There are a number of applications that are great for business communication and collaboration; a few tools I frequently use for business purposes. I found them along the way, hidden like needles in a haystack; or got them as tips from other colleagues, as pearls of wisdom. I would like to share them with you in case you don’t have the time to look around, ask around, or money to shop around… because what is great about them is that these are free! So here we go!
Dropbox helps you share photos, documents, and videos. Save your documents to your Dropbox folder so emailing large files is not necessary. You don’t worry about storage problems or email rejections because of mailbox sizes. Dropbox allows you to invite and share your documents with others. They can access it update, save, and share the latest version. Visit >> dropbox.com
NOTE: Not everyone likes to install new apps in their computer, the Dropbox icon shows on your desktop and indicates when you have updated documents in the queue but it’s easily overlooked. It works best if the document owner sends out a notification.
Google Documents is great for document collaboration and works the same way as above. You can share documents in created in Word, Excel, Power Point, PDF. What I like about it is that many people may be viewing and updating a single document at the same time and the latest version is saved and available automatically. Visit>> docs.google.com
NOTE: Not everyone has Gmail and Google Document accounts. When you send an invitation there is an extra step for the invitee to create Google Docs account, otherwise the document is not accessible.
Join.me is a tool that allows you share your computer or view someone else’s computer screen during a meeting. The free version allows you to hold unlimited number of meetings with up to 250 participants. During a meeting you can chat with participants, share a system-generated conference call number, transfer files, and allow other participants to control your computer, for example if you are sharing a power point presentation. Explore Join.me
NOTE: Be sure to end the sharing session and remove the documents from the sharing queue at the end of your meeting.
Group.me is a wonderful tool used for group messaging by just adding the people in your phone contact list. It works with almost any phone with any service network. Once you create a group and add contacts to the group the text message appears to all participants, like a little chatroom. The mobile app is easy to use too. Visit >> groupme.com
NOTE: Group texting can get out of hand with everyone replying to the entire group it can quickly use up any texting limits individual group members may have on their plans, something to consider.
Google+ is great to have video meetings –here called Hangouts- and you can have up to 10 people in the hangout room. As long as the other team members are on Google+ you can have a face to face meeting and even share your computer screen with them. It seems that other features will be added soon for example if you are having a panel discussion and want to share it with the world, you will be able to broadcast it. More info at plus.google.com
NOTE: I have experienced two problems with Google+ Hangouts: 1. Sometimes get kicked out when I try to share a screen with another application; 2. When I do share my screen it often appears blurry to the others in the hangout.
Cardmuch is a business card reader from LinkedIn. Did you ever go to a conference, got home with a bunch of cards, and didn’t know where to begin? This is a good place to start. Scan the card, Cardmunch creates a contact record with all the info on the card, saves it to your iPhone and pulls up their Linkedin profile so you can connect right there. Check it out >> http://cardmuch.com
NOTE: It only works with iPhones, and creates a separate contact list which doesn’t seem to sync with your phone contact list.
Skype is very popular all over the world, from Mexico to England to India I have had great communications. Skype to Skype calls are free anywhere. The free services include video calls, voice call, and text message features which work the same with the mobile phone app. There are many other features that I won’t mention here but feel free to explore on your own at Skype.com
NOTE: Yes! There is a downside here too. Free services allow calls with multiple Skypers but video can only be done with one person.
So there you have them, the top tools in my tiny toolbox! Do YOU have any favorites you wish to share?
This is intended to share what has made my work easier with the hopes that it will do the same for you. Please note that this is NOT a sponsored post. BEWARE that with any free app you install and use on your phone, PC, or iPad, you may be unknowingly and unwillingly sharing information with the service provider. If you have clients, contacts, or documents that are protected by privacy or confidentiality clauses, it is best NOT to share over a cloud or web based service that is free. A paid service is a different story because it is a form of contract that carries certain responsibilities and guarantees. Nevertheless, I leave you with this word of caution.