28 Tools for Online Brainstorming and Decision Making in Meetings (2019 update)

Sep 25, 2015 by Elise Keith in meeting technology (46 minute read)

Including step-by-step instructions, screenshots, short reviews, and our top recommendations

Last updated January 22, 2019
We're adding new tools as we learn about them, and you'll find helpful replies and information from the companies listed here embedded in the full list at the end of the post. You may also want to check out our all-encompassing post on making decisions in meetings -- it's a great companion piece to this article.

How exactly do you do this online?

The Strategic Planning Meeting Essentials Pack designed by Anna O'Byrne includes a series of online brainstorming and decision-making exercises. If you run these meetings face-to-face, you'll use sticky notes, markers and a whiteboard for those steps in the process.

But, how do you do the sticky-note thing online? You can find dozens of online sticky note and brainstorming applications, but not all of them work well as part of an online meeting.

We decided to test out all the online sticky-note, brainstorming, and decision-making tools we could find to figure out just which ones work best for quick collaborative sessions during a meeting.

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Topics: meeting technology

Awesome: Rescue Your Meeting When the Audio Goes Bad

Aug 14, 2015 by Elise Keith in meeting technology, release announcement (5 minute read)

Ever start up an online meeting and spend the first 5 minutes trying to get everyone on the call?

Ouch! Trying soo hard to hear...

Ever get part way through a meeting with terrible sound and realize your forehead may be permanently creased from all the squinting and frowning going on as you desperately try to make out what people say?

Ever set up a meeting with a new client, only to have them demand you use their favorite web conferencing service to run it instead of the one you’re used to?

Yes, of course you have.

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Topics: meeting technology, release announcement

The Top 5 Best Alternatives to Join.me

Jun 30, 2015 by Tricia Harris in meeting technology (4 minute read)

Last updated January 5, 2017
We first wrote this article in 2015 because we get a lot of people who sign up for Lucid Meetings seeking a cheaper alternative to join.me. We appreciate the attention, but Lucid isn't a video conferencing tool; Lucid is a meeting automation and productivity platform, and that's a different beast.

If you're looking to get better results from your meetings - tangible results like more efficient meetings and clear next steps captured in writing - then give Lucid a look!

If you're simply looking for better, cheaper, or free-er video conferencing and screen sharing, check out our updated recommendations below.

Web Meeting Services of Yesteryear

Ever since download-heavy web conferencing services like WebEx and GoToMeeting came on the scene, people have been searching for the best online meeting software to supersede them.

Join.me was created for simple screen sharing - the most used feature in WebEx and GoToMeeting - and it solves the problem of getting people into meetings easily with no downloads. Recently, they added  fun video conferencing too, while still keeping ease-of-use front and center.

However, easy by itself isn't always a solution. When people decided to switch from the more established tools, they lost a lot of useful functionality.

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Topics: meeting technology

Introducing appear.in video conferencing

Apr 17, 2015 by Elise Keith in meeting technology, release announcement (4 minute read)

Sometimes you find something simple, delightful, and easy, and you just run with it. Today, that means a new lightweight integration that makes it possible for you to launch simple video conferencing from appear.in for your next Lucid meeting.

I was reading the Founder’s Cabin newsletter from Josh Pigford at Baremetrics, where he mentioned how much his team enjoyed using appear.in for their team meetings. We’re always looking for great online communication technology to integrate, and we’ve been watching the evolution of WebRTC support with high hopes.

When I saw that appear.in was:

  1. Free,
  2. Had a documented way to integrate with them, and
  3. Didn’t require any special login or an email address from a giant internet company (ahem),

We contacted the team and asked about using appear.in with Lucid Meetings.

They said go for it, so we did.

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Topics: meeting technology, release announcement

Free Tools for Scheduling Your Next Meeting

Feb 3, 2015 by Elise Keith in meeting technology, tips & techniques (5 minute read)

You're in charge of arranging a meeting that includes people from different companies in different time zones. Thanks to the ready availability of online meeting services, you no longer need to worry about travel times or budgets - you simply have to find a time to meet and send out invitations.

That's the good news: meeting online makes it easier than ever to meet with people spread across the globe.

Still, that's easier said than done. When you meet with the people in your company, you simply check their shared calendar to find an open slot and send out the invitation. That won't work this time because you have no idea what the other attendees already have on their schedule.

The challenge: meeting with people outside of your corporate network and local timezone increases the complexity of scheduling.

Related: Free tools for organizing meeting agendas and taking notes

So it begins - the long exchange of email as you try to find a mutually agreeable meeting time. You need a time that everyone has free with a little bit of padding just in case the conversation goes long that isn't during anyone's lunch, not too early, not too late, not on a holiday (accounting for the different holidays for each country and religion involved in the call). The more people involved, the longer this takes.

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Topics: meeting technology, tips & techniques

How to select the right online meeting platform for any meeting

Dec 11, 2014 by Elise Keith in meeting technology (20 minute read)

Download this article as a PDF

Today we're taking an in-depth look at how to match software features to the type of meeting you're running, which is the first item in our Top 10 Things to Consider When Purchasing Meeting Software checklist.


Have you ever walked into a meeting where there weren’t enough chairs? Those people shuffling in the back of the room distract everyone and make the group rush through the conversation.

Ever tried to map out your big idea on the whiteboard, only to find that none of the pens work? No matter how vigorously you wave your hands around, you just can’t get your idea across without the picture.

Remember the time you worked so hard to prepare that important presentation, only to fumble about and eventually discover that you had no way to connect to the projector? I still get a sick feeling in my gut about that one.

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Topics: meeting technology

Top 10 Things to Consider When Purchasing Meeting Software

Nov 26, 2014 by Tricia Harris in meeting technology (2 minute read)

We get asked all the time, “What is the best way to choose a meeting software vendor?” Not all services are created equally, so comparing apples to apples can be challenging.

To make the process a little easier, we’ve developed the Top Ten Things to Consider When Purchasing Meeting Software checklist and worksheet.

This downloadable guide is packed with all of the questions you should be asking yourself before choosing a new meeting software vendor.

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Topics: meeting technology

10 Tips for Running Online Meetings with People in Other Countries

Oct 16, 2014 by Chris Higgins in meeting technology, remote work (6 minute read)

We meet with international teams all the time -- our own company spans three timezones and two countries, and we work with clients around the world.

When you host international conference calls with people living in different countries, you run into special challenges. Here are 10 tips to help you plan and run international meetings successfully.

1. Use an Online Meeting Scheduler

If you live in one country but have participants from others, it gets very messy trying to figure out all the holidays, weekends, timezone "work day" overlaps, and so on.

Your best bet is to use an international meeting scheduler that allows participants to mark which meeting times work for them. Lucid Meetings includes the option to ask participants to select good times from a list; that's useful even if your team doesn't span countries.

If your meeting software doesn't support this kind of "ask the participants" function, try the World Clock Meeting Planner. It requires you to plug in the locations of all your participants, but gives you a reasonable idea of what might be a feasible time (or set of times) for your meeting.

2. Share the Inconvenience

I occasionally meet with a team including participants in these locations: the west coast of the United States, Israel, and Taiwan.

If you plug these locations into a timezone calculator, you'll see that there is no "good" time to meet. Inevitably, somebody on the team is up very early or very late to attend the meeting.

When you encounter this situation, rotate the meeting times so that each participant gets a "good" time slot once in a while.

In other words, if you're on the U.S. west coast, go ahead and schedule a meeting for 10pm Pacific Standard Time, so that the other participants will be in their offices during normal work hours. Then rotate it next time so you won't be in your pajamas.

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Topics: meeting technology, remote work

Free Tools for Organizing Meeting Agendas and Taking Meeting Notes (2018 Update)

Jul 21, 2014 by Elise Keith in meeting technology (10 minute read)

You've read about how to improve the quality of your meetings.

You know you need a goal for each meeting, and ideally an agenda.

You know why you should take meeting notes, and how writing down decisions and next steps saves you truckloads of trouble down the road.

No more wishy washy wandering discussions for you!

You're ready to start driving and tracking useful results. You're ready to... organize your meeting records!

Related:

 

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Topics: meeting technology

Accessibility support, localization, a meeting scheduler and more!

Nov 7, 2013 by Elise Keith in meeting technology, release announcement (5 minute read)

Our long-time colleague Tricia Cooper recently joined the team at Lucid Meetings. Like everyone here, Tricia's a multi-talented professional with many years experience helping organizations collaborate well online. Tricia's here to work with our clients and prospects as they explore holding Lucid meetings in their organizations.

And frankly, we haven't made her job easy. In the past 6 months, we've completely redesigned Lucid Meetings, added a ton of new features like, accessibility support, integration with Atlassian Confluence, and localization in six languages, and a meeting scheduler

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Topics: meeting technology, release announcement