What Is a Virtual Meeting? (Benefits and Platforms)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 24 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A virtual meeting is one that you host or attend online using video conferencing software. It allows you to have face-to-face meetings with people who live in different locations. Knowing more about this topic can help you decide if this is something you might find interesting to use. In this article, we define what online meetings are, provide you with a list of different platforms you can use, discuss the benefits, outline the different types and answer frequently asked questions.

Related: How to Use Microsoft Teams (With Definition and Steps)

What is a virtual meeting?

A virtual meeting happens online instead of in person with the help of technology, such as video or audio. The participants can be in different locations or in the same area, but they just need access to the Internet and to a device, such as a computer or a phone. There are various ways you can have such a meeting.

For example, you can have it via videoconferencing, where everyone joins a call using a dedicated application. Alternatively, you can use audio conferencing, which is similar to a regular phone call where participants dial into a conference line. Usually, the meeting has a moderator or a host who leads the discussion and shares files, but it's also possible to have a successful meeting without any specific presenter.

Related: 10 Zoom Interview Tips (Plus Extra Advice For Employers)

7 virtual meeting platforms

This is a list of the different platforms you can use when virtually hosting or attending a meeting:

1. Zoom

Zoom is a cloud-based platform that offers both video and audio conferencing. It has both free and paid plans. The free plan allows you to have 40-minute meetings with up to 100 participants. The paid plans have no time limit. You can invite anyone to a Zoom meeting by sending them the URL, regardless of whether they have their own account.

Related: How to Add a Zoom Interview Background: Definition and Tips

2. Skype

Skype is another useful platform that also offers both video and audio conferencing. It's free to use for one-on-one calls. You can also host group calls with up to 50 people. To use Skype, you can first create an account by following the instructions in the application.

Related: 15 Skype Interview Tips to Excel in Your Next Interview

3. Cisco Webex

This online meeting software is specifically for business meetings. With the free plan, you can host meetings with up to 100 participants. These meetings don't have a time limit, which is beneficial if you want to have a longer discussion.

Related: Q&A: What Is Telecommuting?

4. Toasty

Toasty encourages engagement and collaboration in meetings by providing an interactive whiteboard and features, such as hand-raising and reactions. It's a great platform to use if you want to add some fun elements to your meeting. The paid plan allows for an unlimited number of participants and has no time limit.

5. Jitsi Meet

Jitsi Meet is an open-source platform, meaning that its code is publicly available for anyone to use or edit. It's a great option if you're looking for a customisable solution. The platform offers both video and audio conferencing with features, such as screen sharing and recording. It's also free to use and doesn't limit the number of people you can invite.

Related: How to Succeed in a Virtual Interview

6. Lifesize

Lifesize is a video conferencing software with numerous integrations and security features. You can create an unlimited number of online meetings for up to 25 people once you sign up for a free account. Lifesize is easy to use because you can set up meetings with a shared link. Because of its focus on creating high-definition videos, it's an excellent platform for remote team-building activities.

7. Talky

Talky is a browser-based platform that makes it easy to join a meeting without downloading any software. It's a good option if you're looking for something simple and straightforward. It allows for up to six participants per meeting, which is ideal for smaller meetings or one-on-one calls.

Benefits of virtual meetings

Online meetings have several advantages, including :

More convenient

They're more convenient than in-person meetings because they eliminate travelling to a meeting location. This can save you time and money, especially if the meeting is with someone who's in a different city or country. Also, since you don't commute, you can use that time to complete other productive tasks.

More flexibility

Online meetings are also more flexible because you can have them at any time and from anywhere. This is especially beneficial for people who have busy schedules or who work different shifts. It's also helpful if you want to attend a meeting but can't physically be there.

Increased productivity

Online meetings can lead to increased productivity because they allow people to work in their own environment, which can lead to higher levels of focus. There are fewer distractions and people can multi-task if necessary.

This can be especially beneficial for people who have trouble focusing in large groups. Also, since people are more comfortable in their own space, they're more likely to actively engage in the conversation.

Related: 14 Presentation Ideas to Improve Audience Engagement

Improved communication

Online meetings provide more opportunities for people to communicate, which can lead to improved communication overall. This is because some people are more likely to share their ideas and thoughts when they're not in a face-to-face setting.

Also, online meetings frequently have features that allow people to collaborate more effectively, such as screen sharing and file sharing. The removal of geographical barriers means people can communicate more easily in online meetings.

Reduced costs

Another benefit of online meetings is that they're usually more cost-effective than in-person meetings. This is because you don't have to worry about travel expenses, such as transportation and accommodation. It also means there's no need for a dedicated office space or meeting room. Also, many online meeting platforms are free to use or have free plans.

Types of virtual meetings

There are several different types of online meetings, including:

Webinars

A webinar is a type of online meeting that usually follows the structure of a lecture or seminar. The presenter leads the meeting and the participants listen and learn. Webinars are usually educational in nature and are a great way to share knowledge or promote a product.

Conference calls

A conference call is a type of online meeting that's typically for business purposes. It's a way for people in different locations to have a discussion. Conference calls happen either over the phone or online. They can include three or more callers.

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Screen sharing

Screen sharing is a type of online meeting where participants share their screens with others in the meeting. This allows people to collaborate on documents or presentations and show each other websites or video content. Screen sharing can happen through a number of different platforms, such as Skype or Zoom.

Related: What Is Video Interviewing? 15 Tips to Achieve Success

Video conferencing

Video conferencing is a type of online meeting that allows participants to see and hear each other in real time. This happens through a webcam and microphone. It's a great way to have face-to-face meetings without being in the same location because it allows people to see and hear each other.

FAQs about virtual meetings

You can review the answers to these frequently asked questions if you want to learn more:

What is the etiquette for virtual meetings?

To successfully attend or host an online meeting, there are several behaviours to follow. First, behave as you might in person. This means being on time, paying attention and engaging with the speaker.

Second, remember to mute your microphone when you're not speaking. This reduces background noise and makes it easier for others to focus. Third, if you're unable to attend the entire meeting, let the host or organiser know in advance. Last, remember to dress professionally, even if you're attending the meeting from your home.

Related: What Is Professionalism? Traits and Tips

How can I make online meetings more effective?

Make sure you have a clear purpose for the meeting and then create an agenda and adhere to it. This helps keep the meeting on track and ensures that you have the time to discuss all the topics you want. Also, make sure that all the participants have the materials necessary to attend and participate in the meeting. This means sending out the agenda and any materials in advance.

To prevent potential distractions during the meeting, turn off any notifications and close any tabs or windows that aren't necessary for the meeting. When ending the meeting, add a summary of what you discussed and any next steps. Also, make sure to follow up after the meeting with any materials or action items.

Related: How to Write a Follow-up Email After a Meeting

What is the difference between an online meeting and an in-person meeting?

Online meetings happen virtually over the Internet, whereas in-person meetings happen with people physically present in the same room. Also, online meetings usually have participants from different locations, whereas in-person meetings have participants that are all in the same location. The capacity for online meetings can also allow for more people to join, which is rare with in-person meetings.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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