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6 great ways to use online meetings (that you are probably missing out on)

(Technology) Online meetings are a part of our lives now, but there are ways you could be utilizing them that you could be missing out on. Here are just six.

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Online meetings are typically underutilized

While meeting someone face-to-face is often important for business success in specific situations, there are many more circumstances where an online meeting will be more beneficial to all parties involved. They save time, money and resources and even offer some benefits that are not readily available when meeting in person.

Online meeting facilities are typically underutilized. They are only considered when contacting an overseas client or remote-working colleague, yet there are many more instances when online meetings may be the perfect solution. Here are some ways businesses can maximize the use of these tools.

1. Collaborate with colleagues

E-meetings aren’t just for remote-working colleagues or communicating between different branches of international company. It can also be used to share some quick information with Suzie in Marketing.

Think about how much time is spent in companies just arranging meetings. From scheduling a meeting room to getting refreshments to waiting on that person who is perpetually late, you lose a lot of time that could have been better spent. Online meetings eliminate many of those pesky distractions and time-consuming activities. A few clicks and you’re in. Everyone is in their comfort zone (at their respective offices) and the focus is on the matter-at-hand.

2. Fix your computer remotely

Another issue that sucks up time is getting your computer fixed. In large organizations, you probably have to fill out a report and wait for a technician from IT to get to your computer. Small organizations, which don’t typically have an in-house technician, have it much worse – they have to wait for someone to visit the office, which can take anywhere from hours to days.

This could easily be replaced by online meeting software which allow remote control of your desktop. Hop on a meeting with your IT specialist, give them control then allow them to work their magic.

3. Connect with clients

Outside of the crucial first meeting, or meetings to discuss extremely important or sensitive matters with clients or partners, online meetings are often the best bet. They are more personal than a phone call and less time-consuming than meeting in-person.

Chances are your clients will be even more grateful for this than you are. Wherever meetings are usually held, someone has to travel (and lose time in the process), someone has to prepare a room or someone has to foot the bill for out-of-office arrangements. This eases the pressure off the company credit card.

4. Provide online support

customer support
Source: iStock Photo

Providing face-to-face online support is especially useful for businesses that don’t have a retail outlet or physical location for customers to visit and share their frustrations. If you have a small number of clients or high volume customers, this is a great way to amp up customer service an extra notch for those special buyers.

Online meetings allow them to connect with a real person, not just a robotic voice over the phone. The ability to see a face and watch gestures can go a long way when in-person meetings aren’t an option.

5. Record video content

One little-known feature of online meeting software like ClickMeeting for example, is the ability to record meetings for future viewing or storage purposes. This has several uses.

Let’s say you’re having a meeting and someone can’t make it, sending them a recording of the proceedings would eliminate the need to have a person recap the meeting, or worse, delay the meeting until a future time.

This feature could also come in handy if you’re demonstrating a product or doing a presentation you may have to repeat in the future. Capturing it on video the first time around will not only save time, but allow persons to get that information in the future without you being present. This, of course, makes online meeting software, the perfect method for delivering online training. Record a session and allow person to watch and discuss at the time most suitable to them.

6. Market your business

Sharing some one-on-one or small group face time with qualified leads, brand advocates or long term customers could go a long way in growing your business. Many businesses limit marketing activities to those with mass appeal, but forming personal connections with your audience can be extremely powerful.

Taking time out of your busy day to have a conversation with your supporters shows them how much they mean to your business, which builds sales, loyalty and advocacy all around.

The takeaway

So while virtual meetings won’t replace in-person contact, unique features such as screen sharing, remote control, and video recording provided by online meeting offers a variety of different uses that trumps its in-person counterpart.

What are some of the ways you use online meetings to facilitate your business interactions?

Lead image source: Big Stock

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Maddie Grant is author of Humanize and When Millennials Take Over, and is Founding Partner at WorkXO, a culture startup that helps forward thinking leaders in growth oriented organizations activate their workplace culture to attract the right talent, increase engagement, and unleash human potential through the Workplace Genome™ Project.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. mike

    October 23, 2015 at 4:05 am

    By following above mentioned tips and using tools like webex, gotomeeting, R-HUB etc. one can conduct quality online meetings.

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Tech News

What is UI/UX? Take a little time to learn for free!

(TECH NEWS) For the all-time low price of—well, free—Invise gives you the option of learning a few basic UI and UX design techniques.

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Woman browsing web, made easy with UI/UX

There’s no denying the strong impact UI and UX design has on the success of a website, app, or service—and, thanks to some timely altruism, you can add basic design understanding to your résumé for free.

Invise is a self-described beginner’s guide to the UI/UX field, and while they do not purport to deliver expert knowledge or “paid courses”, the introduction overview alone is pretty hefty.

The best part—aside from the “free” aspect—is how simple it is to get a copy of the guide: You enter your email address on the Invise website, click the appropriate button, and the guide is yours after a quick email verification.

According to Invise, their beginner’s guide to UI and UX covers everything from color theory and typography to layout, research principles, and prototyping. They even include a segment on tools and resources to use for optimal UI/UX work so that you don’t have to take any risks on dicey software.

UI—short for “user interface”—and UX, or “user experience”, are two critical design aspects found in everything from websites to app and video game menus. As anyone who has ever picked up an outdated smartphone knows, a janky presentation of options or—worse yet—a lack of intuitive menus can break a user’s experience far faster than slow hardware.

Similarly, if you’re looking to retain customers who visit your website or blog, presenting their options to them in a jarring or unfamiliar way—or selecting colors that clash for your landing page—can be just as fatal as not having a website to begin with.

The overarching problem, then, becomes one of cost. Hiring a design expert is expensive and can be time-consuming, so Invise is a welcome alternative—and, as a bonus, you don’t have to dictate your company’s vision to a stranger and hope that they “get it” if you’re doing your own design work.

2020 probably isn’t the year to break the bank on design choices, but the importance of UI and UX in your business can’t be overstated. If you have time to read up on some design basics and a small budget for a few of the bare-bones tools, you can take a relatively educated shot at putting together a modern, desirable interface.

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Google set to release new AI-operated meeting room kit… and it’s pretty baller

(TECH NEWS) Google’s newest toy is designed to “put people first” by alleviating video and audio issues for conference room meetings.

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Google Meet Series One is a new meeting kit that puts people first.

Remote meetings can be the worst sometimes. The awful video and audio quality are frustrating when you’re trying to hear important details for an upcoming project. Even with the fastest internet connection, this doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to clearly hear or see anyone who’s in the office. But Google is re-imagining conference rooms with their new video conferencing hardware.

Yesterday, the company introduced Google Meet Series One. In partnership with Lenovo, this meeting room kit is made exclusively for Google Meet and is poised to be the hardware that “puts people first.”

The Series One has several components that make it stand out. First is the “Smart Audio Bar,” powered by eight beam-forming microphones. Using Google Edge TPUs, the soundbar can deliver TrueVoice®, the company’s “proprietary, multi-channel noise cancellation technology.” It removes distracting sounds, like annoying finger and foot-tapping noises, so everyone’s voices are crystal clear from anywhere in the room.

The hardware also has 4K smart cameras that allow for high-resolution video and digital PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) effects. Processed with Google AI, the device knows to automatically zoom in and out so all of the meetings’ participants are framed in the camera. With an i7 processor and Google Edge TPUs, the system is built to “handle the taxing demands of video conferencing along with running the latest in Google AI as efficiently and reliably as possible.”

The meeting kit has Google grade security built-in, so the system automatically updates over-the-air. The system also works seamlessly with Google services and apps we already use. Its touch control display is powered by a single ethernet cable. From the admin controls, you can manage meeting lists and control room settings. Powered by assistant voice commands, their touch controller provides a “touchless touchability”; if you want to, you can join a meeting just by saying, “Hey Google, join the meeting.”

These new meeting kits are easy to install and are versatile. They can be configured to fit small, medium, and large-sized rooms. “Expanding kits for larger rooms can be done with just an ethernet cable and the tappable Mic Pod, which expands microphone reach and allows for mute/unmute control.”

According to the Google Meet Series One introductory video, the meeting room kits are “beautifully and thoughtfully designed to make video meetings approachable and immersive so everyone gets a seat at the table.”

Currently, there is no release date set for Google Meet Series One. However, pre-orders will soon be available in the US, Canada, Finland, France, Norway, Spain, Ireland, United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Netherlands, Denmark, and Belgium.

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Tech News

One creepy way law enforcement might have your private data

(TECH NEWS) Wait, geofences do what? Law enforcement can pull your private data if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Man walking on crosswalk with phone, but his private data could be vulnerable.

By now, it’s pretty common knowledge that our smartphones are tracking us, but what you might not be aware of is just how much law enforcement is taking advantage of our private data. Now, the good news is that some places have gotten wise to this breach of privacy and are banning certain tactics. The bad news is: If you were ever in the vicinity of a recent crime scene, it’s quite possible your privacy has already been invaded.

How are law enforcement doing this? Well, it starts with a geofence.

At its core, a geofence is a virtual border around a real geographic location. This can serve many purposes, from creating marketing opportunities for targeted ads to tracking shipping packages. In the case of law enforcement, though, geofences are often used in something called a geofence warrant.

Traditionally, warrants identify a subject first, then retrieve their electronic records. A geofence warrant, on the other hand, identifies a time and place and pulls electronic data from that area. If you’re thinking “hey, that sounds sketchy,” you are–forgive the pun–completely warranted.

With a geofence, law enforcement can dig through your private data, not because they have proof you were involved in a crime, but because you happened to be nearby.

This practice, though relatively new, is on the rise: Google reported a 15-fold increase in geofence warrant requests between 2017 and 2018. As well as invading privacy, these warrants have led to false arrests and can be used against peaceful protesters. Not to mention, in many cases, geofence warrants can be extremely easy to acquire. One report in Minnesota found judges signed off on these cases in under 4 minutes.

Thankfully, there have been signs of people pushing back against the use of geofence warrants. In fact, there have been multiple federal court rulings that find the practice in violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens from “unreasonable searches and seizures,” including your electronic data.

If you’re still worried about your privacy, there are ways to keep your electronic data on lock. For example, turn off your location services when you’re traveling, and avoid connecting to open Wi-Fi networks. You can also work to limit location sharing with apps and websites.

These and other tips can be a great way to help you avoid not just geofence warrants, but others who want to use your electronic information for their own gain.

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