Online meetings took center stage ever since offices across the world started working from home. While many companies are opening up their pre-pandemic office spaces, a hybrid model is expected to hold sway, with a proportion of employees continuing to work from home. Virtual meetings supported by business transcription services will hold teams together, allowing them to collaborate seamlessly regardless of their location.
Let’s take at a look at the different types of virtual meetings that are helping businesses stay connected:
- Conference Calls – Conference call software platforms are designed to help you hold group teleconferences. The call can involve as few as three people and is ideal to connect with partners, remote teams, multiple offices, and clients. A voice-only conference room can be set up easily within minutes if there is a business urgent issue to resolve or when a matter needs immediate attention. Today, software platforms with advanced video capabilities are the more popular option. With an internet connection or dial-in via phone, you can join a video conference from anywhere. In addition to allowing participants to see each other via screens, video conferencing platforms allow you to share screens in real time and record your conferences, which can be later converted into accurate text with the help of a meeting transcription service provider. They also offer file sharing, whiteboard-style collaboration, annotation, and virtual assistant features. Best-in-class video conferencing options include Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime, Cisco WebEx Business, Google Hangouts, and Uber Conference. With their simplicity, high accessibility, and advanced features, these platforms allow for easy collaboration, improve efficiency, and drive productivity.
- Instant Messaging (IM): Once used only for personal purposes, IM is now a useful, cost-effective business communication tool. This internet based service is ideal for both internal and external office collaboration. It can be used from phones, computers, in the office, or in the home. While it takes time to communicate via email, IM discuss matters via texts in real-time. With IM, you can quickly respond to clients and get their replies/feedback fast. Also, unlike IM, email can clutter your inbox. IM also has an edge over phone conversations where words can be misinterpreted. IM is useful when members have a strong, difficult-to-understand accent and are trying to communicate from a noisy environment. Most IM platforms save chats so that they can be referenced later. Top IM options include Whatsapp, Skype, Viber, WeChat, and Messenger.
- Web Conferencing: This is the ideal virtual option for presentations, e-learning, and meetings to simply share information and don’t need active collaboration. A company would use web conferencing to provide a quarterly business-wide update. Participants are provided a link to web conference which opens up on a web browser, and they can join it on their phone, tablet, or computer. Web conferences can include from 10 to hundreds or more participants from across the globe.
Unlike a video conference that is a synchronous form of communication where participants see each other as they hold discussions in real-time, web conferences can be asynchronous where responses do not happen in real-time. Ring Central explains how a web conference differs from a video conference: “Think of web conferencing vs video conferencing as a monologue vs dialogue. With web conferencing, one person presents on a topic to any number of participants. They might take questions as they go, but it isn’t a collaborative session. Video conferencing is better for generative conversations, with teammates exchanging ideas face to face in real time”. So in asynchronous web conference collaboration, discussions are ongoing but employees do not respond immediately. They can think about an issue and express their views and share knowledge later via email, news feeds, and channel discussions. Asynchronous web conferences allow remote workers in other time zones to participate in the ongoing dialogue.
- Webcasts: Webcasting involves broadcasting video or audio feeds over the internet. Companies use webcasts to host online events and reach an audience in various locations and countries across the world. Events hosted by webcasts include training, investor relations, brand awareness, corporate communication on important updates and information about the business, human resources, and more.
Here are five types of business meetings that can be held on a remote basis:
- Project Meetings – Video conferencing allows for robust remote project management, which involves various tasks from resource planning and progress tracking to task management, stakeholder expectation management, and project delivery. Remote meetings are held to determine the current status of an ongoing project. Online platforms allow every team member to provide insight and discuss existing challenges.
- Board Meetings: Board meetings are conducted at specific intervals to discuss important policy issues, evaluate performance, execute the board’s legal business, and take decisions on further actions. Virtual platforms allow the board’s decision-makers to participate from their home, office or other convenient location. With their interactive features, video conferencing allows continuous discussions in real-time.
- Annual General Meetings (AGM): This is a yearly meeting of the company’s directors and shareholders. With their advanced features, virtual platforms allow participants to engage seamlessly: directors can present the annual report of the company’s performance and shareholders can vote on current issues as well as appointments to the board of directors.
- Brainstorming Sessions: Virtual platforms are great for brainstorming events or innovation meetings. Teams can be provided with resources such as slides and instruction sheets which can keep everyone on the same page. Participants can express their ideas on online white boards and other shared tools.
- Breakout Sessions: Breakout sessions or breakout meetings are a workshop-type group activity that facilitate earning, polishing or sharing skills, discussions on common issues, and exploring ideas. They are short breaks from the conference agenda and often involve a participatory element that builds engagement and recaptures the audience’s attention. Breakout sessions can be easily organized on virtual platforms, allowing attendees to share ideas using a variety of tools.
Regardless of the type of meeting, converting the recording into easily readable text format is essential to increase engagement with the content and preserve it for future reference. Using professional audio transcription services is the best way to do this.