Since the pandemic first shook the world, it has impacted our lives dramatically but one of the biggest changes we’ve seen is in the workplace with millions of people retreating from the office to work from home. While it doesn’t seem like we’ll be returning to the office any time soon, the good news is that as fast as our lives have changed, so has the technology to accommodate us.
From fully-immersive video conferencing platforms to AI software allowing you to interact with your team and leverage the most capable applications out there for your business, technology has provided us with new solutions. We’ve rounded up some of our favourites.
Usually the start of September means “back to school” for students, and the end of summer vacation for many of us. For a lot of companies, it’s also the start of strategic planning and annual meetings to hit the ground running after employees return to work. While some students and employees will be physically returning to school and their offices, many will continue to keep their learning online and work remotely for the foreseeable future. As a result, companies will need to navigate a remote work environment, or, in companies where employees have returned to the office already, some changes will need to be made − workflows, meetings and schedules will need to be adapted to comply with new restrictions.
For companies that typically hold an annual company meeting for their employees, this will likely mean a shift to a virtual meeting format, with employees joining via their own workstation − in the office or from home. A virtual annual company meeting requires additional planning and different tools than what we’d expect from an in-person meeting format − especially for companies who will be running a virtual meeting for the first time. For those wanting to ensure that this year’s annual meeting goes off without a hitch, we’ve rounded up some helpful tips and resources to get you there.
Use a Reliable Video Conferencing Software
Recently, we featured six top video conferencing platforms — from Zoom to Skype to Google Hangouts. Each platform comes with its own unique set of features, and depending on the call, one may be a better fit over the others. When it comes to an annual company meeting, where the number of participants is likely to be high, we recommend opting for an enterprise-grade solution like Zoom or Skype for Business. You’re less likely to need to worry about call quality and software-related glitches, and can ensure that all participants have a productive experience.
Engage Participants with Interactive Components
Annual company meetings are typically longer, sometimes multi-day events. Organizers must consider how to keep participants engaged throughout the duration of the meeting, particularly in an online setup. Consider incorporating interactive components throughout the meeting, such as live polling and surveys, and a social wall (a live social media feed), with the help of tools like Whova. Participants may find it difficult to concentrate during a long, online meeting due to distractions in the form of other applications, notifications, and without the ability to be fully present as is the case in an in-person meeting. Interactive components can not only keep participants engaged and focused, but also ensure that they are retaining information.
Share Meeting Documents and Presentations via the Cloud
Google and Dropbox are two of our favorite tools for better productivity and collaboration. Both are easy to use, offer integrations with other software and e-mail, and are an ideal way to share files amongst co-workers. Consider sharing meeting documents and presentations with participants in the cloud − either before or after the meeting. This way, participants needn’t have to focus on jotting down every detail during the meeting, but instead can focus on the presentations and conversations without missing any key points.
Enable Live Video Recording
Finally, a newer technique being adopted by remote-operating businesses (and those using video conferencing) is to use a video recording solution in tandem with notes and minutes with tools like Replay Telecorder. Meeting participants are able to refer back to a particular presentation for further reference, or those unable to attend the live viewing can get up to speed on what was discussed. Replay Telecorder is the most powerful, easy-to-use video conference recorder out there − you can record virtual annual company meetings held on Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, Join.me, GoToMeeting, and every other application you can think of with perfect accuracy.
With simple, one-click recording and a fast background mode to capture and multi-task, it’s a super-efficient solution to recording and saving every virtual business meeting, brainstorm, and more. Check out the user guide to see how easy it is to get started.
Over the last few months, video conferencing has served as a temporary substitute for various in-person interactions such as professional meetings, social hangouts and entertainment. As a result, we now place a greater reliance on video conferencing platforms for all of these important moments.
While most of us are likely familiar with the best-known video conferencing offerings such as Facebook, Skype, Zoom and Google Hangouts, there are other platforms out there that you probably haven’t heard of, but deserve your attention!
For all of your virtual work-related and social hangout needs, we’ve rounded up the top 6 video conferencing platforms of 2020. In no particular order, check them out…
Microsoft Teams is the ultimate corporate video conferencing solution. Designed for seamless efficiency and collaboration, it integrates with Office applications like Word and SharePoint, while its design and infrastructure make it incredibly interactive. It also integrates with Skype for Business.
Microsoft Teams gives other collaboration tools like Slack, who have dominated the market over the last few years, a run for their money — especially because its video conferencing option is just as impressive and powerful as its chat function. Users can launch video conferences directly from their chats, too!
Skype for Business comes packaged with Microsoft Office 365 and takes the free, standard capabilities of Skype to the next level. It’s an inexpensive solution that doesn’t cut corners, nor does it skimp on the most important features. Video call quality is good and the service is reliable!
All Skype for Business plans include:
Conferencing for upto 250 participants
Effortless integration with Microsoft Office programs like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook
Zoom is one of the most popular video conferencing platforms out there — its user base has exploded in the last few months. It has a number of features that make it an ideal option for businesses.
Its free plan includes all of the basic features for video conferencing. Users are not restricted to a limit of meetings, and they can join with the Zoom app or by calling in from a phone line. Video quality is good and the audio can be heard clearly on fast internet connections. Businesses will especially like that with Zoom, users can share screens and annotate with whiteboard functions. It also integrates with Google Chrome and Microsoft Outlook.
Google Hangouts Meet is an affordable, no-frills video conferencing solution for businesses and individuals who regularly host video meetings, remotely manage teams, or regularly work from home.
However, as the platform’s features are pretty basic, including its enterprise tier, we recommend it for users looking to make personal video calls or organize social video hangouts. For a truly enterprise-level video conferencing tool users will need to look elsewhere — one of the options above, as a start!
As many of us are GSuite users or at the very least, have a Gmail account, Google Hangouts Meet is accessible and incredibly easy to get up and running.
Houseparty has been a saving grace for all of us looking to stay connected with our social networks — it’s a video conferencing and games room platform all in one! Available for iOS, Android, Mac and PC, it allows up to eight people to video chat at once in a “room.” Users can have unlimited rooms and easily switch between them. Users can stay in the know with notifications when a friend is active on the app. That way, you can join in a chat with your friends (and friends of friends) at any time!
Users can spice things up by playing games including Houseparty Heads Up!, Trivia, Quick Draw, and Chips and Guac! What’s not to love?
When it comes to linking up online, the possibilities are endless thanks to a plethora of impressive video conferencing solutions. Whether you’re dialing in for a business meeting or catching up with friends and family, you’ll be sure to find what you need in one of our picks above. Couple that with the right tools to make sure that you don’t miss out on a single minute and you’re good to go. Our pick? Replay Telecorder. It can record any video conferencing applications in background mode, so you can enjoy an uninterrupted connection for when you need it most.
Getting started is easy. Get your group together, start your video call, and make sure you have the latest version of Replay Telecorder, so that you can save the most important moments for later.
So, you want to study a language? Whether you’re starting from zero or brushing up on what you already know, taking your language learning online is a convenient and efficient way to achieve fluency from the comfort of wherever you are. What’s more, with an online learning setup, you don’t have to worry about spending a great deal of time finding a teacher with the right profile for the language you want to study.
Online classes can be scheduled whenever suits you best, and with the help of Replay Telecorder, you can record your classes as you go and review them as needed. You’ll be well on your way to greater fluency in no time.
With that covered, let’s get you started on your online language learning journey with a few helpful tips to hit the ground running.
Choose an Online Language Learning Platform
With the growing popularity of online learning, there are many language learning platforms to choose from. However, there’s one that stands out in terms of pricing, quality and the overall user experience of the platform: iTalki. Unlike many other platforms out there, iTalki’s offerings are impressive — everything from Punjabi to Slovenian to Vietnamese. The possibilities here are endless. On iTalki, you can view a teacher’s profile, which typically includes a video introduction, CV and more information, before signing up. There are plenty of student reviews for most teachers, which shows that students are engaged with the platform. Plus, before you buy a pack of classes, nearly all teachers offer a one-time trial class to let you meet and decide whether their teaching style works for you.
Decide Which Language You’d Like to Study
Once you’ve created an account and acquainted yourself with the iTalki platform, next you’ll need to decide which language you’d like to learn. Have something specific in mind? Perhaps you need to learn or brush up on your language skills for school or work, or you may have the luxury of choosing whichever language strikes your interest. If you fall into the latter group, one good way to narrow the choices down is to think about whether a particular language might come in handy for your personal travels. For example, if you’re planning a backpacking trip to South America in the near future, Spanish would be the logical choice. However, if you’re eyeing a trip to the Great Wall of China, Mandarin would be sure to help you out!
Find a Teacher Whose Profile Matches Your Needs
After landing on the language of study, next you’ll need to find a teacher whose profile interests you, and more importantly, meets your needs. On a teacher’s online profile you are able to view their reviews and professional experience. So, for example, if your goal is to master grammar in a given language, it may be a better idea to choose a teacher who has at least a Bachelor or even a Master degree in that language. Or, if you are a complete beginner, try to find a teacher that has a degree or equivalent experience in teaching that particular language as a foreign / second language.
Otherwise, if you’re looking for a more engaged conversation partner for example, who will be diligent about correcting mistakes and encourage you to speak, the qualifications likely won’t matter as much as their personality!
Start Your Classes!
It goes without saying that once you know which language you’d like to study and have secured a teacher, it’s time to get learning! Most teachers prefer leading classes over Skype or Google Hangouts, allowing you to connect more closely than you could over a telephone call, while taking part in both oral and written exercises throughout the class.
And, to speed up your language learning, add Replay Telecorder to your arsenal! It’s the easiest, most powerful Skype and Google Hangouts recorder on the market that lets you record your classes, so that you can review the lessons afterwards to really solidify your learning! The best part is that it comes with a handy feature known as ‘Background Mode’, which automatically detects your Skype or Google Hangouts window, even allowing you to cover it with other windows without affecting the recording. With Replay Telecorder you can remain fully engaged in class without worrying about missing a thing.
Getting started is easy. Register for online language classes today, and then make sure you have the latest version of Replay Telecorder, so that you can save the most important lessons for later. With the right tools, you’ll be mastering the language of your choice faster than you can count!