Screen share: Start Collaborative Online Meetings

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Video conferencing has become the modern way for businesses to conduct face-to-face meetings with their remote workers and clients from different locations. The biggest challenge of this setup, however, is how to remain collaborative online.

Fortunately, there are lots of web conferencing and collaboration tools that you can use. The most popular ones are specific applications with powerful screen sharing technology.

Want to learn how this technology can benefit your business? Let’s discuss first what screen share means and how it works.

Remote employees using RingCentral’s screen share feature to discuss a performance report during a video meeting.

What is screen share?

Screen share is the process of sharing what’s displayed on your computer screen to other devices real-time. Although popularly known as desktop sharing, it’s not only limited to computer and laptop devices.

Some screen sharing applications also allow you to use your mobile phones to show visual presentations during online meetings.

When you show a business report while on a group video call, meeting participants will be able to see whatever you’re looking at or doing with your device. Doing this is much more convenient than having to send files via email to each participant before the meeting.

Employees working together using a laptop
Team member using screen sharing to provide context to the marketing team meeting discussion

What are the benefits of online screen sharing?

Many businesses are taking advantage of this innovation because it makes collaborative communication possible even when everyone is working remotely.

Sharing screens can help boost staff productivity, customer satisfaction, and overall company performance. Let’s take a look at the following business activities where you can apply this functionality.

  • Virtual team meetings

    – This feature lets you brainstorm ideas with your remote team and work on a shared document together instantly. Without it, each person will have to download the file and look at it on their own during the meeting.
  • Virtual client meetings

    – This feature helps you communicate better with your clients. Instead of giving them project updates via email and waiting for them to reply, you can invite them to a video call and show the report real-time. This way, you can get their feedback immediately.
  • Staff training – This feature helps you train new employees that are working from different locations. You can gather all of them in a conference call to give them a demonstration on work processes. This is more interactive than just giving them training materials to review.
  • Remote IT support – This feature enables you to inform IT personnel about technical issues more clearly. By sharing your screen, they can see exactly how things are going on your end. Doing this is also more convenient than sending them screenshots.
  • Webinars

    – This feature improves the way you conduct online events to attract potential customers. By sharing visual presentations during webinars, participants will be more engaged in the discussion and be more interested in your services.

How do I share my screen?

The way you screen share can vary depending on the app you use. In general, the steps are simple and easy to follow. However, it is still important that you familiarize yourself with the controls available to avoid clicking the wrong buttons.

Let’s use RingCentral Video as an example to guide you on how to share content displayed on your device during an online meeting. Here are the steps.

  1. Set up a video meeting on the RingCentral app. You have three options.
    • Click Start to launch a video conference on the spot.
    • Click Schedule to arrange a meeting ahead of time.
    • Click Join to enter a virtual conference room using your Personal Meeting ID.
  2. (Optional) Before you share your screen, click the Record Meeting button to start recording
  3. When you’re ready to show a presentation, click the Share Screen button.

    Screen share button in RingCentral Video

  4. Once a pop-up window appears, choose what to share. You have two choices:
    • Your entire screen
    • An application window
  5. Select your choice, then click Share.
  6. (Optional) While screen share is activated, you can enable the annotation feature to add text or draw on the shared content.
  7. Once your presentation is done, click the Stop button.

How can I share my screen for free?

If you want to see how it works without spending any money, you can check out free online meeting apps with screen sharing capabilities on the internet. Another way is to sign up for free trials offered by service providers.

Here are two important things that you need to know about free screen sharing software and how they are different from paid solutions.

You can only invite a few participants
Most free services allow a very limited number of attendees to join an online meeting. For example, there are tools that only support up to 10 participants. If you have a small team, then using a no-cost version might be enough.
However, if you are planning to expand your business in the future, then you’ll have to hire more employees. With this, you’ll eventually have to look for another screen sharing tool that can support your entire team.
To avoid the hassle of moving from one solution to another, you should consider getting a paid version. Business-level apps, like RingCentral, offer different plans that allow a larger number of participants in a video meeting.
You have a time limit
Typically, free solutions set a time limit of less than an hour per meeting. We all know that business discussions can go on for long hours, so you’ll be in trouble if you’re only given a total duration of 40 minutes.
With limited time, you’ll have to keep the presentation and discussion short or else you might get disconnected even before you finish your agenda. This can be very embarrassing, especially when you are giving a presentation to a client.
If you want to have the flexibility to set the time duration, it’s better that you use a paid application.
  • The more you know:

If you subscribe to RingCentral’s premium plan, you can have a video conference with up to 200 people. Aside from that, there is no time limit per meeting.

Is it safe to screen share?

There are many web conferencing tools with screen sharing features, but not all of them are equipped with high level security measures. This is why you should assess service providers carefully before settling for one.

Keep in mind that you share confidential information during business meetings. So it’s important that you use a secure communication platform at all times. Find a service provider that’s verified by trusted institutions.

RingCentral, for example, uses seven layers of security to protect their customers’ data and privacy. It has security features in place like firewalls, multiple authentication levels, and vulnerability scans to minimize risks of cyberattacks, abuse, or fraud.

HiTrust Logo
McAfee logo

If you use RingCentral Video as your means to screen share, there are different ways for you to secure your virtual meeting sessions.

  1. Require a password

    When you enable this feature, meeting attendees will have to input the password you’ve set before they can join a video conference room. This will prevent unauthorized users or hackers from listening in on a private business discussion.

  2. Provide Meeting ID or link to invited participants ONLY.

    By default, a random meeting ID is set whenever you start a group video call. This prevents attendees of previous meetings from using old IDs to join discussions that they shouldn’t be part of. Be extra careful when sharing the meeting link because it gives direct access to the virtual conference call.

  3. Lock the meeting

    You can lock a meeting to prevent other people from joining an ongoing virtual group discussion. Click the padlock icon to activate this feature. This is a good security measure because even if someone has the meeting ID, link, or password, it is still impossible for that person to join the video call.

General tips for better screen-sharing experience in online meetings

  • Practice before the actual presentation

    Ask a friend or a coworker to have a mock online screen sharing session with you so you can test out the software and learn where the control buttons are. Practicing will save you the trouble of figuring out what to click next to enable certain actions. It will also make you look more professional in front of your audience because you know exactly what you’re doing.

  • Have your files ready ahead of time

    Prepare the documents you need before the session starts. Don’t keep your audience waiting simply because you have to download a file while the video conference is ongoing. Make a checklist just to be sure that you don’t forget anything.

  • Close all unnecessary tabs

    If you’re going to show your web browser, only open the tabs that are essential to support your demonstration. Having multiple tabs on display might confuse you on what to click next, and you might accidentally show something embarrassing or private to your audience.

  • Keep your desktop clean and professional

    Once you’ve started sharing your entire desktop, you might unintentionally minimize or close a window. If this happens, attendees will see what’s displayed on your desktop, specifically your background, folders, and files. Don’t use personal images as your desktop background, and don’t display folders or files that contain sensitive information.

  • Turn off notifications

    Pop-up notifications are convenient to see when working, but it can be very distracting when you’re giving a presentation via screen share. Aside from that, emails and messages are meant to be private and for your eyes only. It’s best to turn off your notifications so that others won’t see them.

  • Check your internet connection

    Screen share won’t work properly if your connection isn’t stable. Poor internet connection can even cause dropped calls. To make sure you have enough bandwidth to support your video call, disconnect other devices from your network and don’t run other programs in the background.

  • Check in with your audience

    Let the meeting participants know when you plan to begin sharing your screen. Starting the presentation abruptly might confuse them especially when the shared content hasn’t appeared on their end yet. Confirm that they can see your screen, and ask if they have any questions before moving on to your next agenda.

  • Use the annotation tool

    The annotation tool allows you to add a text or draw on the shared content. It is very useful when you want to draw people’s attention to a specific area of your desktop. This will help them follow along with the discussion.

Graph being shared and annotated during an online meeting
Want to test how powerful screen sharing technology is? Click on View Demo to learn how RingCentral can help you.
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