When it comes to business communication, face-to-face meetings are always a popular pick. But with company branches scattered across the country—and often, the world—virtual meetings are becoming a frequent choice. Not only can online collaboration save time, but money as well. In fact, according to Verizon Conferencing, virtual meetings between five or more people are at least seven times less expensive than face-to-face meetings that require travel. That’s why every organization, whether small or large, should invest in reliable virtual meeting software.
There are several free options available today, but in order to have the best online collaboration possible, companies should look for providers offering a rich selection of features. Many believe they’ll be just fine with decent picture and sound, but having a variety of impressive features can make all the difference between effective virtual meetings and those that are a waste of time.
Here are eight features you should keep in mind when selecting virtual meeting software:
- HD video—Because your virtual meetings are replacing face-to-face meetings within your organization and/or with clients, it’s important that your meeting software includes high-definition video that will allow for the best picture possible. Look for virtual meeting software that provides a video resolution of at least 1080p. Being able to see participants on the other side will encourage dialogue and true collaboration.
- Quality microphone—Just as you’ll want high-quality video, it’s imperative to have access to reliable audio during virtual meetings. Online collaboration will be boosted when everyone can clearly hear what is being said.
- Security compliance—While web conferencing may not be the most likely target of a cyber-attack, it’s still a good idea to select an online meeting service that offers a secure solution. Such a solution should include authentication and encryption, end-to-end regulatory compliance and consolidated management.
- Tech support—It doesn’t matter where your team members are located or what type of device they are using—things can go wrong. And when they do, it’s in everyone’s best interests to have a virtual meeting software provider that can support your team and get things fixed ASAP.
- Content sharing—At some point, most online meeting presenters will want to share documents, applications, webpages, software or other visuals with the group. Select virtual meeting software that allows presenters to share their screens (or portion of their screens), as well as delegate control to other meeting participants.
- Recording and playback—In today’s business world where busy professionals attend more than 60 meetings per month, it’s common for at least one person—if not several—to miss a meeting. Recording and playback features make it simple for these team members to catch up on what they missed without wasting anyone else’s time. In addition, online collaboration can be saved for archiving purposes.
- Dial-in conferencing services—One reason for video or web conferencing is to maintain the visual aspect that’s appealing in face-to-face settings. However, some meeting participants may be traveling or on the go during the meeting, making a dial-in feature imperative. This feature gives participants the option to call into the meeting via their phone.
- Polling—When you are holding an especially large online meeting, it’s not possible to hear ideas from everyone. But taking a quick poll is a great way to solicit audience feedback, increase participation and keep your audience engaged.
If your organization is looking for the best alternative to face-to-face meetings, search for an online meeting service that provides a large range of features, including the eight listed above. Keep in mind your goals for online collaboration—which may include everything from increased productivity to decreased costs, a heightened sense of camaraderie among employees and more—and ensure that any service you engage will allow your organization to achieve these goals.