No doubt about it, online capabilities have made it easier to hold meetings when the participants are scattered all over the map. It’s a benefit for contractors, freelancers, and other stay at home types that don’t want to (or can’t) drive into the actual physical workplace in order to attend a group meeting or project planning discussion of some sort.

The cloud adds even more oomph to online meetings, as we are about to see. We’ll take a look at how the cloud enhances meetings, and also how to make the whole process run smoother.

What You Need

Conducting an online meeting via the cloud is a remarkably simple undertaking, with no real differences from having a conference call. The host simply engages an online meeting service, usually a Software-as-a-Service product, sets up the meeting, everyone joins in, and there you go. None of the participants need to download anything special in order to participate; that’s the host’s job.

And remember that not every meeting needs to be a video conference. In many cases, an online audio meeting will suffice. Unless the subject matter somehow requires that the attendees actually see each other, really, what’s the point? Do you honestly want people seeing you scratch your nose? As the article “How to Set Up Online Audio Meetings with Cloud PBX” points out, online audio meetings are ideal for those quick little get-togethers that are called in order to address some unforeseen development.

Out of fairness, though, it should be mentioned that online audio meetings don’t give you any sort of real-time file sharing or other bells and whistles. It’s a trade-off.

What The Cloud Offers

Why use the cloud for online meetings? First of all, it’s extremely affordable; all you need is an Internet connection, a device to access it (and if it’s a laptop, it probably has a built-in camera already), a microphone, and whatever conference platform you’re using. Secondly, it’s scalable. You can use your tablet, smart phone, or iPad to participate. Finally, the cloud offers reliability, delivering a solid Internet connection, high-quality video, and online security.

If you’re conducting a cloud-based video conference, you’ll also be able to share documents, presentations, and videos, just as if everyone was present in the same room. Furthermore, all of those files can also be stored on the cloud for easy access afterwards.

How To Pull It Off Smoothly

Whether you’re using Zoom, Office 365, OmniJoin, or any other cloud-based meeting platforms, there are certain strategies that are applicable across the board when it comes to running an online meeting without a hitch. Here are some tips.

  • Plan Your Agenda Ahead Of Time.  You’d do this in a face to face meeting, so you better do it for online meetings as well. List your objectives, the points to be addressed, and the amount of time allocated for open discussion.
  • Familiarize Yourself With The Platform. Nothing is more time-consuming, or embarrassing for that matter, than a conference leader fumbling around with the controls to get things working properly. If you’re running the meeting, make sure you know how to software works, and what its capabilities are.
  • No Multi-tasking. This is easier to get away with if the meeting is just an audio conference, but the principle still applies. For better or for worse, you’re in a meeting, and you better stayed focused on it.
  • Pick A Good Location. You wouldn’t hold an important departmental cafeteria in the break room during lunchtime, so don’t pick a place where an abundance of background noise will cause distractions.

The cloud is everywhere these days, being used for everything from simple file storage to, as the article “Know More About Managed Cloud Hosting” points out, website hosting. The cloud can simplify the sometimes tricky task of online meetings, if you give it a chance.