Let’s be frank, Skype is fantastic for one-on-one interactions or discussing business amongst a small group of colleagues. The problem with Microsoft’s voice-and-video chat software appears when you attempt to do anything other than talk to a handful of people –it gets overwhelmed with messages and voices too quick for much sense to be made of the conversation.
Depending on your goals with an online business meeting, there are a handful of alternatives to Skype that’ll help you get the discussion or presentation done more efficiently.
Group Meetings and Presentations – ClickMeeting
When it comes to full-featured online meetings and presentations, ClickMeeting should be a top choice for professionals. Insofar as Skype functionality is concerned, ClickMeeting has it all and then some.
Featuring audio and video conferencing, moderated Q&As, private chat and full desktop sharing, there are still a ton of options that make ClickMeeting superior for business discussions than Skype. These include rebranded meeting and waiting rooms and instant translation of chat conversation. It’s this kind of flexibility that makes the software a champion when it comes to international business ventures.
Another significant aspect of ClickMeeting that makes it one of our favorites is the ability to integrate social and calendar apps into its usefulness. From sharing webinar information with Facebook and Twitter to scheduling and inviting through Google Calendar, the app assimilation makes setting up and managing meetings painless.
In-app viewer polling, post-meeting statistics and meeting recording options round out this robust replacement to Skype for businesses.
Off-Site Computer-Based Guidance – Mikogo
The name of Mikogo’s game is screen sharing. The program allows for one user, the presenter in our case, to take over another person’s computer (with permission from the other user, of course) to demonstrate precise steps. This is a great option for those who’re demonstrating new software or techniques to new users or off-site employees.
However, the rest of Mikogo’s conferencing features fall in line with most of what other online meeting programs do, including voice conferencing, whiteboard, mobile participation and more. Additionally, one of the problems encountered with the software was a small stuttering lag when taking over others’ computers, which was only a minor annoyance. Otherwise, the web-based viewing options and total remote PC control make Mikogo a go-to program for those of us who don’t want to spend an hour describing something that can be done in five minutes.
Quickest to Get Talking – Google Hangouts
For those times when you just want to use skype but others don’t have it installed, Google Hangouts will usually fill your needs and won’t require much setup. Since it’s likely most anyone you’re trying to do business with has a Google account, all they really have to do is head to the website and click “Get Hangouts” and use it either through Google+ or Chrome. It’s likewise available for install on mobile devices, as are Skype and ClickMeeting.
Another benefit of using hangouts is that it can be broadcast directly -and saved- to YouTube, allowing anyone to watch the replays later; which is great for any presentation that goes over non-proprietary instructional material. Beyond that, Google Hangouts doesn’t really offer much else. The only reason you’d really ever want to use it in a business setting is when you’re having a small conversation, others don’t have another chat program installed, and they already have an account with Google.
Otherwise, your online business communications should be well met with a combination of Skype and ClickMeeting with Mikogo taking the reins for very specific tasks. Whatever the case, good luck with your ventures!