Meeting

Getting together wherever you are

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.  - Carl Jung, Psychologist

 

Face to face meetings are the most interactive meeting experience and are so natural. We probably don't have to think too much about meeting face to face as most of us have done it so many times. Sometimes we don't want to meet face to face or can't due to locations or schedules. Meeting online allows us to build on the phone conference by using tools that enable us to share ideas and information visually.


In this guide:



Getting Started

  1. Create an agenda
  2. Schedule the meeting with your fellow participants
  3. Send links to other participants prior to meeting with details of any preparation and conference numbers or links
  4. Screen share the agenda 
  5. Show other documents as necessary

Tips

  • Consider arranging for participants to send an Instant Messenger (IM) chat message prior to starting the call, that way you can wait until everyone has arrived before starting
  • Ensure other participants are set up and comfortable with any challenging technology, perhaps have a 1-1 prior to the meeting
  • Don't allow the technology to take over from your meeting's purpose
  • Have a back up plan in case things go wrong
  • Remember to pause the screen if you need to do things on your computer that might be distracting
  • If possible use 2 screens, screen sharing will work on your 1st screen and an extended desktop can be used to manage the call

Tools

All the tools listed here are really useful.

Audio (video)

I put video in brackets as my preference is not to use video on meetings that are more than 1-1. Also from experience a lot of people I work with 1-1 prefer not to use video. This is for a couple of reasons: unless you have two screens you probably won't be able to see your colleague while working on your meeting content. It takes up quite a bit of processing power.

I recommend Skype for audio for small group/team meetings. It works reliably with other Skype users. Skype has a nice group conversation tool that enables you to see when sound is being picked up on participant microphones. This is good so you can invite people to speak and also to deal with any technical set up challenges. I have found the noise cancellation on Skype to be excellent and not often causing "feedback" loops. The limitations with a Skype conference is that when you call you call the whole group and adding participants in one by one takes a little getting used to  The other challenge I've found is when I have had a number of participants with landline or mobile numbers.


The other alternative that works really well is using a normal phone conferencing service in conjunction with some screen sharing software, the cost might be charged per minute per participant but it does handle the arrival of people with an announcement and saves on your computing power. Yuuguu mentioned below has a number that links to the webshare for this purpose.

Screen Sharing

It really helps you to be in the same page in terms of focus when you are looking at the same page. It is really useful to share documents, presentations and show others how to use software by sharing your screen. 

My favourite tool, that I have extensively used for this, is Yuuguu. I love the fact that it is really easy to invite others to view your screen, they don't need to download software, it shows in the browser, it integrates with Skype, the participant can be allowed to take control of your screen. It is also a free tool - there is a time limit on monthly use before you have to subscribe.

http://www.yuuguu.com/home

In the version of Skype released January 2010 screen sharing has been built in. This is really useful and easy to get into when you are using Skype for your conference call. The limitations though are that it appears everyone needs to have that  version of Skype for it to work and there is no remote control option. This is all free.

http://www.skype.com

Meeting Rooms/Places:

Although you could do a basic webinar with yuuguu and a conference call there are tools that integrate audio, presentation, whiteboards and chat.The audio tends to work best when only one or two people have a microphone at any one time and often this control mechanism is built into the software. They tend to take a little bit more setting up and practice than the simple screen sharing and audio. My view is that these tools are the right tools to use for bigger meeting/webinars

Commerical tools (very good, subscription based)

http://www.webex.co.uk/  - from Cisco

https://www1.gotomeeting.com - from Citrix

Real Example of Meeting

http://onlinecollaborationconsultant.blogspot.com/2010/01/one-to-one-online-meeting-plan.html


Further Information

This site is run by Jason Reed. I am committed to providing impartial advice about online collaboration. I will suggest tools that I believe are really useful, there are lots of tools out there the key to success is having a go.

I blog my on going online collaboration experiences at:

I have developed a course that is available for others to teach and can be found at:

For more information about me, my profile is available at:

I've hopefully kept things simple by picking out some useful tools that you can get going with. The intention is to develop valuable content but not overload with information. 

Please contact me If you have any questions or suggestions or if you require consultancy, coaching or training to develop online collaboration for you, your team or organisation. I am also available to facilitate online collaboration.

Other useful links:

http://virtualmeetingcoach.com/


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