You just need a face to face conversation sometimes (or as close as it gets to face to face communication in this virtual connected world). Slack apps for video conferencing make it easy to connect in a few steps, whether it’s for a quick status update or a brainstorming session. As remote teams continue to replace co-located teams, it is even more important to invest in the right video chat app.
Human and environmental factors can also affect the productivity of your call. Before choosing a video conferencing app that works for your team, establish some ground rules that will ensure a smooth, seamless online meeting.
If you have several remote teams, our blog post “How to Conduct a Remote Team Meeting” provides a step-by-step approach to run remote meetings without a hiccup.
The Top 5 Slack Apps and Integrations for Video Conferencing
1. Zoom Video Conferencing
Quick reliable group calls
Zoom allows you to make voice calls and share screen in addition to video calls. Zoom’s features- seamless video and clear audio are available from within Slack. You can quickly join a call from any Slack channel, group or direct message with the /zoom command. You can set Zoom as your default calling app on Slack. However, you will first have to install the app on your device and a paid Zoom account is required.
The great thing about Zoom is that it works even with a subpar internet connection. The video still works with reduced quality. You can even record any call with a full-length video. While sharing the screen, you can either show your whole screen or just a single app.
Zoom Pricing: Their basic plan is free, where you can host up to 100 participants for 40 minutes on group calls.Their paid plans range from $14.99 per host to $19.99 per host billed monthly.
Image Credit: Zoom
2. WebEx- Cisco Video Conferencing
Great for collaborative brainstorming meetings with a virtual whiteboard.
The WebEx app enables teams to start or join webex meetings from within Slack. WebEx meetings offer seamless integration with audio, video and content sharing capabilities. WeEx promises a life-like meeting experience that fosters great relationships.The WebEx meeting link can be shared by using the /webex command.
Once a call begins, WebEx shows a virtual whiteboard with video and chat to the side. You can add shapes, draw, type, share ideas and develop solutions as a team. You can also hide the whiteboard and run a normal web conference.
WebEx Pricing: It is free for 3 participants. Three paid plans are available
- Premium 8, for up to 8 people: $24/month
- Premium 25, for up to 25 people: $49/month
- Premium 100, for up to 100 people: $69/month
Image Credit: Cisco Collaboration Help
3. Skype Video Conference
Great for calling standard phones and group video calls.
Skype for Slack enables you to start video or voice calls from within Slack. Skype makes it easy to transition from a Slack channel or DM to a video call using the command /skype.[skype-username]. If a member’s Skype username is stored in their Slack profile, you can type /skype [@slack-username]. You will need Skype installed locally on your device to use the Slack Integration.
Skype allows upto 10 participants on a group video call and 25 participants on a voice call. During a call, you can share files and contacts, add callers, and share your screen. If you have multi-monitor setup, you can choose which screen to share. You can also set up a skype number that can be accessed from landlines and mobile phones. There are also a number of chatbots and translation capabilities available.
Skype Pricing: The skype consumer version is free. There are two plans available for businesses.
- Skype for Business Online Plan 1: $2 /user /month
- Skype for Business Online Plan 2:: $5.50 /user/month
Image Credit: Tech Crunch
Easy to use video conferencing solution that works on many devices.
BlueJeans is appreciated for its ability to work on a number of platforms. You can start a call from your PC or mobile and you can even stream it to your meeting room.vWIth BlueJean’s Slack integration you can now start an online meeting from any Slack channel, DM or private group with /bluejeans command.
BlueJeans works especially well for larger teams, with easy deployment and management of video conferences. You can run HD video meetings with up to 100 interactive participants. You can also run webinars with ease.
BlueJeans Pricing: Individual plans start at $12./host/month for upto 50 participants and team plans start at $16.65/ host/month for upto 75 participants.
Image Credit: BlueJeans
Great for team calls and webinars.
GotoMeeting for Slack allows you to transform a slack conversation into a conference call. Type /g2m or click the phone icon in a channel to launch GoToMeeting. Channel members will see a link from their browser or they can join through the GoToMeeting app. You will need a GoToMeeting account to use the Slack integration.
It offers call recording, drawing tools for screen sharing and an option to join a meeting via phone call. The “Call Me” feature, lets GoToMeeting call you during a previously scheduled meeting. This eliminates the tedious process of entering dial in information. “One Click Meeting” is another feature that lets users launch a meeting from integrated third-party apps, such as Microsoft Office and email.
*8GoToMeeting Pricing:** Their Starter plan is priced at $19/month for 10 participants. Other available plans are:
- Pro Plan: $29/month for 50 participants
- Plus Plan: $49/month for 100 participants
Image Credit: GoToMeeting
Video Conferencing Best Practices
Civility and Courtesy
Keep all distractions at bay and ensure that other participants have your undivided attention. Introduce yourself before speaking and make note of the other participants’ names. Ensure that your phone is turned off or on mute and do not multitask.
Get the meeting agenda in advance and understand the purpose of the meeting. If there is additional data or reports that are required, get them organized. This saves a ton of time and makes the meeting effective. Get an audio check done before the video chat. Speak slowly and avoid shouting. Adjust the microphone volume, yelling may cause participants to turn down the volume, thus missing crucial information.
Movement and Positioning
Avoid too many hand gestures as this can be distracting during web conferencing. Also, avoid frequent head movements. Ensure that you are not sitting with a window behind you. Sit with your back against the wall or lower the window shade. illuminate your face with the light pointing towards it.and look in its direction. Again, ensure that the light source isn’t positioned behind you.
Contributing to the Conversation
Wait for your turn to speak, don’t interrupt the other meeting participants. One way to ensure that all comments and questions are addressed is to send them via email or instant messaging. You can also use a round-robin format during the online meeting to elicit engagement from every attendee.
Ensure that you look at the camera while you speak. Recording the video call enables you to keep your head up at all times- there is no need to write meeting notes. Even while presenting content, position yourself so that you are still looking at the camera. The video conference recording can help you understand distracting behaviors and gestures. You can then make changes during future calls to ensure a productive meeting.
Avoid engaging in side conversations. These can include talking to the coworker next to you, speaking on the phone or texting someone not involved in the meeting. Professional video etiquette dictates that you give your full attention to those on the call. If you wouldn’t engage in a specific behavior during a face to face meeting then it is best not to engage in it during a video chat.
Clothes with stripes or other intricate detailing can often be distracting. Avoid colors such as red or black Go for pastels or other light colored clothes. Light blue works well for video calls. Keep jewelry to a minimum. Avoid chunky necklaces and dangling earrings. They can bump against the microphone and create noise.
How to Choose a Video Conferencing App for Your Business
The key to a great video conference is choosing the tool that works for your team. Understand how many users need to connect with remote teams and locations, Determine what features matter most to you- video and audio quality, additional options for screen sharing, etc.Test these apps and determine which one is the most robust and reliable. Other considerations may include security, bandwidth requirements and multiple platform support.
Get started right away and run effective virtual face to face meetings.