Virtual Meetings: 53 Fantastic Tools, Ideas, Tips and where to find them.
Virtual meetings are now becoming very popular in all sorts of industries, including the event industry. Meeting Apps can help you save money or even generate more revenue as an event organiser. However, this applies only when you use the right strategies and knowledge.
There is no doubt the event industry is changing quickly and to adapt the use of virtual meeting technology has become essential. There are so many kinds of tools you can use. We did a bit of a research (quite a bit!) and in this post we would like to share with you the top choices we found in several categories (with extra suggestions).
If you don’t have time here’s a quick summary of 12 top tools:
Premier Messaging and file storage tools:
Premier Online Meeting platforms:
Premier Project Management Tools:
Top Knowledge Sharing and Team Collaboration Apps:
Are you curious to find out more about virtual meetings? Here is what we found out for you:
1. DEFINITION OF A VIRTUAL MEETING
2. POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES OF VIRTUAL MEETINGS
3. THE TOP ONLINE MEETING APPS AND PLATFORMS FOR EVENT ORGANISERS
4. 42 BRILLIANT TECH APPS FOR BETTER VIRTUAL CONFERENCING
5. 8 TOP TIPS FOR EXCEPTIONAL ONLINE MEETINGS
HERE IS WHAT WE HAVE IN STORE FOR YOU
DEFINITION OF A VIRTUAL MEETING
Virtual Meetings are videoconferences held virtually online instead of in person, with both audio and video.
This can be hosted for groups of 2 or more (hundreds or thousands depending on the chosen tool) people connecting in the same city or anywhere around the world with an Internet connection. This system is often a cost and time saving strategy compared to travelling far away for hours. It can be easily done from work or at home. In that case make sure you have a good connection and a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted.
What you need:
– A good Internet connection
– Audio through your computer speakers and microphone or even just your mobile phone
POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES OF VIRTUAL MEETINGS
|Advantages of Online Conferencing||Disadvantages of Online Conferencing|
|Anyone attending the virtual meeting has no travel expenses.||It may be difficult to set a virtual meeting time that everyone can participate, especially with different time zones.|
|Most videoconference platforms are free and easy to use.||Technical issues might keep someone to participate.|
|It’s ideal for busy people always on the move or not able to travel at the same time.||Compatibility and speed problems for those not connecting from an office.|
|People who don’t normally meet can be brought together.||Non-verbal communication such as body language is more difficult to notice.|
|Production is constant even out of the office.||It’s more challenging to make the meeting engaging.|
While teamwork is extremely vital to a virtual meeting, without the right tools, that would be not possible to happen. This is why we are now going to explain to you the tech behind all this process.
THE TOP ONLINE MEETING APPS AND PLATFORMS FOR EVENT ORGANISERS
So, here we are to help you with the right technology for you.
What is the best platform to help you achieve the best virtual meetings?
We did some research of our own and below is the complete list of platforms and apps we thought are worth for you to have a look at.
We used many of these tech tools ourselves. We selected those with the best quality/price compromise (most of them are free anyway. Happy days!)
We selected the top companies based on:
– Adaptability: we gave priority to systems that are adaptable for Macs, PCs and mobile. In case of any restrictions we made a note of them.
– Business Sector: some software is a better match with a specific industry or service (for example an advertising agency). Most techs are for general resolutions and we specified whenever there was a particular project purpose.
– Price value: we looked for multiple purpose apps with no unjustified overprice.
-Combination: do these platforms work well along other systems you are already using? Although we can’t know what software you use, we mentioned anything that might trigger technical combination problems.
– Efficiency: we researched virtual meeting platforms that collaboration systems that are easy and flexible to use, to give everyone access to them.
42 BRILLIANT TECH APPS FOR BETTER VIRTUAL CONFERENCING
Before selecting your ideal virtual meeting platform you may want to consider:
– Costs. We all like cheap or even free services, although you need to keep in mind the value this technology can add to your company, making any expense definitely worth it.
– Simplicity. All tech we selected is easy to use so you won’t have to spend the whole virtual meeting trying to understand how it works.
– An all-in-one answer to your needs. A unique solution for one team that saves you paying for several platforms offering the same service.
The online meeting tech is a wide topic. That’s why we’ve organised it into different categories you might want to use.
ONLINE CONFERENCING APPS
Significant and well-known digital communication platforms:
Yes this is a virtual meeting app for business too. Apple recently confirmed that group chats will be available for up to 32 people with iOS12. The update will put in evidence those who are talking. Only one defect: this is available for Apple users only.
This famous video call system allows participants to connect from anywhere around the world. A major advantage is that most people already know this app. Some issues may be sound and visuals get off sometimes.
This app was launched in 2013 and in 2017 focused on offering this service especially to corporate offices. This platform provides video calls and chats for up to 50 people and texts. It’s compatible with both Android and iOS. In the near future the app will work with Skype, Cisco and Polycom and many others. Meet is part of G Guite so you can invite participants directly from your email or calendar. However, only G Suite users can invite others.
Zoom can be from a free videoconference platform to a £15.99 a month per host plan. It can host up to 200 video callers and it even has unlimited cloud storage for the enterprise plan.
Advantages: the free plan can host up to 100 people connected.
Disadvantages: the free version has a 40 minute limit for groups.
This virtual meeting platform allows screen sharing, URL personalisation, and even a customised meeting background. If you are planning to set a large online conference, prices start at £10 per month per person.
Advantages: keeps your listeners engaged through the whiteboard option.
Disadvantages: when someone connects to the call there is no warning.
This software has been around for a while and it’s widely chosen by many enterprises. You can try it for free thanks to the 14-day trial and the plans start from £10.50 per organiser per month, with up to 150 participants.
Advantages: they offer an unlimited amount of meetings so if you have many appointments with few participants this might be ideal for you.
Disadvantages: the download can give you some issues. It’s not currently possible to connect from the cloud.
Additional online meeting platforms to have a look at:
This software has video call and collaboration tools, with screen sharing and public or private chats.
This software is more directed to webinar content. It has many more features than just simply video meetings.
AdobeConnect is perfect for workshops, webinar and online training.
Cisco WebEx Meetings
WebEx meetings can be used from your smartphone, it can host up to 40,000 participants and it has screen sharing features.
Amazon Chime is paired with Amazon Alexa, the virtual assistant. It’s specifically built for enterprises having virtual meetings, calls or text chats.
This virtual meeting service includes IM, whiteboard features and screen sharing.
This platform has personalising profile features, screen sharing and whiteboard options. The cool thing about it is that it’s on a cloud so users don’t need to download anything.
Another could platform. It’s free and has teams and enterprise offers for its virtual meetings options.
ONLINE MEETINGS ADD-ONS
There are several additional services you can add on top of your virtual meetings. The selected the best ones for you:
Google Drive is a cloud where you can share and download files. It’s intuitive and fast although online editing can be challenging sometimes.
Slack is a communication system for your team. There are chats, personalised interfaces and can be integrated with other office tools. It’s the best way to reduce internal emails, although it’s a bit pricier than its competition. Standard Slack’s plan costs £6.30 per active user per month or £11.70 for its plus package. Good news is you can apply for refunds when your employees are not operational for a specific month.
Microsoft created this sort of business social network where both your employees and clients can share their work and build projects together. It’s easy to use although it has limited personalisation.
REAL-TIME STREAMING PLATFORMS
A newbie in the virtual meetings industry, this software is set for online events such as virtual meet-ups, congresses, petitions, chats and much more. This tool is ideal to transition a physical exhibition or conference into a virtual event. It even has templates, based on the kind of online meeting you are organising. The price depends on your event structure: if you are hosting a paid event they do the ticketing for you and gain a 25%. If the event is free a fee per participant will be charged.
iVent is perfect for conferences, exhibitions, product launches and even 365 virtual environments. There are no templates and the platform can be fully personalised and branded. They have a live and on-demand streaming system that helps event planners to transmit High Definition material live.
INXPO is an enterprise webcast platform suited to marketing experts, communications specialists and the event professionals. Their offer ranges from real-time streaming and webcasts to online events and video portals for live and on-demand communications.
WorkCast is a provider that can help you with hosting your conference or event online. You can create a cloud-based webinar, webcasts for up to 50,000 people or virtual events for worldwide audiences. Through this platform you can manage and monitor your events. The packages offer 3 plans: Present+ (£95 per month, up to 500 participants), Producer+ (£395 up to 5,000 participants), and Enterprise (tailored price – quote based, for up to 50,000 participants).
Ubivent with meetyoo
Ubivent is a virtual solution for events such as virtual conferences and fairs, employee events, career fairs, press and marketing meetings, online academies and live streaming. It’s made in a way that users can interact with speakers through Q&A and chats among each other. The software offers templates and can be fully personalised too.
UgoVirtual is a travel and hospitality virtual solution that creates digital industry tradeshows, brand meetings and corporate events. It’s like a Virtual Reality replicating what the event venue would look like in reality. In fact, it combines VR, e-learning and e-conferencing all in one place. Anyone can attend from anywhere. Cool right?
This software allows you to host virtual job fairs, online exhibitions, virtual congresses and much more. Participants can interact through chats, real-time webinars and virtual content. It can be even fully personalised.
ONLINE INTERACTION AND COOPERATION
Glisser is an audience engagement software for virtual meetings, live events and the classroom. It can be used for slide sharing, audience response and event analytics. It includes a 14 days free trial that gives you access to all options for any amount of participants.
Microsoft Teams is an app that enables you to collaborate with your colleagues through chats, file storage, meetings and calls. It’s free unless you need premium features like meetings recordings or management options. In that case you can purchase it as Office 365, from £3.80 per user/month to £9.40 per user a month.
NetworkTables is a tool that enables event attendees to network with relevant people. It integrates ticketing options and has the ‘roundtable’ feature that shows who’s attending the meeting, which can be both online or offline.
Remo Conference can be a virtual conference or virtual office. It provides webinars, real-time Q&As and event analytics. Pricing starts from $50 per host per month up to 50 participants each event (1h 15mins/event) and a 14 days trial is available. In addition, due to the COVID-19, they are currently offering 20% off on all packages.
Icebreaker Video offers real-time group chats, 1-on-1 video meetings, curated content, app-messaging, focused on creating a connection among people before attending actual events.
QiqoChat is made for online collaboration. Their aim is to build relationships through video-breakout sessions made in a more interesting way than simple webinars. Groups of people can connect through video calls or chats, screen share, schedule coordination tools, project manage and task track and use whiteboards. First 1000 minutes are free.
PSAV offers a wide choice of event planning, design and technology tools, encouraging collaboration and efficiency at the same time. For example, ClickShare allows several speakers to share their presentations in a single mouse-click or event network with their listeners through the app. Quite handy for conferences and exhibitions.
Socio specialises in event apps for exhibitions, trade shows and conferences of different sizes. It can be fully personalised and it allows networking interaction through messaging and it boosts engagement with surveys, Q&As, Polls, meeting scheduling and more.
AIDA is an instant mobile App Maker, for Android and iOS, to build events engagement, employee interaction, internal communication, event registration and ticketing, event management and more. Ideal for conferences, meetings, trade shows and big size corporate events. It offers more than 80 features and it’s free up to 25 users. The price for up to 250 users goes up to $499 per event and $899 for up to 500 users per event.
EVENT MANAGEMENT TOOLS
The following apps can help you with project management to deliver events in the most efficient and easier way.
Basecamps is a project management and internal communication software. It can be paired with other apps although instant chats are labelled and that can cause some technical issues.
Trello enables you to organise and prioritise your team’s tasks. The visual design makes it easier to use. However, no time tracking is available.
This project collaboration tool allows you to plan and manage your team’s work all in one place, keeping track of it and making sure to deliver your projects on time. The free version is u to 15 users. A defect is this software is for browser only, as there is currently no app for it.
MIND MAPPING AND KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT
Brainstorming and strategy are essential in the creative process. The best apps we selected for you involve:
IdeaFlip is a web app for group brainstorms and individual ideas. The app is free to view even for those without an account. However, no analytics are available.
This software is like a digital sticky notes system. You can personalise your board and share it with your team.
This knowledge engagement platform supports users in sharing your company’s information, increasing teams’ efficiency. Labels and search help you looking for what you need. It might give you incompatibility issues with iPad Pro.
8 TOP TIPS FOR EXCEPTIONAL ONLINE MEETINGS
1. Plan the Objectives you want to Focus on and choose the Right Online Meeting Platform to develop them.
2.Set Guidelines that Involve Everyone and ensure Expectations are Accessible and Clear.
3. Assign a Team Leader to guide Online Meetings interaction and allow everyone to be heard.
4. Use communication tools that are accessible to everyone and easy to use.
5.Allocate Timekeepers, Note Takers and extra Roles to keep everyone engaged.
6.Be one step ahead and locate potential technical issues you may face at some point.
7.Look into the camera as you would look into your listeners’ eyes.
8. Use Neutral Conversation Starters that everyone can identify with (temperature, weather, etc. ).
Online meetings can be of great value to your company, as long as you keep in mind your goals and expectations, using the right tools and keeping the audience engaged.
Do you recommend any other software we did not mention?
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