone to talk and listen. While you are presenting, you can mute the participant's mics to prevent background noise. You can also record your meeting sessions for future review and reuse.

The visual portion uses your computer screen. You can chose to share your entire desktop or a specific application. There are drawing tools, multiple monitor support and the ability to transfer keyboard and mouse control and instantly change presenters. You can have a chat feature enabled for discussion while someone is presenting.

After the meeting is over, you can post it to a website or third-party video host to share with others. Review the attendance report and schedule future meetings.

The basic GoToMeeting service lets you hold as many meetings as you want with up to 15 attendees each. Need more than that? Consider GoToWebinar that also includes GoToMeeting and supports from 100 to 1,000 users, depending on the plan you buy.

Are you intrigued by GoToMeeting as a way to have more meetings for less cost, but not sure if it will do everything you have in mind? No problem. Try GoToMeeting FREE for 30 days before you buy. Chances are, you’ll consider this the best business deal you get all year.

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