With COVID still a part of our lives, it’s still important that we continue to utilize contact-less methods wherever we can in whatever we’re doing. When we’re meeting with clients or co-workers there are a number of different options at our disposal to do just that. Read more on our blog-post as we into giving a surface level breakdown of the different options out there, the basics on how to use them, and make recommendations of which to use in some common scenarios
Google Meet is very easy to set-up. They can be pre-scheduled via Google Calendar, or created on moment’s notice. The free version supports up to 100 attendees, allows meetings up to an hour in length, and all you need is a Google account to use it. There are paid options with higher limits, and live streaming support so you can invite a public audience view only, but they require a Google Workspace account which not only gives you more options in Google Meet, but business account benefits across all Google services. Once the meeting is set up you can either invite people directly with their email address, or you can simply share an invite link. With Google meet people you invite directly will join directly, but you have to approve anyone who joins with the invite link. This ensures no one gets into your meeting that you don’t want in. You also can use Google Meet, or any E-Meeting tool in this list, in combination with other tools like Google Jamboard to have a whiteboard style collaboration board, or Google Slides to have a slidedeck presentation.
If you already use Facebook then Messenger Rooms is very also really easy to set-up. Simply open Messenger or Facebook and look for the “Create Room” button. At the time of writing Facebook has this button very front and center and hard to miss. Up to 50 participants can join the room. The organizer is the only one that is required to have a Facebook account, participants also have the option to join the call without needing a Facebook account at all, which is very beneficial. Once you share the join link anyone can join the room, but at any point you can lock the room so no more people can enter.
Zoom has multiple tiers, and their free version allows up to 100 participants, up to 40 minute meetings in 3+ group, and unlimited time in 1 on 1 meetings. Hosting a meeting over zoom is extremely straight forward, just visit their website, click “Host a meeting” at the top menu bar, and just follow the prompts. You do have to have a zoom account to start the meeting, but once you get a meeting set up, give participants in the meetings a link to join and they can join the meeting without having to have a zoom account.
Discord is less an emeeting platform and more a chat room platform. It’s target audience is online gaming, but it’s got all the features needed for a team to satisfy all their emeeting demands, and with 3rd party add-ons like https://craig.chat/home/ you even have access to features that are premium only in other options like archive recording.
Setting up a discord server is a little bit more involved and out of scope for this blogpost, but try it out, with this link to get you set up with the basics. If you’d like a more in depth guide let us know in the comments below.
GoToMeeting isn’t one we’re familiar enough to give a detailed explanation of, but https://free.gotomeeting.com/ is a great place to learn about it. If you have any specific questions about it feel free to reach out to us across social media, or in the comments below and maybe we’ll come back and update this post with more details about GoToMeeting if there is a demand for it.
In summary, there are a lot of options out there, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. Especially once you start looking at the paid options you’re really going to have to dig into the specific needs you have. Hit us up if you’re unsure, if you’re just looking at the free options though, I do have some specific recommendations for a couple of common scenarios.
Are you looking for a quick and free way to organize a one on one meeting like a meeting with a client? Well, using Google Calendar to organize a Google Meet meeting is what we’d recommend. It’s extremely user friendly, it’s backed by Google which means it’s extremely reliable, and until March 31, 2021 even larger groups can have meetings up to 24 hours long! After then any meeting with 3 or more people is limited to 1 hour in the free version. Zoom is a close second though, because it’s also extremely user friendly, and meetings of 3 or more people are limited to 40 minutes in their free version.
Are you looking to host a larger meeting with your whole team regularly for free? Discord is (specifically using this template) probably your best free option. There is a higher learning curve but Discord gives you for free what most of the other guys charge for. And with the ecosystem of bots extending discord’s functionality even more with features developed by 3rd parties, it’s just an impossible value to beat.
Are you looking to host a larger meeting but don’t want the added feature bloat of Discord? Well, at the time of writing, Messenger Rooms seems like the best free option for that. Its fuss simplicity doesn’t have a bunch of bells and whistles, but makes up for it with straight simplicity. You can have up to 50 people in a room at a time, and there isn’t any time limits either.
What do you think? Did you agree with our recommendations? Did we miss or forget anything? Are there any questions you have about anything we covered? Let us know in the comments or reach out to us directly.