Thanks to telework, remote offices and global economies, fewer meetings are conducted entirely face-to-face in a single location. Technology has been slow to keep up though, with most online meeting tools about as convenient as a root canal. Here's a new meeting tool that makes meeting online fast, efficient and productive.
MeetingBurner is a web-based meeting tool that is among the cream of the crop. It's fast and easy to join -- I was able to host my first meeting within about 5 minutes of arriving at the site for the very first time. When you start a meeting, you get a URL to share as well as a call-in number that you can Skype or dial normally. MeetingBurner also offers to send invites to attendees for you automatically -- and no one has to actually sing up for MeetingBurner to join the meeting except for you, the host, so you're not slowing down the meeting or spamming attendees with yet another account to join.
Once you're in the meeting, you can share your screen (you'll need to install a small program to do that), chat in a sidebar-style IM window, talk via the conference call, and share a webcam. You can also pass control of the screen to any other attendee. (Although of course they'll need to install the app at that point as well -- MeetingBurner is smart about only asking you to install the screen share tool when and if you need it).
MeetingBurner's dashboard view lets you schedule future meetings and review past meetings. And if you pay for a premium account, you can record meetings and even play back pre-recorded sessions in "autopilot" mode. The free version of MeetingBurner might be all you ever need, though -- it allows you to conduct meetings with up to 15 attendees. The Pro version ($40 a month) adds recordings, and the $100-a-month Premier version delivers analytics, the aforementioned autopilot mode, and even PayPal integration (if you want to use the service for webinars and other pay events).