Online Meetings: Free & Easy

SlideShare, that wonderful service for sharing slide presentations (and more), has just launched a new online meeting service called Zipcast. And it looks to be a winner. Just select one of your slide sets  as the basis for the meeting and click on the Zipcast link right above the slides.  Choose if your meeting is public or private.

Your very own meeting room will open (your meeting room has a URL like this: Easily broadcast an invitation to your Facebook & Twitter networks (or not). To invite others, just email them your meeting room URL. Turn on your video camera and microphone to start talking to attendees.

Attendees can use the Chat box to communicate with you. The Pro ($) versions have support for participants to talk. With the Pro versions there are no ads and you can require a password for participants to join the meeting.

Note that the private setting really isn’t very private, anyone can figure out what your meeting room URL is and jump into the meeting.

Granted there are lots of other powerful meeting tools available that have more features than the free version of Zipcast. I’ve used Elluminate many times and like the interactive features, participants can jump in and present, you can run polls, it’s easy to share the microphone between multiple presenters and presentations and chat transcripts can be archived. But I don’t always need all those features and some clients don’t have access to meeting services that cost money.  Another plus for Zipcast – no software download, it runs right in your browser tab. Nothing special needed.

This service launched on Feb 16 and as part of the launch Slideshare is running a series of public Zipcasts on a variety of topics. More information about the service on TechCrunch and on the SlideShare blog.

This could come in really handy for me over the next month or so. I fractured my kneecap last week and have  had to cancel a ton of in-person consulting and training meetings. Anyone want to do a Zipcast training session. I’m available! 🙂

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