Criteria for Comparing Online Meeting Software

Online meeting software, at its most basic, mimics a boardroom meeting but does away with a stuffy office and jet lag. Instead, participants are required to do little more than log on to their computers and tune in at the scheduled time. Selecting the right meeting software requires knowing what type of tools you will need for your meeting, as well as understanding the technical aspects of the attendees.

Online Meeting ComparisonThere are several different types of software for online meetings to choose from, and it is important to understand the tools and features offered by each one. Most software companies will offer free trials of their software so that users can test them before committing. When you have selected software to try, make sure that it is compatible with your hardware. Most software will work with both Macs and PCs, but it is still important to check. You must also consider the ease of access. Many software models allow users to set-up online meetings in only a few minutes. The content of your meeting is important, and you don’t want participants wasting time learning how to operate the software.

Important Online Meeting Features to Consider

The features provided with the online meeting software will ultimately sway most users toward one application or another. The most important features that you should consider are voice and visual communication. Most meeting software allows voice connections over a phone as well as through chat. In an effort to host web meetings entirely online, some software also offers VoIP. This eliminates the need for phones and can help to solve problems in areas where cell phone reception is poor. Having a good form of communication is one of the most important parts of online meeting software, as it ensures that the meeting attendees will have a clear understand of the message being presented. It is also important to consider the visual aspect of your web meeting. Video may seem like the best choice, but a lack of good webcam support and a high learning curve causes most people to steer away from direct video conferencing. A good alternative is screen sharing. Most online meeting software offers screen sharing options, which include allowing those attending the meeting to view the computer screen of the host. Depending on the chosen software, the host may also be able to share different screens with different people, allowing certain parts of the meeting to move in different directions.

Understand your Online Meeting Needs

Some online meeting software will also offer extensive control over the meeting. If you are planning on running a meeting with a large number of participants, it can be handy to be able to separate people into groups and have the ability to mute or focus on a particular group. Good online meeting software will also feature some kind of drawing or highlighting tool. This way, participants can be drawn to certain important areas of the screen without the use of long verbal clues. Make sure that you understand the features and limitations of your online meeting software before making a commitment.

Consider the Online Meeting Use Cases

You should also be sure to consider the different use cases for online meetings when deciding upon which software provider to settle with. Different features available can be beneficial at some times, but you may need other features for other cases. Consequently you could find yourself stuck with insufficient software for all your different screen sharing and online meeting needs.

During the time when online meetings first entered the business world, the common use cases were fairly limited compared to today’s web conferences. Further features, fast Internet speeds, greater global reach has allowed for a wide range of different use cases via the use of online meeting software.

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