(+) Put Away Your Wallet and Hold Meetings Online for Free

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

Remote meetings have become very popular in recent years and with good reason: holding online meetings with attendees in multiple locations saves a lot of time and money. Instead of having participants travel to one location, everyone can remain at home or in their offices and still attend, even if they are in different parts of the country or even in different parts of the world.

There are two facts about meetings that are difficult to ignore:

1. Meetings are costly to both planners and attendees.
2. Often, they’re wasteful and unnecessary.

Remote meetings and webinars have become very popular in the business world and now are spreading amongst personal interest groups, including genealogy society meetings and conferences. With today’s travel expenses, online remote meetings have become very attractive. Why spend money on travel, hotels, and restaurants? Instead, it often makes sense for attendees to each sit in front of a computer or a tablet or even a smartphone while still at home. Not only can small meetings be held this way; it is possible to hold an entire multi-day genealogy conference with hundreds of attendees, all of whom are scattered around the globe.

Goodby, hotels. Goodby, airline charges. Goodbye, expensive convention centers. Just let me use my iPad.

Probably a dozen or so companies provide software to support online meetings. The companies include Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting.com, GoToWebinar.com, Join.Me, Google+ Hangouts, AnyMeeting.com, ReadyTalk, MeetingBurner, and others. Most of these products do a good job at getting people together in a virtual conference room. There is but one problem: most of these products are expensive.

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