May 24, 2024

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Cheap Conferencing – Web-Mediated Communication Made Easy – 5 FAQs

Human communication is a cornerstone of good business. While simple customer transactions are increasingly being carried out online without any human interaction, most behind-the-scenes business decisions today are still being made by two or more people communicating extensively.

Of course, throughout history, most business meetings and conferences have been carried out via in-person meetings. But starting about 6 or 7 decades ago, telephones started to become an essential tool for making things happen in business.

But nothing since the advent of the telephone has rivaled the revolution in business communications witnessed with the rise of the Internet. Since the late 1990s, Web-mediated conferencing technologies have gone way beyond e-mail or text chats to new levels of sophistication.

If you are looking for cheap conferencing, Web-mediated communication is the way to go. Here are 5 FAQs about cheap Web conferencing:

1. How does Web-mediated conferencing differ from phone-only conferencing?

A: Using the telephone to talk about business ideas, conduct training and make sales to customers limits the communicators to just one dimension of communication: the voice. By contrast, Web conferencing bring into play additional dimensions such as video, live text chat, whiteboards, and application sharing. And, since Web-mediated communication leverages the essentially free infrastructure of the public Internet, it is cheaper to operate on a per minute basis than is phone-based conferencing.

2. How does Internet conferencing differ from in-person meetings?

A: Web-mediated conferencing (or Internet conferencing) also offers advantages over in-person  – or “face-to-face” – meetings. Namely, these two: a. cost of meeting attendance, and b. the ability to meet almost instantly.

To illustrate the difference: with in-person meetings, you need to take some form of transportation (car, plane, bike, boat, train, etc.) to physically visit the person with whom you want to meet – for which you often need to set an appointment far in advance. However, with Internet meetings the time lag between deciding to meet and actually meeting could be as little as 2-3 minutes.

3. What are the things to look for in a Web conferencing system?

A: There are a number of features to look for in a good system. Of course, what is actually available to you depends upon which system(s) you are considering. But, some of the features that may interest you in these systems are: whiteboard sharing, application sharing, website sharing, desktop control, desktop viewing, voice over IP (VoIP), online chat, ability to record meetings for later reference, audience polling, audience testing, streaming media, and various security features.

4. How many people can use an Internet meeting system at once?

A: Many systems are designed to be used by up to 20 attendees at once. However, several of the webcast and webinar software applications can accommodate up to hundreds or thousands of attendees (usually in listening/watching mode only, albeit with some feedback capability) at a single time.

5. Are there any drawbacks to using online communication for business meetings?

A: The only drawbacks to using online communication technologies relates to the limitation of not being able to experience certain types of non-verbal communication present in most face-to-face meetings, such as body posture, subtle facial expressions, and surrounding visual cues in the room.

If you are looking for cheap conferencing, Web-mediated communication is something that your company should be seriously considering.