Today, there is no shortage of communication tools. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to stay on top of the new apps and platforms that developers introduce every day for our smartphones, tablets, and even our sneakers to help us monitor our heart rates and count calories while exercising. However, too much can be a bad thing, and many would-be technology users have thrown their hands in the air, swearing off new technologies altogether. “I don’t use that,” they’ll say. “You’ll have to call me.”
Here are five communication tools that are free, easy-to-use, and best of all, useful.
Fortunately, not every technology is hard to use, complicated, or requires a Ph.D. in computer science (or the ready advice of a teenager) to implement. Here are five communication tools that are free, easy-to-use, and best of all, useful.
- Have you ever tried to set up a group meeting? Usually, one of two things happens. The meeting organizer picks a date. Most people can’t attend, and the meeting flops. Or, the organizer asks for everyone’s availability, resulting in a flood of “reply to all” e-mails that require an ability to solve those really annoying SAT logic problems: “If Bob can attend on Tuesdays, but Suzy is only available Wednesday morning, how late will Frank be?” Fortunately, Doodle makes scheduling meetings easy. The organizer picks several dates and times that suit his or her schedule, and then everyone else indicates their availability on those dates. Whichever date has the most checkmarks wins!
- Now that broadband and wi-fi are as common as water fountains, there’s no reason not to be using Skype, the free videophone and videoconferencing service. It’s fast and it’s easy, which make the chairman of the board, your secretary, or the kids are only a Skype call away. You’ll feel like Star Trek’s Captain Picard: “On screen!”
- Free conference call services. Services like InstantConference allow remote parties to dial a toll number (it’s okay—everyone has lots of cell minutes these days) to participate in a conference call, at no cost to the organizer. Yes, conference calls, which were once the sole domain of large companies with oak conference tables and fancy conferencing equipment, are available to all.
- All things Google. Whether it’s Gmail, Google Apps, Google Calendar, Google Drive or Google Maps, Google is doing a phenomenal job of providing conveniences for personal and business use. You can even run your own personal domain through Google, so you can have the convenience and efficiency of Gmail with the professionalism of your own internet address.
- The “shame on you” items. If your company doesn’t have a website or a Facebook presence yet, you’re flat-out turning away customers—and money. Yet it’s shocking how many companies still don’t have even the humblest storefront on the web.
For many of you, this is probably old hat. Run along and tweet about what you saw on Facebook about what someone pinned on Pinterest. For the rest of you, it’s time to take the plunge by trying these oh-so-simple communication tools.