Top 5 Free & Useful Video Conferencing Tools for Online Classes, Workshops, Seminars & Meetings

During the recent outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus, a large number of tours, events and activities that require physical interaction have been cancelled. Inevitably, this has negatively affected the economy, particularly in Hong Kong, after the first impact during the 6-month social movement happened in June 2019. 

GoBuddy recommends the possibilities of getting some classes and workshops online, and we would like to share our insights and research in this area. We have identified 5 online video conferencing software, which we think are suitable for application in different scenarios. 

Here is a summary: 

ProductSubscription MethodDescription
1ZoomFree for first 40 minSuitable for interactive activities & meetings for up to 100 people. Shareable link, and sometimes may require download zoom app or the software to continue successfully. 
2SkypeFree for up to 50 pplSuitable for interactive activities & meetings without time limit. Embedded in the browser and do not necessarily need the app and software to be downloaded to connect. 
3Google Hangouts Free without limit Suitable for interactive activities without time limit. But it requires users to be connected with Google Calendar. 
4YouTube LiveFree without limit Suitable for minimal interaction to focus on the host, and the guests can just leave comments. 
5RemoPaid plan Suitable for large activities and conferences with rooms simulation, enabling interactive sessions and networking. It’s basically exactly the same as those networking sessions and conferences, but things are brought online. 

Setting Up Zoom 

Zoom is a video conferencing based software that was designed to promote collaboration via an innovative integrated system featuring web conference, group messaging and online meetings.

Setting Up Skype

Skype is a software application, which comes with powerful text, voice and video tools, providing users with a simple way to share experiences with others, no matter their location.

Setting Up Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is a communication software product developed by Google. Originally a feature of Google+, Hangouts became a stand-alone product in 2013, when Google also began integrating features from Google+ Messenger and Google Talk into Hangouts.

Setting Up YouTube Live

YouTube Live is an easy way to reach your audience in real time. Whether you’re streaming a video game, hosting a live Q&A, or teaching a class, our tools will help you manage your stream and interact with viewers in real time. There are a few ways you can live stream on YouTube.

Setting Up Remo

Made by a remote team, Remo makes it dead simple to create a delightful, immersive virtual space that empowers people to communicate, connect, and collaborate with each other just like they would in real life.

When you enter a space in Remo, you will see a top-down, 2-D map view of an event venue, virtual office, conference, or school, full of interactive “rooms.” Each room hosts an always-on video chat for occupants of a room, making it easy for collaborators to pop in and out of conversations with ease.

To summarize, we recommend Skype > Zoom > Google Hangouts for simple workshops and classes that you wish to bring online.

References:
1. https://hc.services/zoom-meetings/difference-google-hangouts-zoom-meetings/

The Power of Community: 6 Reasons Why We Need Each Other

Alone, we can do so little; Together, we can do so much.

Helen Keller

Having worked for nearly 7 years upon university graduation, I still remember how we have been taught about the importance of teamwork. As engineers, we are always trained on how to deliver a project in a team, and always a lot of skills have to be equipped in the team. At university, we always needed to get involved in different projects, and hence teamwork is another essence to success.

I have always come in my mind for another interesting concept – What about Community? Other than specific skill sets, how do we value community? I think community is far beyond teamwork. Technically speaking, teamwork is when we have a team and we need to achieve something, and we need to work together on that, that’s why team + work is the combination. But for community, I see that it’s part of our daily life, something more emotional and humanized, compared to teamwork.

There is a trend about community, from my experience. When I was working as engineer, it’s about an engineering community, where the engineers will gather and support each other across technical, knowledge and project needs. When I was a non-local student, it’s about an international student community that supports each other needs in Hong Kong. When I am currently an entrepreneur, it’s about another level of community that supports us in networking, business opportunities and more. One typical example is Cyberport Hong Kong.

So to me, community has made me seen things differently, that I am not alone, but there are always different communities that are here to support each other together. I wish to share the power of community referencing from one of the articles I found in the other blog posts.

The Power of Community

Here are 6 powerful reasons not to go it alone:

1. Collective wisdom. No one person ever has all of the answers, and regardless of the amount of Google-fu you may have, consulting with experts is always going to give you better information.

2. Pushing our limits. When working alone, it’s oftentimes too easy to give up when things get hard. By surrounding yourself with others working toward a similar goal or objective, you’ll get motivation, support, and friendly competition to push yourself just a bit further than you would have done on your own.

3. Support and belief. Some days those big goals just seem impossible. On those days when you most want to give up, you need to lean on your community the most. They believe in you—probably more than you belief in yourself.

4. New ideas. I truly believe that when you are working within a community of like-minded people that the wisdom of crowds is considerably greater than any one person working alone. Our divergent world views and lenses mean that we all approach the exact same problem slightly differently.

5. Borrowed motivation. Even on those days when your belief in yourself isn’t waning, doing what needs to get done can seem overwhelming. Look around your community and be inspired!

6. Accountability. If you’re an uber-responsible person, you may not want to admit to people you care about who are pulling for you that something didn’t get done. There’s nothing like having to be accountable to others to up your game.

Allowing others to help is hard, but it ultimately raises everyone’s game, and suddenly that summit isn’t nearly so far off.

5 Tips to Build Your Community

Engagement level is an important criterion to define how successful your community is. Here are some tips to start your community and most importantly, continue running it.

Create a welcoming platform

If you want your members to engage more in your platform, judge less. It is not a fault to judge people. A positive comment and amendment will bring you improvement. However, unreasonable judgement will bring not only negative results, but also bad feelings towards the members. If they are not comfortable with the community, they wouldn’t want to stay long. Only a place which provides diversity, mutual respect and equity each member’s views can provoke more engagements and happiness. Therefore, cultivating a respectful, inclusive and loving environment can bring a sense of comfy for members to stay here and be themselves.

Branding

Consumers have a variety of choices on the internet. They can join as many communities as they want and choose the most suitable one. In order to attract and retain your customers, your community has to position yourself wisely.

There are few questions you have to think about:

  • What are the outstanding points of your community?
  • What impressions do your community want to give your members/consumers?
  • How would you describe your community by using three words?

With a clear positioning and standardization, you may find your targeted members or consumers easily to sustain your member base.

Be responsive and interactive

Turns your virtual community into a real community. It is all about interaction. Interact with your members, or else it is just an informative group for photo posting. Try to respond to your members’ posts, respond to their comments and try to understand what they want and like. They will be more engaged due to personalized communication. When more interactions will be held, you not only can understand their preferences to adjust your strategy, you can also let them feel engaged with your core members. It will be a big move for your community.

Segment your engagement strategy

There is never a one-size-fit-all strategy to all community and members. You should first categorize your customer and think of multiple strategies to tackle their needs.

You can identify them as most engaged members, least engaged members and average engaged members. For example, provide a reward programme for only engaged members and provide new ideas and activities for only attracting deactivated members. By doing so, you can target your members with specific strategies and special access to engage. With a more targeted approach, you can surely increase your success rate.

Ownership of a community

When is the first time you feel that you own a place? It is the time when you involve the most in it. You want to engage your members, but how? Ask your member to invest time and effort in your platform. Some people may think it is not suitable to ask your members to put time and effort in their platform. However, the reality is members would not leave because of it, they also will be more willing to come back again.

Here is an example, you can ask your members to manage your Facebook page together. From that, you can bring your community closer and bring a sense of ownership to your community. More and More responsible and passionate members will stay and come back.

Reference : 

  1. Spinks, D. (2016, January 7). 8 Reasons Why You’re Seeing Low Engagement in your Community. Retrieved from https://medium.com/building-community/8-reasons-why-you-re-seeing-low-engagement-in-your-community-49ce9df2f0d5