8 Free & Low-Cost Virtual Meeting Tools to Keep Your Business Alive and Thriving
Updated: Mar 23, 2020
As I write this article, most in-person meetings and events are canceled or postponed for the foreseeable future. You need to keep your business alive and thriving, and like any smart business owner, you are looking for creative ways to meet with your team and clients.
One of the ways to do this is through the power of virtual meetings.
In my business, I work with clients 1,300+ miles away, have team members across Texas, and serve clients with online programs. As a result, I have the benefit and experience of using many of the popular online meeting platforms.
Here are my top eight picks for virtual meeting platforms to help you transition from live in-person meetings to virtual in-person meetings.
RingCentral gives you a lot of options when it comes to connecting with your virtual team and clients. Not only do they provide VoIP options, but they also offer a comprehensive business suite.
You can begin with a free plan for unlimited 1-1 meetings. Group meetings for up to 40 minutes and up to 100 participants. RingCentral allows you to affordably build your virtual team in the long term.
GoToMeeting has been around the longest and established the industry standard. As a result, they have a robust suite of plans and services.
Their entry-level plan is $12 per month per organizer for up to 150 participants.
The hottest meeting platform today is Zoom. It offers a broad range of capabilities, including live-stream to Facebook. Because of this advanced feature, it is especially popular for companies that rely on Facebook meeting and marketing. Those extra benefits can be pricey, but the free version provides a wealth of features. Here's an overview:
Personal Meeting Room
Host up to 100 participants (40 minute limit on group meetings.)
Unlimited 1 to 1 meetings
Unlimited number of meetings
Join by Telephone
Microsoft Teams Meetings
As part of the Microsoft suite of solutions, Meetings extends your existing Teams functionality by allowing you to:
Host Online meetings: Host audio, video, and web conferences with anyone. Get features such as scheduling assistance, meeting note taking, screen sharing, meeting recording, and instant messaging.
Turn an Online Meeting into a Live Event: Hold any meeting live—large meetings, webinars, company-wide events, and presentations with up to 10,000 attendees inside or outside your organization—with Teams live events.
Audio Conferencing Capabilities: Let people join meetings on the go with a global dial-in number or contact each other directly. All they need is a mobile device and Teams.
Meeting Device Integration: Start Teams meetings with one-touch join on Microsoft Teams Rooms devices from our certified partners Logitech, Crestron, Polycom, Lenovo, HP, Yealink.
GoToTraining is on the high end of the pricing scale, but if you provide ongoing training for your clients, this is likely the best resource. GoToTraining highlights its benefit of allowing you to host 25 separate courses, as well as request payment straight from the app. You also get GoToMeeting 25 as part of your subscription.
Hangouts Meet or Google Hangouts
If you have a GSuite account, Meet is included. The Meet website states: "Meet takes headaches out of joining a video call at work. Just set up a meeting and share a link. No worrying about whether teammates, clients, or customers have the right accounts or plug-ins. With a fast, lightweight interface and smart participant management, multi-person video calls are a breeze."
Hangouts is the free meeting and chat app included with each GMail Subscriber account. Easily connect with one or multiple users via email or phone number.
Skype is a Microsoft product and is available as an app or via desktop. From free to paid, Skype offers everything from VoIP to international meeting capabilities (including language translation).
Zoho Meetings has a FREE PLAN with limited features, including:
Custom registration form
Raise Hand/Allow to Talk
Up to 3 meeting participants (including presenter)
Up to 10 webinar attendees
Share screen for participants
If you have limited needs and a small team, Join.Me may just be the service for you. However, they do offer custom domains and backgrounds in their mid and top tier offerings. A nice benefit if you want to offer this service via your website.
Each platform provides great video tutorials. If you find yourself stuck in the decision-making process, I'm happy to help you work through the options. Just send me an email or text.
Without a doubt, our social-distancing experience will change the way many companies do business. With this information in your back pocket, you will be ahead of the curve.