7 reasons you should be holding your meetings online
No matter what the size of your business, you’re always looking for ways to save money. Switching from in-person meetings to online meetings not only boosts your budget; it also makes your meetings more productive.
Online meeting software is secure, affordable and simple to use. Here are just a few reasons you should turn off the lights in the conference room and schedule online meetings instead.
1. Save Money
Imagine never paying for another plane ticket for a meeting in a remote office. Picture yourself with the freedom to hire remote employees without paying for office space, parking fees or mileage. Of course, for some of your most important face-to-face sessions, such as when you’re meeting with an executive job candidate or a potential business partner, you’ll want to maintain a personal touch. But for the majority of your company meetings, you save big money by moving online.
2. Collaborate on Documents or Projects in Real Time
The best online meeting software has screen-sharing, whiteboard and collaboration tools for editing documents, viewing someone else’s screen and explaining new concepts at during your meeting. Instead of talking about changing a document and then finding out your changes weren’t implemented, you can verify that the changes are made as soon as you mention them in your meeting.
3. Schedule Meetings of Any Size
Online meeting space can work for a small team meeting, but it can also easily scale for meetings of 100 or more people. Instead of getting everyone together in an auditorium, buying food and paying for transportation, you can meet online and use your software’s Q&A features to take questions or comments from the group. Attendees can also use private chat to ask questions of their peers instead of interrupting other people’s remarks. Chat gives people a safe way to ask questions they might not otherwise ask in a large meeting.
4. Build Rapport Among Remote Team Members
When a lot of your employees telecommute, or when you work with independent contractors, it can be tough to build bonds and to help everyone pull together for a common purpose. With online meeting software, the faceless people in emails become living, breathing team members. People no longer feel as though they’re working on their own. Instead, remote workers become part of a cohesive team.
5. Join Meetings Anywhere From Any Device
Today’s best online meeting software is cloud-based, meaning that users can log on from any location using virtually any device. As long as they have access to a good high-speed Internet connection, they can join meetings using an app on their desktop computers, smartphones or tablets.
You’ll need to be smart about your login practices; for example, it’s good security policy for your attendees not to login using public Wi-Fi, so you may need to provide a virtual private network (VPN) connection. However, if they’re already logging into your company network remotely, you already have these remote access features in place.
6. Integrate with your Content Management System (CMS) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
A good online meeting solution has an application program interface (API) that enables it to pull information from your CMS or CRM systems. This means you can easily talk about documents, customer records or other issues without closing out of your meeting software, opening another application and then returning to the meeting.
With the click of a button, you open your document or record, and you start collaborating on it immediately. The best online meeting software integrates with popular systems like Salesforce, Google Apps for Work and Office 365, and it even works with your own in-house applications.
7. Do More Than Just Have Meetings
Online meeting software isn’t just for having your weekly department meeting or shaking up your conference call routine. It’s perfect for screening job candidates, scheduling training and coaching sessions and having impromptu face-to-face conversations about pressing matters. You can open a meeting session to review the progress of someone’s work, or you can discuss a performance review with a remote contractor over video link instead of using email.
In conclusion: with online meeting software, you’ll no longer be limited by a remote employee’s location or by trying to get busy people into a meeting room at the same time. You can get more contributions from your employees more while coming in under budget — and that’s always a winning scenario.
About the Author: Adam Griffith writes about business and technology topics of interest to Canadian companies.