Affordable Video Conferencing

By on Mar 26, 2015

I spend much of my time on conference calls. I bet you do, too. Today’s virtual world means we are increasingly collaborating with people from multiple locations. The traditional way of getting a geographically disperse group of people together are telephone conference calls. While these types of calls work OK, it is simply too easy to get distracted when you are not looking at the person(s) you are talking to.

I have received several questions about my recommendations for how to set up video conferencing. Here is an example:

“What would you recommend for video conferencing? Much more of our business is on a national platform now, and we would like our clients/prospects to be able to see us when talking on the phone. The problem is we want this to be as simple as possible, no lengthy downloads or complex installation instructions. If possible, a one-click connection. What would you recommend?”

Video conferencing is an excellent replacement for the old telephone conference call. Video technology is significantly better today than ever, and the cost has dropped. Moreover, Internet speeds are fast enough to make a video conferencing solution easy to implement.

There are several benefits of being able to see the person as you are talking:

  • Better communication: There is just something about being able to see people while on the call that makes us feel more connected. Being able to see their facial expressions and body language helps reduce misunderstandings.
  • Reduces distractions: It is much harder to not pay attention when people can see what you are doing. This will help your meeting be more productive and, hopefully, shorter.
  • Sharing information: Most video conferencing platforms provide a chat function. This is where you can send a quick website link or other note that other participants can use.
  • See more: Most video conferencing platforms also provide the ability to share a computer screen. Instead of trying to explain what you are talking about, you just share your screen with the group, and everyone can see what you are showing. I have found this to be particularly helpful when talking with someone else.

In addition to using video conferencing for office and team meetings, it is an excellent tool to use for more effective communication with clients.

There are a number of platforms available that you can explore. Some are quite expensive but might have functions a larger organization would find helpful (WebEx or GoToMeeting). Some are available at no cost but might not have everything you want.

I have been using Join.me for a couple of years. It is easy to use, low cost, and has all of the functionality I have needed. I recently have been experimenting with Zoom – a relatively new entrant – that is also very easy to use.

The table below will provide a few platforms you can explore.

Software Join.me Zoom GoToMeeting Adobe Connect Skype Google Hangout
# Attend N/A 25 100 25 5 15
$ Year $180 $120 $468 $540 $120 $0
Screen Sharing Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mobile Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Group Chat Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
1-Click Join Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Schedule Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Recording Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Webinar Yes-$ No Yes Yes No Yes

 Are you using a video conferencing solution in your organization? What platform have you found to be effective? Let me know in the comments below.

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