Meetings are essential to remote teams that don't communicate face-to-face, but without proper guidelines and tools to organize these meetings they can turn into huge time sucks.
For us at TeamGantt, time is scarce and valuable. It's why we schedule a company meeting once a month to catch up and discuss progress updates. It's a great time to Moreover, we use a variety of chat and video conferencing tools to communicate, some of which are great for setting up effective meetings.
Let's take a look at some of the coolest video conferencing tools that you can use to arrange and execute a productive meeting with your team:
Simple and available to everyone, we use Google Hangouts to set up our Monday meetings.
Google Hangouts creates a unique link that takes you to the same conference window, saving you the trouble of creating different windows for each meeting. Call quality is smooth and clear, and sharing files and quick messages in between conversations is easy. Finally, you can invite non-Google users to join your Hangout, so no one gets left out of the conversation.
One of the things to love about join.me is how easy it is to set up a conference call with just about anyone. In fact, my mentor Aaron used this app during my first two weeks of customer support training.
With a personal link to your conference call, you can host all of your group and one-on-one meetings in one window. Beyond voice and video calls, join.me allows you to share your screen for easy discussions, swap presenter roles, and relay your ideas with the new whiteboard feature. It's intuitiveness makes it one of the easiest yet powerful apps for meetings and conference calls.
Price: Free with premium plans for additional feeds and features.
No downloads. No registration. Room allows you to set up video meetings and screen sharing right on your browser.
It works similarly with join.me in that you only need to share the URL to your video meeting to get started. You can also save rooms to keep from creating new rooms for new meetings. Finally, Room has iOS and Android apps available so you can start and attend meetings wherever you may be.
The only limitation with Room is you can only chat with up to three people in one room. That being said, it works best for small teams that host one-on-one meetings.
MeetSpace is a relatively new video conferencing app designed for remote teams that communicate primarily through video conferencing.
Instead of a calendar or personal link, the app prompts you to just click on the meeting room to jump into the conversation. It also has interruption control where pushing the Space bar mutes your mic, allowing everyone in the meeting room a chance to speak.
It's currently in beta mode, so everyone can test it out for free.
Price: Free on beta
Good ol' classic Skype. This VoIP tool has been around for as long as anyone can remember, enabling individuals and teams to set up calls and instant messaging with people around the world.
Each conversation has its own chat window where you can screen-share, attach files and links, and cap your messages with emojis and gifs. You can have up to 25 people in one group call, and send calendar invites to the members of your meeting.
Price: Free or $2/user per month for Skype for Business.
Slack is a favorite for most remote teams because of how easy it is to communicate with one another online. With its call feature out of beta, everyone can use the call button to set up either a one-on-one with someone on the team or a group call with members of a particular channel.
Video calls aren't native to Slack just yet, but the company makes up for it through integrations with other screen sharing apps so meetings are always organized and effective. And with its recent acquisition of screen-sharing app Screenhero, paying users can expect video conferencing built into the app soon.
Price: Free with premium plans for additional features and storage.
While it doesn't have voice or video capabilities, I included Meetingbird in the list because of its unique project management approach to meetings.
The premise is that meetings aren't isolated events, and that you can group your meeting content based on specific purposes or categories. Everything about the meeting is collaborative in that your team can access, interact, and share in real time. They can also follow meeting agenda if they can't attend personally. Files, meeting notes, and messages are saved and searchable, so you never have to sift through hundreds of Google docs and email ever again.
Price: $8/user per month (more)
Our last contender complements the entire list by simplifying the scheduling process for you. Calendly allows you to create time slots based on your best available time for one-on-one or group meetings. You can then send a unique link to your event to anyone who would like to book a meeting with you.
What's great about Calendly is how well it automates the entire scheduling process, from booking to scheduling meetings to your favorite calendar. Time zones aren't an issue either, since Calendly automatically converts time zones so you never have to miss a meeting.
Price: Free with a $10/user per month premium plan
Your next meeting shouldn't be a dreadful and daunting experience. Try any of these apps for your next team conference call and see the difference it can make for you and your team.
Your turn: What is your current conference tool for team meetings? Let us know in the comments below.