There are more and more reasons to skip meetings and collaborate online instead. Time, gas and traffic are good enough reasons on their own to stay put and meet online. I think the reason people still insist on meeting face-to-face for every little thing is because they don’t know what alternatives are available.
I don’t mean to say you should never meet with other people in person. Face-to-face meetings always have value, but they’re not always the best use of the time. Choose your meetings carefully and for the rest, try hooking up online.
Here are a few online mindmapping tools and collaboration systems I happen to enjoy.
Bubbl.us is a web-based mindmaping tool. They’ve had a 2.0 version in public beta for as long as I can remember. Both the current and beta versions are easy to use for mindmapping and sharing. In case you’re not familiar with mindmapping, here’s a video from techbites on mindmapping with bubbl.us.
Huddle.net has iPhone and Blackberry apps in addition to the web console. I’ve used this to track tasks on a project, share files and manage a project calendar. This service also supports web conferencing with screen sharing, discussion boards and a virtual whiteboard.
Google Docs is one of my favorite tools. You can create text docs, spreadsheets and presentation files which can be viewed and shared online. Give another person change access to the file and they can edit it as well. My Toastmasters group uses Google Docs for the club roster and I’ve used it to submit articles to magazines.
Freebinar is a recent discovery for me. If you’ve done a webinar, or watched one, you probably know they’re pretty handy and of course, they help you reach an audience that can be anywhere in the world. There are some other good tools out there that charge a nominal monthly fee, but I don’t do enough webinars to justify a monthly ding on my card. So far, I can’t tell why I wouldn’t use Freebinar anyway.
That’s a short list, but it works for me.
Do you have any favorite online collaboration tools? Share your discoveries in a comment below.