November 08, 2012, 3:14 PM — Skype is so popular that in some circles people use the name of the service as a verb. Yet most people use Skype only for making free voice calls, and for conducting occasional video chats between far-flung relatives. That's a shame, because Skype is a powerful business tool. A Skype-powered videoconference can take the place of a business trip, saving you money on airfare, hotel, and car rental. And lets not forget the free Skype-to-Skype calls you can make to overseas suppliers, clients, and other contacts.
There's actually more to Skype than meets the eye, however. For example, you can use the service to show someone a PowerPoint deck. You can use it to dial in to conference calls without all the usual hassles. And you can add a Skype button to your website to give customers a free and easy way to contact you. Sound good? Let's begin.
1. Share your screen
Its always easier to show than tell, and Skype lets you show not only yourself (on a video call), but also your computer screen. One of the software's best-kept secrets, this feature allows you to share a presentation, show off a webpage, or demonstrate how to use your new product.
Start a video call or a Skype-to-Skype voice call from the free Skype client for Windows or Mac. Once you're connected, click the + icon in the call bar, and then choose Share screens. (Just to clarify, this is how you share your own screen. If you want to see the other persons screen, he or she will have to perform this process.) In the pop-up box that appears, click the Start button; that will share your entire desktop. If you want to share only a specific window or program, click the down arrow and select Share window. Choose the window you want to share, and then click Start.
Presto! Now the person at the other end can see what you see. If you want to do the same thing with a group, you'll need a Skype Premium account.
2. Record your calls
Call recording gets a bad rap (thanks a lot, CIA!), but it serves a valuable purpose in business. As long as all parties agree (and in some states, even that isn't a requirement), a recorded call can help you revisit the important talking points in a conference call, create a written transcript of a conversation with a client, or even improve customer service (if you're using Skype for service calls, that is; see #4 below).