5 basic tools to transform your online meetings

Do you always feel distracted and exhausted in your online meetings? Then you are one of many. As remote working has become an integral part of today’s work culture, the best option is to make it as dynamic as possible for your team.

Do you remember COVID? Most would put their computers in the corner to do other tasks or chores, and the few who were at their desks would be scrolling on their cell phones, barely paying attention (or sleeping)….

But don’t worry, the following tools – Spatial, Miro, Padlet, Trello and Otter.ai – will not only liven up your work, but also give your online meetings a new lease of life.

Spatial: Welcome to the Metaverse!

Spatial is a Metaverse-based platform that uses AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) technology to enhance your meetings. Within this immersive environment, users can interact with each other and with the digital content that surrounds them in 3D space. Sharing and editing holographic objects and models is simplified as long as your team wants to actively participate.

It is particularly appealing for teams and has the following functions to increase the productivity of participants. Let’s take a closer look at this:

3D brainstorming:

By using interactive 3D models, Spatial takes creative thinking to a new level and makes remote collaboration more visual. After you have logged into your account via headset or computer, open a Spatial Workspace. From here you can choose from a library of 3D objects and also import your own, as long as the file is formatted correctly (.OBJ or .FBX). Once loaded, the object can be repositioned and edited. Now comes the collaboration: team members can make adjustments and add comments together. When you are satisfied, save your model and share the workspace with others for further editing.

Creating 3D models in Spatial is simplified and collaborative, enabling real-time interaction and manipulation. This will be essential for effective brainstorming, design and project planning.

Versatile VR:

Spatial’s VR feature adds a new level of immersion to your online calls. Select a compatible headset, such as Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, and install the program from your headset’s store (e.g. the Oculus Store). Be sure to follow the instructions to calibrate the controllers and adjust the headset for comfort. For a complete guide to setting up headsets and other tips and tricks, visit the Spatial website.

The platform is free to use, but the advanced creative tools require a paid subscription ($25/month).

Miro: A versatile digital canvas for online meetings

Miro is a versatile digital canvas that puts creativity at the forefront of online meetings. What sets Miro apart is its ability to integrate seamlessly with popular meeting platforms such as Zoom. It offers a unique blend of familiarity and creativity.

The best feature is its “Infinity Canvas”, which allows teams to brainstorm without restrictions. Everything from flow charts to financial analyses can be created. And with the ability to integrate data from external apps such as Google Drive, Miro can serve as a central hub for all meeting materials and organize your workflow at the same time.

To get started, go to their website and sign up for free or start your free trial. Once you are ready, follow the “create a team” prompts on your profile. Then you can share your Miro board with others. Simply press the “invite members” prompt, which can also be found on your profile page.

As soon as you are set up, all drawing tools and templates are available to you from the dashboard. We recommend personalizing your boards by changing backgrounds, creating sticky notes and adding borders to customize your content. Your options are endless, so you can let off steam for a while.

The platform can be used free of charge. You may consider upgrading to the “Starter” or “Business” subscriptions, which cost $8/month and $16/month respectively.

With all the customizable options, Miro will make a big difference in the way your colleagues collaborate online.

Padlet: Your (intelligent) collection of pinboards in online meetings

Similar to Miro, Padlet is an excellent tool for simplifying the sharing of information and making collaboration more accessible online.

Let’s start with his virtual workplace: Whether you’re onboarding new employees or planning team goals, the platform offers a digital space where you can create customized boards depending on the type of meeting.

Padlet is like a collection of pinboards that is not only easy to use, but also helps your team visualize their ideas through different collections and categories.

Unlike a physical pinboard, users can not only pin ideas and notes, but also add discussion recordings, videos or other shared PowerPoint presentations or resources.

With so many templates to choose from, the decision can be overwhelming. If you’re struggling to choose one, we recommend trying the “Kanban” workflow, where cards progress from one phase to the next. This helps your team to visualize the progress of tasks and keep track of several projects at the same time.

Padlet is free to use, but if you’re a larger organization, the Team package might be right for you (costs $14.99/month).

It’s easy to set up: just go to their website, sign up and create a new board. From there, you can customize it according to your needs and share the link with other team members.

Trello: The system based on Kanban

Are you a visual learner? Trello is a visual project management tool that is characterized by simplicity and clarity. Its map-based system allows organizations to manage tasks and projects visually, making it an ideal choice for NGOs looking for an intuitive approach to project planning.

With Trello, teams can create boards for different departments or projects and add cards for specific tasks or ideas within each board. Cards can be assigned to team members, given deadlines and enriched with detailed descriptions and attachments.

Similar to one of the templates for Padlet, the entire platform is built around a “Kanban” style workflow where cards are moved from one list (phase) to the next as tasks progress. This illustrative element allows team members to better understand the status of different tasks and large projects from a distance and to put different projects into perspective.

What’s more, Trello’s intuitive user interface ensures it’s accessible to team members of all technical backgrounds, while the mobile app keeps everyone up to date with project progress on the go.

What we liked most were Trello’s “power-ups”. These are integrations with third-party applications that extend the functionality of Trello. For example, you can integrate Trello with communication tools like Slack so that your team receives Trello notifications directly in Slack channels. This seamless integration ensures that important project updates are communicated in good time.

To get started, go to their website and sign up. As soon as you’re done, you’ll be in the virtual dashboard: from here, create a new board and add your lists of tasks. You can assign multiple cards to each task, invite users to annotate and add notes and resources. Simply click on the “Invite” button and add the users’ emails.

Their Enterprise plan costs about $17.50 per user per month for organizations with more than 50 people. Take a look at their price plans here.

In a world where efficient project management is crucial, Trello stands out as a tool that simplifies complex workflows, encourages collaboration and keeps teams on track, especially when working from home. Remember to visit their marketplace for more tools and integrations.

Otter.ai: Your personal (and integrable) stenographer!

For organizations that rely heavily on reporting and documentation, Otter.ai is a groundbreaking tool. Similar to a personal stenographer, it acts as a powerful transcription tool that can record and transcribe your online meetings in real time.

The most notable feature of Otter.ai is its ability to create fully editable transcripts. This means you can annotate, edit and share meeting transcripts with team members and external partners, either for reference or for those who were unable to attend. This feature encourages collaboration, ensures clarity and keeps an accurate record of meetings for future discussion and collaboration.

In addition, the AI-powered tool manages to quickly identify and highlight the key points of your meetings, making it much easier to sift through information and extract valuable insights.

Another plus point is the easy integration with platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, so you can keep all your meetings in one place.

The setup is straightforward: Just visit their website, click “Get Started” and sign up. Once you are logged in, you can start uploading audio or video recordings of meetings and the AI will provide you with their transcripts.

The platform’s business subscription costs $20 per user per month. If your organization requires Single Sign-On (SSO), you should contact the Otter sales team directly.

Otter.ai is great for managing the content of your meetings and provides a seamless experience, whether on a computer or a mobile device. Just make sure you have given the necessary permissions and be careful with any changes that need to be made. Even if it works almost perfectly, it still needs a little human support!

The future lies with online tools

As online meetings are the new standard, these tools manage to add a personal touch and creativity to an otherwise impersonal form of communication. Whether it’s immersive collaboration, visual project management, simplified information sharing, intuitive project planning or even AI-powered transcription, these tools offer you a wide range of features tailored to the unique needs of your organization.

Now the question is, which of these tools appeals to you the most? What would motivate your team to participate in online meetings with renewed enthusiasm?

Have you ever dealt with artificial intelligence? Take a look at our blog posts about Chat GPT, where you will find helpful tips on how to simplify your daily work.

Have you already used this tool? We really want to know, so leave us a comment!

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