5 Tips to Make Online Meetings Run Smoothly

Posted by Posted on by
0

This is a guest post by Michael Essany of Null Media

With the increasing use of online business applications and remote working habits, the modern workplace can often reap more benefit from timely online conferences rather than face-to-face on-site interactions. And not surprisingly, continued technological development and corporate cost-cutting pressures around the world will keep fueling the rampant growth of virtual meetings in the years to come.Businessman working on laptop in his office.

“In these tough economic times,” offers Brent Arslaner in BusinessWeek, “advancing technologies are making virtual events not only a less expensive replacement for physical meetings but also a superior one. Why do we have meetings and events? 1) to exchange information; and 2) to network. Virtual meeting and event technology can facilitate these two objectives easily.”

Fortunately for employers and employees alike, the advantages of conducting a meeting online can be as pronounced as they are plentiful. But with the added convenience, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of virtual meetings also come plenty of caveats to consider before your next web-based powwow. To better ensure glitch-free virtual gatherings in the future, here are a few battle-tested tips to make online meetings go smoothly:

  1. Set an agenda and stick to it. A meeting without a basic structure runs the risk of becoming a chaotic mess that falls short of achieving its goals. Create the same focused, professional atmosphere you would in a face-to-face meeting by emailing an agenda to all participants well in advance of the meeting. Give each person an opportunity to share their observations and feedback.
  2. Be concise. Few attributes are more important in online meetings than brevity. No one wants to listen to colleagues ramble or drone on incessantly. And, whereas it’s difficult to doze off unnoticed when you’re seated in a board room with 12 other people, it’s easy to do so when you’re secluded in your home office. If your digital conference requires more than 45 to 60 minutes, break it up into parts.
  3. Multitasking is a no-no. For some participants, online meetings present the perfect opportunity to catch up on other tasks. From checking your email to scanning your Twitter feed, there’s so much you could but shouldn’t do during a virtual conference. Out of respect for your colleagues and to dodge a distraction that might lead to disaster, pay attention — and keep your multitasking to a minimum.
  4. Choose a quiet location. Online meetings enable remote participants to attend without having to travel. But that doesn’t mean your location doesn’t matter. It does. Nothing interrupts or interferes with a virtual gathering like background noise and distractions (traffic, a barking dog, a blaring television, etc.). Be courteous to fellow meeting participants and take yourself, your laptop, or your smartphone to someplace quiet.
  5. Get to know the platform. Never assume that you’ll know “on the fly” how to navigate the computer software that makes your online meeting possible. It goes without saying that virtual meetings are always best served by the use of a platform that delivers a multitude of key web conferencing features. But regardless of the platform, whether you’re the facilitator or a silent participant, familiarize yourself with it before — and never during — a meeting.

Track your Meetings from Soup to Nuts

Posted by Posted on by
1

When scheduling meetings with tons of customers, it is mighty difficult to keep track of everything. Zoho Meeting helps you track your online meetings easier, right from scheduling meetings, adding to your favorite Calendar App, ensuring your invitation email delivery to your customers, till getting reminded just before your meeting. Our settings for calendars, email reminders and invitation email failure notifications will help you to achieve this. Enabling calendar settings will generate an event in your calendar for the meeting at the scheduled time. If you reschedule the meeting, you need not change your events, calendars will be updated automatically!

Keep track of your scheduled meeting easier

Track using Google Calendar
Enabling the ‘Add meetings to Google calendar‘ setting will create an event in your Google calendar, for each meeting created in Zoho Meeting. When you invite your attendees with their GMail id, the meeting event will be added to their Google Calendar automatically! You may need to provide your authentication credentials and approve access to your Google account.

Track using Zoho Calendar
Of course, you can also track all your scheduled meetings using Zoho Calendar. By default, all your scheduled meetings will be added as events in Zoho Calendar. You can change this behavior in Settings tab.

Add to Outlook CalendarAdding to Outlook and other Calendars
If you are using Outlook, Yahoo or other Calendar Apps, you can add events to your calendar by clicking on ‘Add to my calendar‘ link from the invitation email or the web link. The event will be automatically recognized and added in your favorite Calendar App.


Ensure Invitation Email Delivery
Invitation Mail Failure Notification
The fact is, in most cases with other platforms you never really know if your invitation has reached your customers successfully. With Zoho Meeting you don’t have to worry about it, you can ensure the delivery of invitation email to your customers. If, for some reason like wrong email Id or customer’s mail server issue, the in
vitation mail gets bounced or not delivered to the Participant’s inbox, you will receive the delivery-failure message as a feed. You can view this in your left bottom notification bar once you login to Zoho Meeting. You can then re-check the email address and decide to resend the invitation mail, or re-invite your Participant.


Email Reminders

Most of us wanted to avoid eleventh hour frenzy for the meetings. Get reminded by emails at your preferred time span before the meeting starts. You can enable ‘Email Reminder‘ option and receive reminder emails a few minutes, hours or even a day before the scheduled time. With this setting enabled, all your meeting attendees will also receive the reminder invitation email.


What are you waiting for? Schedule a meeting with Zoho Meeting today and track your meeting ea
sier!

Just In: Zoho Meeting HTML Viewer!

Posted by Posted on by
6

Any online meeting or web meeting will be a painless experience only if joining the meeting is easy and simple. Zoho Meeting, our simple and secure online meeting provider, has made joining a meeting much simpler now, with our new HTML viewer. A viewer is a web page or plugin, with which one can join an online meeting. Zoho Meeting has been offering three viewers, based on Java, ActiveX and Flash for the participants so far. Our Flash-based viewer was developed to do away the installation. But again, it depends on the flash plugin. Hence, we started exploring the latest html technology to get rid of even such minimal dependencies. Thus, we created the new HTML viewer.

This new HTML viewer neither requires any installation nor is dependent on any plugin. Just a single click to join a meeting leads you to the viewer and within seconds you will be inside the meeting.

The HTML viewer is

  • secure, supports corporate proxies and firewalls as the data transmission happens entirely through web browser
  • robust and increases the screen refresh rate i.e., the speed of the desktop sharing
  • browser-friendly, as html talks in the browser’s native language, which is not the case with plugins.
  • user friendly, as participants can request control to the host desktop seamlessly.
  • supported by Google Chrome (1+), Mozilla Firefox (3.0+), Internet Explorer (9+), Safari (3+) and Opera (9.5+).

Do check out our Live Demo to see this viewer in action. Also, check the step-by-step guide to enable HTML viewer for your meeting participants.

Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Zoho Meeting: Corporate Branding and Organization Management!

Posted by Posted on by
2

Zoho Meeting, the easiest and most effective online meeting tool recently added full support for Mac users. Today, we’re happy to share that we also offer customization for brands and organizations. Corporate organizations, educational institutions, consultancy firms and IT support organizations, who conduct online meetings can all benefit from this feature. Users who buy the Professional Edition of Zoho Meeting can avail the corporate branding feature. You can use your organization name and logo and your users will see it as part of your own service/brand.

Also, Zoho Meeting offers a custom portal URL for organizations. For example, Contours, Inc. can avail a custom URL like http://meeting.zoho.com/a/srk/. This custom URL will bear your brand name and logo, where your customers can join or login to a meeting. Cool, isn’t it? But, it’s not all. You will also have the following Administration features to effectively manage your organization.

  • User Management – You can add or remove users in your organization. You can view the added users along with their joining status, email ID and user name. These added users can also host meetings other than you, and they can invite customers or colleagues to the meeting.
  • Meeting Management – You can view all the meeting sessions, including the current sessions, conducted by your organization users, along with the meeting details. You will have three timeline view options to track your meetings.
  • Reports Management – You can generate detailed reports just by entering the respective user name and the respective time frame. The detailed reports will have the date, time, duration of the meeting, presenter and details. This could help you to analyze your meetings. Your organization users can also view the reports of their respective meetings.

So, why wait? Sign up for Zoho Meeting Professional Edition today. It starts at just $12/month. You can check out the step-by-step guide here.

Do tell us your opinions about this feature either by dropping a line below or you can catch us at Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

Zoho Meeting is Mac friendly now!

Posted by Posted on by
0

An increasing number of Mac users seem to love Zoho Meeting. And, a growing number of Zoho Meeting customers switch between Mac and Windows systems. We’re happy to announce that Zoho Meeting, the easy-to-use yet robust tool to conduct online meetings, is now offering full support for Mac OS.

Our exclusive Mac plugin helps start or schedule meetings with just a few clicks, right from the desktop. The installation of the plugin is hassle-free and takes only a few minutes. Also, Mac users can share their screen or join meetings started in Windows and vice-versa.

The Key features of the Mac edition are:

  • Invite Participants just by entering their email address or by sending the direct link
  • Join meetings easily as the service provides Java and Flash viewers (supported by most browsers, Safari, Firefox etc.)
  • High quality Audio Conferencing as well as an instant chat
  • Switch between Presenters during a meeting
  • Works with all versions of Mac
  • Remote control

Besides the free edition of Zoho Meeting for Mac Users, we also have Professional Editions which are priced the same as the Windows Editions, starting at just $12/month.

So, if you’re a Mac user, check out our wiki for detailed notes, grab your Mac desktop plugin here, and start playing with the features. Do drop us a line about your experience and what other features you would like to see.

Zoho Meeting for Google Apps

Posted by Posted on by
0

Following the success of

Zoho Reports
,

Discussions
 and

Wiki
 in Google Apps marketplace, we’re happy to present to you ”

Zoho Meeting for Google Apps
” this week. Zoho Meeting, the easiest way to host web meetings instantly, is now available in Google Apps marketplace.

With

Zoho Meeting
, you can meet with your team members, clients and partners from around the world. Not just for one-on-one meetings, you can also provide remote support and even have multiple participants for a meeting.

Zoho Meeting for Google Apps brings you:


  1. SSO

    : Install Zoho Meeting in your account and access the service from Google’s universal navigation bar.

  2. Users/Contacts

    : All users in your Google Apps domain can be invited to a meeting.

  3. Calendar

    : You can mark your Google Calendar with the meeting appointments that you set up using Zoho Meeting.

To understand more about Zoho Meeting for Google Apps, do take a look at the below video.

And this presentation -

We promised 5 more apps, one each week.

4 of them are in
 and 1 more to go. What’s it going to be next week? Take a guess :-)

Zoho Meeting saves $24,475/month

Posted by Posted on by
0

Well, that’s the case atleast for us.

Back
in early 2000′s when web conferencing systems were becoming main
stream, we immediately noticed the value and subscribed to them. Our
travel costs came down as we started relying more and more on online
meeting solutions. We used these tools extensively for demos, training,
support etc. There were days we even ended up hosting over 100 web
conferencing sessions a day. As our usage went up, so did our monthly
costs. Infact, some time last year we were paying well over $20K/month
for our web conferencing needs. We even had months where we paid around
$26,155 as you see below.



Then,
Zoho Meeting came to the rescue. Following Zoho Meeting launch, our
internal users slowly started moving to our solution. As some external users also noticed, its simplicity won many internal users, not to mention the cost benefits.

Given
our current usage of Zoho Meeting, I asked our product manager to
calculate the amount we’ll have to pay if we were an external customer.
It turns out, we have around 100 hosts using the basic version of our
app (which costs $12/host/month) and we have around 20 power users
(which costs $24/host/month). So, if we were an external customer, we
will be paying 100*12+20*24 = $1,680/month.



You see the difference here? We were paying $26,155/month for WebEx last April and it came down to $1,680. A savings of $24,475/month.



Our WebEx usage numbers mentioned above were in Apr-May 2008. During
the past year and half, our usage kept going up and
Zoho Meeting’s integration with other Zoho Apps fueled it to
some extent.

I am sure most of you
don’t pay as much as we did for your web conferencing solution. If you
think you are paying more than you are comfortable, it is probably
worth shopping around. My ‘biased’ vote of course is on Zoho Meeting.
But then, you can try it yourself as it is free to start with.