Today’s web conferencing has come a long way from the group discussions conducted over online message boards. Numerous businesses and corporations have tapped into the simplicity and convenience of group meetings and live presentations over the Internet. Online conferencing offers a number of benefits to both large and small companies trying to find a wider range of communications in the competitive business world.
During a web conference, all participants sit at their own computers after registering with a service that bridges to other suitable participants – via a web conference connection. Participants can listen, view, and communicate with the moderators who are connected to the conference communications.
Web conferencing features range from simple screen-sharing with moderators to conversation-transfer, where Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones allow participants to voice their opinions and answer questions. Some also use text chat instead of voice options.
This online form of information transfer offers a number of advantages for companies and other areas of communication. A web conference also includes, for example, seminars conducted over the Internet, which are also referred to as webinars. This type of online conferencing is commonly used throughout online studies as professors use this interactive contact method to reach out to their students and facilitate discussions as a group rather than webcasting a lecture.
For large companies, web conferencing saves money, especially when it comes to closing a fairly large deal. Companies spend thousands of dollars sending their employees on-site to meet potential buyers, customers or business partners and take the time to fly thousands of miles to conduct sales calls or present new ideas. Although sometimes the warm body is more persuasive than a few charts and graphs, web conferencing is slowly making headway with old-fashioned clients.
Now, most companies set up online conferencing to clarify details, questions, and concerns in real time, with a real person speaking and answering queries, accompanied by charts and graphs that tie projects together. The time, money, and energy saved by eliminating phone tags, email, attachments, and business travel is very rewarding.
For some, the cost of hosting and running a conference call may be too much for some businesses to afford as much as they would like. Otherwise, the disadvantages of using web conferencing services are rather small. In the event of a power outage or blackout, they end abruptly, creating confusion that can be easily explained later. For online meetings to benefit everyone involved, they must arrive on time to avoid costly delays in communication.
Other complaints or concerns about web conferencing are the fact that sometimes low resolution and low quality impedes the progress of a meeting or presentation. If participants lack a quality internet connection, they too will suffer a loss in value in terms of online communication. Some business partners and customers also enjoy the sense of community and understanding that comes from personal contact.
When choosing a web conferencing service, there are many different features offered by a variety of providers. Slide presentations (often PowerPoint-driven) allow attendees to better illustrate key points. Application sharing allows others to add to the main moderator table. Important items can be highlighted or marked by an indicator called annotation. Texting, file sharing, and helpful polls and surveys also increase the appeal and usefulness of online conferencing.
The cost depends on the type of services requested. For example, some providers charge more if you want to have your meeting or presentation recorded for later use. How many web conferences you plan during the year also determines your monthly or annual costs. You can choose a service that is billed on a per-user-per-minute basis or for a fixed fee based on the number of people attending your meeting or live presentation.
There are many web conferencing service providers waiting to help you in this beneficial and future-oriented business move. The possibilities for how far you can take this technological marvel are limited only by your ability to communicate and express yourself with the crowd.