There are many tools and services that can help bridge communication between remote parties in real-time these days. Facebook, Skype, Google Hangouts, you name it, there are endless ways to connect the masses. Depending on the needs of the users, these tools have come to integrate not just audio calls, but also webcam features, screen-sharing options, support for multiple users in a meeting and more.
For more formal online meeting where you might want to share screens and moderate conversations over a conference call, AnyMeeting might be the new and painless way to organize online meetings. Why? It requires no downloads (unless you don’t have Java installed, which is needed to share screens only), you can have up to 200 people in your meeting, and more.
You can register to use AnyMeeting to host an ad-supported online meeting with 200 users for free, though you can also pay $17.99 a month for ad-free meetings with 25 attendees and $69.99 for 200.
If you simply want to try AnyMeeting without registering, AnyMeeting Now lets you host a web conference without the hassles of creating an account. Of course, you will get full features if you sign up, even if it is for the free, ad-supported account.
When you visit AnyMeeting Now, you will be notified about the requirement of Java for screen-sharing purposes. If you don’t need to share your screen during your meeting, you can still start your meeting.
From there, you’ll be connected to the meeting interface, where you will be given a phone number you can dial to join the conference call, with notes on what to dial to count the number of callers, mute everyone for lecture mode, etc.
At this point, you will also be provided a URL which you can email or copy to your clipboard to share with and invite your attendees.
Once those screens are gone, you can see the beautiful interface adorned by panes on the left to see the attendee list and chat, with controls on a toolbar at the top for options like sharing your screen, webcam, and more.
Some interesting and useful options from the top bar include the ability to allow (or block) attendees’ sharing of their screens (webcams and microphones, too), as well as the option to record the meeting, conduct a poll and lock the meeting to prevent attendees from logging in to the meeting which I suppose is meant to enforce punctuality or to not go over the attendee limit.
You as a presenter and the person that started the conference meeting have control over a lot of attendee permissions. For instance, when you conduct a poll, you can choose to let attendees view the poll results in full, in part, or not at all.
Another example of your power as the presenter is that you can allow (or disallow) private chats between attendees and show the attendee list to everyone.
These aren’t the full features of AnyMeeting as I only reviewed the conference call options of the account-less AnyMeeting Now, but even for the latter, the options are plentiful and useful for a free service that requires no downloads and no fees. Be sure to sign up to see the full features (for the free account) and no ads (for the paid versions).
Overall, AnyMeeting is quite an impressive and easy-to-use online meeting tool with no complications.
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