Tools to Conduct Business Virtually

by Kay Lynn

HandshakeThere are many reasons virtual meeting will not replace the in-person experience.    However these types of meetings do have an important role in business.

Virtual meetings are conducted online and allow users to communicate via voice, text and/or video.  It can be useful for collaborations between workgroups, demonstrations of products and services or training of staff among other uses.

Most programs require software to be installed on the computers of meeting participants and presenters.  There are many programs available with prices ranging from free to extremely expensive.

I’ve had experience using two very different types of programs and wanted to share them with you.

Skype

Skype facilitates phone and text conversations over the internet.  Users can have Skype to Skype calls, share screens and use instant messaging for free.  There are charges calling land and cell phones or conducting group video chats.

I’ve used Skype to chat with other bloggers for purely social conversation as well as professional collaboration.  Today I’ll be using it to meet with an ad network manager.

A neat feature with this program is the ability to send files of any size for free.  It’s a great way to get past attachment size limits with email programs.

GoToMeeting

This program is a great option for showing your screen (or certain applications on the screen) and talking with or to other people.  You can invite them right from the application and even have other attendees present.

I use this tool almost daily with customers for presentations, training and troubleshooting.  It is not a free application although there is a no-fee 30-day trial.  Make sure you look for a GoToMeeting coupon code.

This company also offers a product suited especially for online seminars called GoToWebinar.

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Using tools such as these allows businesses to travel only for the meetings and events where being in person is most meaningful.  What tools do you use for virtual meeting?

PhotoAttribution Some rights reserved by AndyRob

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

krantcents May 27, 2011 at 8:28 am

Technology has given us additional choices to supplement our business and social activities. Some fear that some of these improvements will replace how we do things. I think it just supplements what would normally do.

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Jeff @ Sustainable life blog May 27, 2011 at 9:54 am

I’ve used both of those virtual tools and found them very handy – I also use dropbox quite a bit, and have found it great for sharing files and collaborating! It’s free up to 2 gb (I think) then you have to pay 9.99/month.

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Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter May 27, 2011 at 11:36 am

I too was going to recommend Dropbox. It’s really handy. I also really like Evernote which is a great way to keep everything organized.

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Car Negotiation Coach May 27, 2011 at 7:54 pm

I have to do screen sharing on almost a daily basis with my employees. I’ve tried both the apps you mention and they do work good. I also recently found a new one that I really like: join.me. It’s all browser based so there’s no program to download and it’s very quick…..my new favorite!

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Kay Lynn June 3, 2011 at 7:41 pm

@ Krantcents, I think these tools just make how we do things even better.

@ Jeff, I have to check out dropbox, so many people have mentioned it to me.

@ Miss T, Thanks for the recommendations. Evernote is another one that comes up time and again.

@ Car Negotiation Coach, is join.me free?

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