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How to Evaluate the Features of an Online Meeting Tool

According to a recent PGi webinar survey, everyone spends at least a quarter of their days in meetings, whether in a conference room or via an online meeting tool. Wouldn’t it be great if that time was actually well spent?

Unfortunately, meetings (online or in person) are all too often unproductive. In that same survey from “Hitting a Home Run With Collaboration,” nearly 28 percent said they’re productive half the time in meetings, and about 17 percent said meetings are mostly a waste of time.

Some of that misfortune is a result of holding onto old attitudes and unproductive habits in the way businesses run meetings. But sometimes technology is the culprit of bad meetings.

In fact, those respondents reported big frustrations with the user experience and features of online meeting tools. Nearly 41 percent hate downloading software to enter meetings, about 21 percent find meeting software too confusing, another 21 percent dislike poor audio quality and 16 percent hate a lack of mobility.

To ensure a more productive meeting experience for your team or enterprise, you must thoroughly assess the user experience and features of an online meeting tool before making major commitments. Between the robust features available and the range of use cases, though, how do you predict what everyone really needs?

Matching Features to Your Meeting Needs
If you’re evaluating the in-meeting features of a solution for your own team or department, it’s important to identify your most pressing meeting needs to determine which features most efficiently support them

Meetings serve a variety of functions, goals and audiences. They may facilitate one-on-one discussions or group presentations, information delivery or problem solving, relationship building or decision making, and there’s a feature to support each need.

For example, if you plan to share documents with external partners, you’ll need screen and file sharing. To host engaging presentations, on the other hand, polling and real-time chat would be most important.

Make Evaluations a Team Effort
Since collaboration’s not a one person job, bringing others into the evaluation process is a smart way to ensure an online meeting tool really serves everyone’s needs – especially if you’re selecting a tool for a small business or an entire enterprise of employees.

To evaluate the features for a range of roles, departments and use cases, you can:

  • Distribute surveys on which features employees would use most and what types of meetings they would use them for.
  • Create a team comprised of varying lines of business to make the evaluation process a joint effort.
  • Invite colleagues to test a free trial version and offer feedback.

Don’t Just Save Costs, Add Value

Most importantly, the features you need most are the ones that will grow with the changing pace of business collaboration, support productivity and foster innovation.

You need a meeting tool that gives your team more room to think big; that acts as a natural extension of how you collaborate and that supports the workplace of more movement, interaction, flexibility and freedom.

Whether you’re aiming to be a more customer-centric enterprise or a fast and agile small business, choose a tool that removes barriers and makes it easier to access every resource and expert in your company.

You don’t just need an online meeting tool – you need a partner in innovation. Learn more about PGi’s intuitive online meeting solutions for every business now.

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