Breaking news: join.me just got easier.

It’s true – all thanks to you.

We took your countless emails, tweets, questions and feature requests and came up with a free screen-sharing product that’s even easier for you to use.

For join.me free users:

Multi-monitor capability.

Using two monitors when working at your computer? join.me now lets you choose which monitor you share. Selecting which monitor is easy – big numbers will appear that correspond to each monitor.

Broadcast.

See that blinking tower? That’s your new broadcast button. When you start a join.me session, you are automatically broadcasting your screen (don’t worry – as you can see, we let you know immediately.)

Need to pause your session? Hit the button and we’ll let you know that your participants see a static image of your screen. When you un-pause, you will be notified as well.

Are you a join.me pro user? It’s your lucky day: Along with all of the new free features, Pro users also get:

Your own personal background.

Brand join.me with your own personal background. Choose what your participants see as they wait for an online meeting to begin – whether it be your homepage, your company logo or anything else that relates to your brand. Click on this photo to see an example of company branding with join.me.

International Numbers.

Using join.me outside of the U.S.? As a Pro user, you now have access to international dial-in numbers for the following countries: AU, CA, ES, GB, HU, IT, and NL.

We also moved the meeting lock feature – you can now find it when you check out who’s in your meeting.

That’s all the news for now. If you have any questions, feel free to check out our Twitter or Facebook. And, also, one last thing – if there was ever a time to start your free pro trial, it’s now.

         

Make Your Presentation a Gift – a #smallbiz post by @ZaneSafrit

Good presentations are about giving. They are a gift. They are a personal gift from the speaker…to the audience.

Like all meaningful gifts, they are rare and precious. We share them and rave about them long after the meeting hall or conference call has ended.

Here are seven ways to make your presentation a gift to your audience.

Practice, Practice, Practice

One of the many ironies of social media’s rise is that as we are allowed more spontaneity in real-time connections, as we share in its power…then the power of preparation goes ignored. And by default its power rises as well.

The best presentations, the ones where the speaker seems casual and conversational and passionately engaging, are the presentations that have been practiced over and over and over again.

Give them Today

Give them a solution for today. No one expects a speaker to solve all of our problems right now. But leave them with a solution, a step to take, a tactic to use, a decision they can make that can solve one challenge …today.

Give Them Fun

We’re in short supply here for laughs, smiles, fun. Fun is the start of creativity and ideas. Fun starts engagement and participation. Fun is the gateway to memorable. And if you practice, practice, practice in order to give them a solution for today and in the process give them that added personal touch, you can have fun, give fun and be professional, too.

Give Them a Story

We all love stories. We are hard-wired to embrace stories. Stories connect a message with its teller and audience, our hearts and minds and journeys. Give them a story.

Give Them More PowerPoint Slides

Yes!

No. No one needs more powerpoint slides with more points in more 10-pt type. Nor do we need speakers who read those points and in effect give the presentation to the screen.

No.

Give Them Time to Engage

Leave time at the end for questions and answers. Their questions and answers.  Your audience should have questions if you have inspired and pushed and opened their vistas to more possibilities. They should be excited and agitated to connect their insights from your presentation with their needs.

Give Them You

You are the special sauce, the one-of-a-kind creation that connects with them and their special sauce…their one-of-a-kind creation. Mix it up with your preparation and solution – it’s a very tasty gumbo. Rare and one of a kind. Something they will savor and rave about later.

Package all these up. Give your audience the gift of an unique experience, an experience worthy of their time, with a gift of knowledge to take home and unwrap to bring a solution for their challenge. And you’ll be invited back again and again.

To learn more about Zane Safrit and what he’s up to, check out his website.

         

LogMeIn Releases Plugin for Internet Explorer 9 and Firefox 4 Support

Today we have released an updated version of the LogMeIn plugin to officially support Internet Explorer 9 and Firefox 4 browsers for Windows.  Installing the new plugin will allow users to remotely control computers via LogMeIn Free and Pro2.

This plugin is available on Windows only, (note: we are working on a plugin for Firefox 4 on Mac.  Stay tuned.)  You can give it a try by simply logging into your account on www.logmein.com.  You will be prompted to update your plugin automatically.

         

Conference Call or Meeting? by @MeetingBoy

While I complain a lot about meetings and conference calls, there is no escaping them. They are the death and taxes of corporate life. Sometimes people need to get together to decide or discuss things, and so in the interest of being constructive, I’ve made a list of when to call a meeting versus a conference call, because sometimes the wrong venue is the problem, not the agenda.

So if you’re someone who needs to get his team together, how do you decide whether to have your employees sleep at the conference table or their desks?

Rule #1: A pointless meeting handled via conference call is still a waste of time. It’s just a waste of less time. During the corporate vs. independent debates, consultants said they hated going in for pointless meetings because they didn’t like unbillable travel time. A meeting people have to go to that wastes their time will waste less time on a call, but let’s just stop wasting each other’s time.

In fact, maybe this should be the new Golden Rule of Office Life: Respect others’ time as you would have them respect yours, regardless of their rank in the organization.

So the following shouldn’t happen whether in person or on the phone:

  • Status meeting or any other meeting where people only care when they are the one talking. A status meeting is really a series of two-person meetings where one person reports their item to the manager. No one listens to another person’s status. No one cares. So in a 12-person department meeting, 10 people are having their time wasted at all times! That’s 84%.

Can we stop doing status meetings and just start doing these via email. Or text. Or never. Yes, let’s try never.

  • A meeting without an agenda. If the meeting has no purpose, nothing will be accomplished. Fact.
  • A meeting where all you’re doing is reading something word-for-word.

Read my lips: I C-A-N R-E-A-D. So tell me something not already in this slide or shut up.

Rule #2: Never use the phone for a group discussion when everyone can meet in person in less than 5 minutes. The whole point of working in an office is proximity, so take advantage of it. Once you go to the phone, people feel less self-conscious about checking Twitter or playing Angry Birds, just as they do when the lights go down in a meeting.

Rule #3: Any time more than two people will do most of the talking, you need to meet in person. Because once a lot of people need to talk, the phone becomes very confusing as to who is talking and who’s turn it is. I covered this point in a previous post.

An exception when the phone would work is when multiple people in one room need to ask one remote person questions, because then the local people can keep from cutting each other off. This comes up plenty when a key decision maker is traveling and the show must go on.

Rule #4: Any time you are disseminating information to a dispersed group, use the phone. Earnings, briefings, instructions, overviews, kickoffs– these things are all perfect for conference calls because one person will do all the talking.

Never make me travel to a lecture. I can ignore you fine from over here.

Rule #5: Any uncomfortable conversation, brainstorm, or debate needs to happen in person. If you’re pulling the team together to figure out what went wrong, you’re going to need people to look each other in the eye and take responsibility. On the phone, people feel no compunction about blaming others and dodging their own share of the disaster, but that’s harder to do in person. Of course that’s not to say that there aren’t some sociopaths in the workplace who can look you in the eye and lie about anything; it’s just that there is no solution for sociopaths.

Of course my boss doesn’t consider himself a liar. When he looks you in the eye and tells you something that’s not true, he’s being honest about believing that rules don’t apply to him and that he’s better than you.


When you’re trying to incubate an idea or build a consensus, people are going to all chime in, and only in person can this work because on the phone they will all talk over each other, and no one knows what’s going on. In the end they will agree to anything because they will be frustrated at not being heard and just want to move on.

Why does the project suck, boss? Well, it was confusing when everyone kept interrupting each other, so I caught up on Words With Friends and then just agreed to everything.


Rule #6: If there’s a language barrier, it will be worse on the phone. So meet in person. If you struggle to make yourself understood over the phone, the person on the other end is also frustrated. If this happens in person, people are often more sympathetic and more patient. Also there will be non-verbal or even written things that can be done to make it go better.

And if you can’t meet in person, then get someone who can talk for you to join you on the phone so they can help.

We struggled for a half hour on that call because of a language barrier, but we met in person and got it solved. But there’s no solution for a stupidity barrier.

So there you go. Six rules and one golden rule. As soon as someone chisels these onto stone tablets for me, maybe we can change the office world for the better.
Any to add? Let me know in the comments.
         

NEW UPDATE: LogMeIn Ignition for Android Now Honeycomb Ready

New this week, we’re excited to let you know that we have updated our LogMeIn Ignition for Android app to officially support Android Honeycomb tablets, including the Motorola Xoom. Existing users can update their app for free.  A broader Honeycomb release is also in the works.

As always, your direct feedback helps LogMeIn improve our products.   Get the update and let us know what you think by leaving a comment.

         

Offer Free Resources the Right Way – a #smallbiz post by @BeckyMcCray

Every small business owner runs into people asking for free help. They play twenty questions, trying to figure out how to do it themselves without hiring you. Handling them the right way can mean more paying customers. Handling them the wrong way will drive you crazy and hurt your bottom line.

You need ways to offer them something helpful, without cutting into your paid work time. Invest a little in educating them, because some will ultimately choose to hire you, or they may refer others to you in the future.

So how can you educate in a way that respects your time? Here are three ideas you can use.

Look through your blog archives. Create a single post with links and resources that can act as your educational tool. Then you can send people to it with a short, standard email, or you could even print it on business cards to hand out in person.

Publish yourself on paper. If you have an in-person business, paper makes more sense than electronic. Put together a simple handout or a booklet of information that you can give away. This could be the same information you’d put in the resource blog post.

Set up a regular workshop or seminar, maybe created with a local career and technical center. When the next person asks for free help, hand them the flyer for the upcoming workshop.

For example, I get lots of requests from local people wanting to start nonprofits. (Many times they are hoping I can get them some of that magical “grant money” they’ve heard about.) I created a list of links to non-profit startup resources that I can share with them. I keep it in Evernote, so I can paste it in emails or refer to it during phone calls. It gives these new non-profits some help, and it lets me get on with the business at hand.

Key point: Keep the focus on education, not selling. Let your great information do the talking in this case.

The bonus to this technique is that you don’t have to turn non-paying clients away empty handed. You can give them some assistance, without giving away your sanity at the same time.

Becky McCray is a small business owner from rural Oklahoma. She recently developed a toolkit with more instruction on how to draw the line between free and paid, with six steps to draw the line, worksheets to complete and a short audio demonstration.  She runs a liquor store and cattle ranch, and she does consulting with small town governments on special projects. She and Sheila Scarborough co-founded Tourism Currents to help tourism professionals learn to market more effectively online. She also publishes the popular blog, Small Biz Survival, about small town business.

         

LogMeIn Ignition Update Available: View, Transfer and Save Files Between iPads, PCs and Macs

If you own LogMeIn Ignition for iPad/iPhone, be sure to download the newest update, which is now available on the app store.  The update gives users the first iOS app to combine remote control with file management.  You can now use one app to access all of your computers, information and files from anywhere via your iPad, iPad 2, or iPhone.

Be sure to check out the video below to see all the new features.

With the all-new LogMeIn Ignition, a user can:

  • View files and folders on one or more computers
  • Copy and move files or folders from remote computers directly onto the iPad, iPhone or iPod touch for local viewing
  • Save PC and Mac files directly on an iOS device for offline viewing
  • Create a local folder and filing system within Ignition on the iPad or other iOS devices
  • Open and edit files locally on the iPad, iPhone or iPod touch using file editing apps like Documents To Go (by jeffrey), Quickoffice, Pages, Keynote, Numbers
  • Transfer files between remote computers
  • Update locally saved files in Ignition with updates from remote computers
  • Plus the ability to wake a sleeping computer using Wake-On-LAN.

iPad 2 users will also benefit from increased speed and performance, with LogMeIn Ignition tuned to allow for multitasking.  We hope you enjoy remote control and file transfers all from the same app.

         

Watch this. #naptime #lastcookie

We know what it’s like. We’ve all been there. Falling asleep in a meeting. Trying to grab that last cookie for whatever sugar rush it’s worth. Hey, no need to come up with excuses and explanations for join.me. In fact – we came up with something for you instead.

Enjoy.

         

10 Things That Just Make Me Mad – by @barrymoltz

Are you a small business owner, employee or thinking about starting your own business? Then we’ve got just the solution for you. join.me free screen sharing can help make the most of your time and money. Being in small business, you know it’s your personal touches that are key ingredients to your success. To help support you in whatever stage you’re in your small business, we’ve gathered some experts in the field, right on this blog, to share their stories, lessons and wisdom about small business.

Being an entrepreneur can be an exhilarating experience, but then there are other days where I wish I had a job. Having your own business is not for the faint of heart. In this economy, it’s tough out there. Sometimes what can help is a good old fashioned rant.

Here are the things that make me angry in small business.

1.    People I have met that don’t respond to my emails and return phone calls….ever.

Just say no! If you don’t want to talk to me, send me an email to buzz off or call me late at night to leave a message that you never want to hear from me again. This way, I know that you aren’t stuck under a bus somewhere and I can move on to other people that I can help.

2.    Customers that don’t tell you they can’t pay their bill.

If you can’t afford my product or service, don’t buy it. If circumstances have changed since your purchase, tell me. Don’t have me keep calling you with no reply looking for the money you owe me.

3.    People that are always late for meetings (greater than 15 minutes).

If you are not a physician or the cable guy, you need to respect my time. Use your cell phone and let me know you are going to be late so I don’t wonder if I got the date wrong or I should start lunch without you.

4.    People that cancel a meeting less than an hour before that meeting is suppose to start and I have already left to meet them.

In this fast-paced world, schedules can change quickly, but don’t change your mind about meeting me an hour before the meeting. Look ahead at your schedule and cancel me the day before if you are not interested.

5.    Banks that reduce my line of credit even though my business is profitable and I have never missed a payment.

It is no secret that banks are less than excited to lend money to small businesses these days, but don’t cancel my line of credit just because I fall into the wrong industry sector that has a high default rate. Treat me as an individual customer and look at the merits of this loan.

6.    “Customers” that say they will buy my product “next month” but then never do.

If you really don’t want to do business with me, I would appreciate a quick “no.” You won’t hurt my feelings by saying you are not interested. I appreciate a quick no more than a yes that never quite comes.

7.    All the government taxes and regulations it takes to run a business.

All I want to do is sell my products and services to other people. The myriad of laws to be followed and taxes to be paid by a business owner is mind-boggling.

8.    Insurance costs that go up 20% every year while the benefits go down 50% every year.

I dream about a business like health insurance where I can raise my prices 20% a year and offer 50% less for it. This cost is now the second largest cost for small business owners and is being pushed out to employees.

9.    Employees that quit with no notice…or just don’t show up.

If you no longer want the job, please show up politely and quit. Please give me a week or two notice so you can take advantage of your new opportunity and the people left at the company don’t suffer in your absence.

10.   Business people that make boat loads of money out of sheer luck with no skill.

Lottery winners I can cheer for. Dumb people in business with a bad idea and even poorer execution that strike it rich just makes me cry. But as Jean Couteau says, “We must believe in luck, for how else can explain the success of those we don’t like.”

Ah, I feel better now.

Ok, your turn. What makes you mad (as hell and you’re not going to take it anymore?) Let me know in the comments.

Barry Moltz gets business owners growing again by unlocking their long forgotten potential.  With decades of entrepreneurial experience in his own businesses ventures as well as consulting countless other entrepreneurs, Barry has discovered the formula to get stuck business owners out of their funk and marching forward.  Barry applies simple, strategic steps to facilitate change for entrepreneurs, and get’s them growing their business once again. Barry Moltz has founded and run small businesses with a great deal of success and failure for more than 15 years.


         

Hey, join.me users – did you know?

Here’s a quick little tip/trick to take advantage of join.me‘s uber-simple interface in ways that best fit your free screen sharing needs.  It’s especially useful for training or ‘let-me-show-you-how-to’ scenarios. But hey, the whole idea of join.me is to let you use it for whatever you want.  We’ll stick to keeping it simple,and sharing some of its better hidden features, like…

‘Tear away’ windows, your way

When you click on any of the join.me‘s few buttons — phone, chat people, etc. — a small window appears directly under the join.me interface.

Windows will first appear under the join.me UI...but they don't have to stay there

Just ‘grab it’ with your mouse and move it where it makes sense for your session.

Stack 'em up, keep 'em open. It's up to you.

Want to keep chatting with your students, clients, customers, friends while keeping the center of your screen clutter free? No problem.  Just move the chat window to the side.  Same goes for the others.  Heck, keep ’em all open, all the time.  Stack ’em or spread ’em out.  Totally up to you.