New Mac app on join.me

Good news! Our brand new Mac app is now available on join.me. It’s new, improved, faster, slicker – but still the same join.me you know and love. Start a join.me session on your Mac at join.me to check out the new app.

Using a PC? We haven’t forgotten about you – stay tuned for a new Windows app coming to our beta site soon.

         

Web collaboration: Using markup.io free drawing tool with join.me

About a week ago I was using join.me with a colleague checking out a website. Apparently we had different views of where “to the left” was (hey, it happens), so I pulled up markup.io to show them exactly where I meant. And then it hit me: I should share this tool with our join.me users. I already told you about Jing when I posted about favorite free tools, but markup.io is perfect for reviewing and collaborating on web pages. It’s fast, it’s simple and sits in your browser toolbar so you can easily pull it up. You can also “publish” your markups when you’re done and send them out. Check it out – it’s a perfect pair with join.me. Here’s an example:

         

join.me wins Best Professional Software award from Macworld UK

join.me was named the Best Professional Software this year at the Macworld UK awards. What does that mean? It means our free screen-sharing software was recognized for being awesome, and for making a significant contribution to the Mac community (iOS too!). This was such a beautiful thing for join.me we had to share with you – and, of course, show you what we actually won. In case you’re wondering, we’re currently in the process of devising a schedule of who’s desk it sits on and for how long.

         

How does join.me work? Take the tour

We created this video just for you to show you what join.me is all about. Take the tour:

Want more info? Check out our blog post on join.me tips and tricks.

         

Let’s discuss: Ice breakers for virtual meetings

Hey, we’ve all been there.  Whether it’s the start of a new job or the beginning of a new project, there comes a time for the icebreaker. You know, the “go around the room and tell everyone…” It could be your favorite book, the best place you’ve ever traveled to or, my personal favorite, “something unique about yourself.” (That one always drives me crazy – I never know what to say).

Now that more and more people are working remotely, sometimes these icebreakers need to happen in our virtual meetings, too. Because we use join.me free screen sharing to collaborate with the people we work with, we use icebreakers, too. So, let’s discuss: If you are starting a new project with a group of people you don’t know very well, what are your favorite virtual icebreakers to use? Which ones do you find work the best? Which ones don’t work?

Let us know in the comments.

         

Let’s discuss: Your favorite free tools.

Sharing is caring, right? So let’s bring our collective minds together and share our favorite online tools. Are you using any free apps in conjunction with join.me? Any apps you might think someone who uses join.me would find handy? If you like an app, we might, too. So leave them here in the comments and tell us what you’re using.

I’ll start with mine: When I am using join.me, I also like to use Jing. It’s a cool little app that sits in the upper right-hand part of your screen (that’s a Mac thing; for Windows, it’s in the upper middle) and allows you to capture an image (or record) part of your screen and annotate on the fly. A great find.

         

“I now turn to join.me instead of any other tool”: 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 Mark’s story:

“I use join.me for multiple reasons.  Just the other day, I used it personally to show my wife how to do something on a website.  I wanted an easy way to show her without having to have her come to the office to see.  So I used join.me.  Initially, she thought it was weird to see what was happening on my screen.  When I asked her how well it worked, she stated that it worked very well and was easy to use.

As a software developer who works remotely some of the time, either at home or a client site, I need to show other developers what is happening with the software or in the database.  I now turn to join.me instead of any other tool.  I’ve tried using other tools; however, with just a couple of clicks I have join.me running and I have pasted the join.me link in an IM window.  Within a minute, they are connected and I can show them that is going happening.  So much easier than trying to explain it over IM or the phone.”

-Mark Starkman; Senior Developer

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

         

“join.me is the light in the darkness”: 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 Tom’s story:

“I work for a small but growing service-oriented business with seven sales representatives around the country. Our company also has several other employees who work remotely from time to time. Part of my duties include supporting them all with help-desk type issues. And most whom I support have only novice computing abilities which several years ago made helping them very difficult. What used to be done over the phone between two people speaking different “languages,” skilled and un-skilled, caused much frustration for all involved. Now with join.me, those same type sessions are turning into teaching opportunities instead of headaches. join.me is the light in the darkness. I am now able to guide the users and let them learn in the process which in the long run will lessen the help needed.

Another cute story: I shared join.me with my 73 year-old mother who is highly skilled herself. She has been helping her 97 year-old mother, Grandma to me, learn how to use a computer. Grandma loves to read and play cards, and now she is learning how to send emails to her nieces, nephews, grand and great-grand children. As you can imagine, there are times when the computer is a bit mysterious to Grandma, but now Mom has installed the join.me icon on Granny’s desktop so that Mom is only a click and a phone call away. Very cool!

join.me is truly one of the simplest, most useful applications that I use on nearly a daily basis. Thank you join.me!”

– Tom Mappin

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

         

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.

         

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.