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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

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

HEY needs to fix its issues to be the Gmail killer it claims to be

(TECH NEWS) You would hope that HEY, the paid email service, would launch without issues but it has a few. Let’s hope some of that money goes to fixing them.

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Hey email

Last week, we covered HEY–a new email service that seemingly has a lot to offer–and while we largely praised the service despite it being a paid client awash in a sea of free email options, not everyone is fully on board with HEY’s inimitable charm–at least, not yet.

Adam Silver, an interaction designer focused on user experience, had some criticisms of HEY–many of which he identified as “pretty surprising oversights.” Though Silver does mention that his overall opinion of the service is good, these oversights are the focus of his review.

“HEY isn’t very accessible,” says Silver in his notes. His assessment, while self-admittedly not a holistic view, includes issues related to JavaScript (specifically when it isn’t enabled, which is something more and more companies are requiring) and lack of reasonable keyboard shortcuts for anyone using a screen reader. As Silver points out, these are fairly simple–and, thus, surprising–problems that probably should have been caught from the onset.

“All of these things are really easy to fix,” amends Silver.

Another issue Silver highlights is the inbox (imbox?) sorting. As we mentioned previously, there are three locations for email: the imbox, the feed, and the paper trail, each of which serves a different purpose. The problem with this system is that organizing emails by only three overarching categories affords little flexibility; furthermore, Silver notes that the menu for accessing each folder leaves a lot to be desired from a design standpoint.

The feed is also the subject of Silver’s criticism in that it doesn’t function enough like a traditional inbox to the point that it is actually difficult to use. Especially given the feed’s purpose–to store newsletters and such in a free-scrolling manner–this is a hold-up for sure; coupled with the feed’s lack of notifications, you can see how this problem cripples the user experience without active attention to the ancillary feed inbox.

Lastly, Silver mentions that the name “imbox” is, well, stupid. “This is not a typo but it’s not good,” he says. “You need a really good reason not to keep things simple.”

This is actually a point that we initially glossed over in our overview, but it’s another instance of a company doing a little too much to stand out–and, in doing so, potentially disrupting the user experience. “Keeping it simple” by calling the delivery place for your email the “inbox” won’t sink your brand, and the name “imbox” is sure to, at best, annoy.

It’s important to reaffirm that HEY’s driving principle–accessible email that prioritizes your privacy and charges you a relatively nominal fee for doing so–is good, and that’s the tough part of any app’s development; should they choose to follow Silver’s lowkey advice and make a few tweaks, they’ll have a winning product.

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Tech News

Live captioning via AI is now available for Zoom, if a little limited

(TECH NEWS) In order to be more inclusive, and improve the share of information with your team, live captioning is a great option for your next Zoom call.

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Zoom live captioning

The ubiquitous all-father Zoom continues to prompt innovation–and in a time during which most companies are still using some form of remote communication, who can blame them? It’s only fitting that someone would come along and try to flesh out Zoom’s accessibility features at some point, which is exactly what Zoom Live Captioning sets out to accomplish.

Zoom Live Captioning is a Zoom add-on service that promises, for a flat fee, to caption up to 80 hours per month of users’ meetings via an easy-to-implement plugin. The allure is clear: a virtual communication environment that is more time-efficient, more accessible, and more flexible for a variety of usage contexts.

Unfortunately, what’s less clear is how Zoom Live Captioning proposes to achieve this goal.

The live-captioning service boasts, among other things, “limited lag” and “the most accurate [speech-to-text AI] in the world”–a service that, despite its sensational description, is still only available in English. Furthermore, anyone who has experienced auto-captioning on YouTube videos–courtesy of one of the largest technology initiatives in the world–knows that, even with crystal-clear audio, caption accuracy is questionable at best.

Try applying that level of moving-target captioning to your last Zoom call, and you’ll see what the overarching problem here is.

Even if your Zoom call has virtually no latency, everyone speaks clearly and enunciates perfectly, your entire team speaks conversational English at a proficient degree across the board, and no one ever interrupts or experiences microphone feedback, it seems reasonable to expect that captions would still be finicky. Especially if you’re deaf or hard of hearing–a selling point Zoom Live Captioning drives home–this is a problematic flaw in a good idea.

Now, it’s completely fair to postulate that any subtitles are better than no subtitles at all. If that’s the decision you’d like to make for your team, Zoom Live Captioning starts at $20 per person per month; larger teams are encouraged to contact the company to discuss more reasonable rates if they want to incorporate live captioning across an enterprise.

Nothing would be better for speech-to-text innovation than being wrong about Zoom Live Captioning’s potential for inaccuracy, but for now, it’s safe to be a little skeptical.

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Tech News

Practicum: Boot camp and career coaching that won’t break your bank

(TECH NEWS) Practicum is a fully supportive remote boot camp to bridge tech workforce needs and job seekers. If you need a new career, this program is for you.

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Practicum classes

Back in 2018, there was rapid growth in emerging technologies and the job market was evolving. Yandex, a Russian multinational corporation specializing in Internet-related products and services (most known for their search engine) conducted internal research to find out what kind of professionals the market needed. The company then launched Practicum in response to the research findings to fill the skill gaps in the workforce.

Today there are similar shifts as more traditional jobs disappear either temporarily or indefinitely in response to COVID-19 and all things 2020. Meanwhile, the tech sector is still having trouble finding skilled professionals to fill vacancies. The ed-tech sector is evolving to meet the moment and Practicum by Yandex hopes to be a strong example of how to bridge the workforce and demand.

According to Anton Eremin, Head of Product at Practicum by Yandex, this program promises students 24/7 support from tutors, code reviewers, and peers, the soft skills that will get them hired, and the chance to create up to 15 real-life projects. The program is a fully supportive remote tech boot camp designed to help students prepare for, and land a job in a high-demand area of tech via a 20-hour intro course with practice-oriented learning on an interactive platform.

Students work in teams to improve soft skills, and get career coaching through the job hunting process. A career acceleration track is included in the price of the program, and teaches CV writing, portfolio design, and industry networking. The cost of the programs ranges from $600 to $1000 with free intro courses available before buying.

Practicum utilizes a fully remote team, and approximately 50% of the learning process is conducted on their interactive platform. Tutors have at minimum 3 years of experience in the field, work as full-time developers, and receive training in how to help students learn more efficiently. Students can choose from three tracks: Web Developer, Data Analyst, or Data Scientist.

A design track is reportedly being launched next month as well. There are no admission interviews, and the programs take from 6-10 months to completion. Though this is not the only online ed-tech program addressing these skills, according to Ermin what really sets them apart is the affordability, support, and a model that combines the best of an interactive simulator and boot camp; culminating building real-life projects.

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