Say what you mean, mean what you say. What we overhear at meetings

People say a lot during meetings. Some present. Others comment. Sometimes there’s a group discussion. And most likely, there’s someone in the room who has the reputation for being that guy (or gal) in a meeting.

You know the type. You wait with baited breath to see what quips come flying out of their mouth and into your ears. And by accident or not, they actually serve a purpose. They add some much-needed levity. They rally the troops. They make a boring meeting more interesting.

Like all good things, there are different approaches to interjecting during a meeting. Let’s break ‘em down.

Speak the truth

Proving honesty really is the best policy, some orators cut through BS faster than a hot knife through butter. But sometimes fact is harder to hear than fiction.

Nobody knows why anything is happening.

We’re just trying to get to yes.

You don’t have to be in here now.

Oh please – it’s the day before vacation.

Overly dramatic

For a meeting to be successful, decisions have to be made. Some make a point tactfully and professionally. Others spew hyperbole. Whether for dramatic effect or out of pure excitement, an exaggeration can get a point across and make people open their ears.

We don’t know. We just think.

Even if I try to read it, I’m not. It’s boring as %*#$.

I’m getting a little hot and heavy with you. 

If they don’t turn that music down … I’m going to kill them.

Sarcasm much?

Some people make a mockery out of traditional meetings. Others mock what people attending those meetings have to say.

And after we do that, you can throw roses while we all walk around. 

You’re mean. 

You just hit his comfort zone. 

Out of left field

Not everything overheard in a meeting actually makes sense. In context, out of context, it’s utterly baffling. Perhaps you’re supposed to read between the lines. Perhaps not. Either way, you’re left wondering: What the heck does that even mean??

You need to make it more {insert whistle noise here}.

Now with f@&%ing habanero sauce – I’d try it.

99 things? Hot dog!

You never want to jam anything up there.

So, we want to know: what do you overhear in your meetings? Who’s funny, intentionally or not, during your get-togethers? What little gems have popped out during group collaborations? You obviously don’t have to name names, but some delicious ear candy would be much appreciated.

         

Infographic: What’s Your Company’s Work From Home Policy?

There’s two sides to every coin, right? Some say working from home can give employees the freedom to be more creative and have a more flexible work arrangement. Some also say productivity goes down and office camaraderie is next to non-existent. Bottom line: The work from home policy in your office will almost always be based on opinion whether employees are allowed to spend a majority of their time outside the office.

This flowchart from Mindflash can be used to determine whether it’s a good idea or a bad idea to allow employees to work outside of the office. Check it out below:

         

join.me named one of 50 best websites of 2011 by Time

Yesterday, Time named join.me one of the 50 best websites of 2011 in the financial and productivity section.

Booyah!

         

Monday Morning News: August 15, 2011

Welcome back! It’s Monday, and that means it’s time to get back into work mode. Let us help: Here’s five stories to catch you up on the tech news of last week and some other topics to keep an eye on as the week goes by.

Working Remotely

Surprise! We’re huge advocates of working remotely. Check out this expert remote worker’s experiences and answers to some commonly asked questions.

8 Keys to Creating an Office Where Ideas Flow

At join.me, we’re all about having remote meetings, but still we love being in the same place as our co-workers. Fast Company Design outlines some of the keys to creating collaborative spaces.

7 Tricks to Improve Your Cubicle

Dive into these tricks to make sure that your cubicle is your own personal “happy place”, not your private jail cell.

12 tips for better meetings

These meeting tips will help your in-office meetings and your remote meetings. Another little tip from us: If you’re going to have a meeting before 10 A.M., you better bring the doughnuts.

Where Should You Live, Based On Commute and Price?

Calling all Californians! Are you living anywhere near where this interactive infographic recommends? Chances are, not so much. However, if you’re thinking about moving, don’t forget to figure your commute into the equation. Happy commute = happy worker.

Do you have a memorable post/article that you read or wrote in the past two weeks that you want to share? Post a the link below in the comments.

         

Easy interior design: a true story from join.me

Everyone has their own join.me story. And in the name of collaboration, we’d like to share these stories with you. Check out a story that came through our feedback:

“Wow, what an awesome service! I’m a 29-year-old single guy and am buying a house for the first time. I took a lot of pictures and have used some really amazing online tools to plan my room spaces and visualize different colors I want to put in the house. My aunt is an interior designer and was willing to consult with me to give me a better idea of what I should expect. I used join.me to show her all my pictures while she suggested different colors to apply to my rooms. It was extremely helpful for her to see real-time images of the things I was applying and visualizing. We looked at furniture and accessories on different Web sites, and it was SO much easier than sending links back and forth or capturing screen shots. join.me made my home decorating efforts much more enjoyable. And for free? Seriously!? I can see myself using this thing time and again. Thanks!”

Want to share your own join.me story? Email me at maggie@join.me.

         

With screen sharing so fast, you won’t have time for small talk. (You’re welcome.)

If you’ve used other not-so-instant screen sharing “solutions,” you may have experienced The Wait. Everyone is on the conference call, but people are still downloading the program to their individual computers before the meeting can get started. While that happens, you fill the void with chitchat. Good luck with that.

Luckily, with join.me, screen viewing is instant. There’s nothing for participants to download, so there’s no need to have these awkward conversations:

So, how was your weekend?

If someone was sick or incapacitated in any way over the weekend, you just opened a big ol’ can o’ worms. When you hear something along the lines of, “Not so good, I had a stomach bug,” all you can do is stop asking questions and say, “I’m sorry to hear that.” If you ask for details or commiserate, it only gets worse. You’re better off listening to the distant keyboard clicks.

It’s still downloading? What’s taking so long?

It’s only natural to talk about what’s happening now, and chances are what’s happening now is someone is having difficulty with installation. This conversation goes something like this, “Did you click the thingy?” “Yeah, but then what?” “It should just install by itself.” “%&$^!, nothing’s happening.” “I’ll just give you another minute before we get started.”

What are the kids up to this summer?

Do you really want to hear about what someone’s second grader is doing at day camp? And do they really want to answer? Maybe someone’s teenager is grounded for the month of August and don’t really want the situation outted. It’s a dicey endeavor that won’t earn you that many personable brownie points anyway.

Are you talking to me?

It’s inevitable that when there’s unstructured chitchat among people joining in remotely, you don’t know who’s talking to whom or about what, especially if you join the conversation a little late. When do you announce that you’ve joined the meeting when someone else is chitchatting? When do you insert yourself into the conversation? Who’s talking anyway?

Got much going on today?

When you’re trying to fill the void, the last thing you really should do is call attention to how much of a time suck that void is. Everybody’s got meeting after meeting after meeting, and yours is taking too long to start. This conversation isn’t just awkward, it’s stressful!

So, here’s one of our effective meeting tips: For productive meetings, avoid these and other awkward conversations by starting your screen sharing session instantly at join.me. No chitchat required.

         

LogMeIn Launches vpn.net and Releases New Hamachi Update with Support for IPv6 on Windows, Macs and Linux (Beta)

We are excited to introduce a new home for LogMeIn Hamachi users at vpn.net. LogMeIn Hamachi still offers the same great service to download, setup and manage your VPNs over the Internet.  At vpn.net both new and existing users can log in to Hamachi’s secure VPN service quickly and easily.  LogMeIn Hamachi can network Windows and Mac OS computers in any configuration.  A client for Linux-based systems is now in beta.

We’ve also added support for IPv6 within Hamachi. This is part of our commitment to lead IPv6 adoption as well as ensure our users continue to get the highest quality of service.  Enabling Hamachi to use the IPv6 protocol means that there are now a virtually limitless number of IP addresses which can be used with Hamachi VPNs.  Existing and new Hamachi VPNs will continue to leverage IPv4 addresses in addition to full support for IPv6.  From an end-user perspective, the IPv6  transition will be seamless for existing Hamachi users.  Hamachi hosts will be updated automatically, but you can also update Windows and Mac hosts manually by clicking “check for updates” under the help menu.

To create a new VPN, you can simply go to vpn.net, download Hamachi, create a new network, and set a password.  Adding other computers to the network is quick and easy.  Just point colleagues, clients and other users to vpn.net, and provide them with the network name and password.

Check it out and let us know how it goes…

         

Give Your Online Training Tools a Boost with join.me

A few days ago, I attended an online business training session (name withheld for privacy purposes). It was the typical sign-up-and-wait experience where I registered, got approved, and on the day of, watched patiently as the presenter flashed through slides.

I sat back and watched. As the trainer spoke, I hand-wrote my questions and comments, occasionally sending a chat message at the moderator who would hopefully find it and answer it at the end. Sure enough – they took some questions, but not mine. And then we were out of time. I followed up with an email and waited some more. Sound familiar?

While there are distinctive features and differences between presentations, workshops, virtual meetings, and training sessions, each of them can benefit from a simple tool like join.me. Taking questions in real-time around key takeaways provides an opportunity to engage the audience. Passing control of the screen during presentation of charts and visuals help trainers better understand the audience mindset and take the presentation to next level. Both techniques create a deeper understanding of the message. So why wait?

Delivering effective training online takes the right tool and a feedback loop. What are your online training tools for engaging your audience and training in the simplest possible way?

         

join.me: a virtual communication tool for higher education

As I always say, we are so lucky to get great feedback from our users every day. Lately, we’ve been seeing more and more people using join.me in higher education.  Whether you’re a teacher, a student, or both, join.me has been helping academia stay connected with its online meeting capabilities. Here’s some great feedback we’ve received recently:

“I’ve just started tutoring a group of young people as part of summer school… Not only did I use your service on my Windows Vista laptop, but I also presented it to them on Macs as well as Windows 7 on different browsers all at the same time. I could see the results were amazing. The students found it easier to follow on screen when completing walk through activities.”

“Excellent product!! Making it free makes it even more helpful for students like us who need to collaborate on assignments and deliverables.”

“It has been extremely helpful during my on-line course work to be able to show my instructor, mentor, and adviser where I was bogged down. It’s so much easier to show then to describe over the phone or on email. Also, I have students that I tutor who can use join.me to let me see what they are working on and dialog before they submit an incorrect answer. Love it all!!!!”

As a professor, join.me can help you be available to students on the fly. We spoke to Professor Rodney Farthing a few months ago to learn more about how he is using join.me by working remotely and holding virtual office hours for his students. Also, it’s a great instructional tool to help students who can’t attend class still participate – they can join your join.me session from wherever they are. No more snow days! (Just kidding.)

You probably remember what it’s like to do group projects – you still do something of the sort at your job every day. For students, join.me can help you collaborate with your peers and can make group projects easy. As more and more students take classes online, your group for a project could be spread across states or even countries and requires some serious virtual communication. Why not use join.me for some online group collaboration on a paper, or to research a topic together?

Are you a student or professor that uses join.me in the classroom? How are you using it? What do you love about it? Let us know in the comments.

         

join.me now supports Mac OS X Lion

For all you Mac users out there, we’ve got great news: You’ll be able to use join.me today with the newly announced OS from Mac. join.me will update automatically after you’ve installed Lion. Free desktop sharing for the win.

UPDATE: Having issues with join.me in Lion? Seeing a black screen? Try uninstalling join.me from your desktop and installing again.