Do you remember a time when conferencing over the phone wasn’t really a big deal? On a personal level, growing up, the closest thing to a “conference call” was using the “Three-Way” feature on my telephone. Dialing out to my buddies and having a conversation was fun but very expensive. Not to mention that whoever tried calling, would only be greeted by a busy signal.
Well, that was then and this is now. It’s astounding how times have changed. Thanks to huge technology advancements in in the realm of telecommunications, hosting a conference call is less expensive. As well, the features that are available are so vast, it’s no wonder why so many people and business’s turn to audio conference calls as a preferred method of communication. Audio Conferencing is fast, efficient, cost effective and easy to use.
With so many available options to connect to a conference call ( i.e. landline, Voip, cell phone or Polycom ) and with audiences larger than just 3 people, there’s a lot more to it than simply dialing in and having a conversation. From ensuring the room your calling from is as quiet as possible to being able to monitor your participants, there’s a few moving parts to consider when organizing an audio conference.
Conference Call Tips & Recommendations
Here are a few conference call tips and guidelines to ensure your next teleconference meeting is a success.
As mentioned, make sure that wherever you’re calling from is as quiet as possible. Understandably, it’s not always possible to be in the best location every time. In today’s fast paced environment, working from the same location can be an exception for some. However, when possible, make sure doors and windows are closed. Speakers and receivers are becoming so sensitive and clear, even the faintest noise can be a serious distraction. As far as I’m concerned, this is one of the more important conference call tips.
Mute not Hold!
Now this is a tricky one – because both hosts and participants are guilty of this faux-pas!
As pointed out earlier, a noisy environment is sometimes unavoidable. Maybe you need to step away from the call for whatever reason. If you do, make sure to use your chairperson commands. These features are accessible on your telephone keypad.
As a host you may mute and unmute your own line by pressing *6 and *7. You can also mute your entire conference by pressing ##. Your participants can mute their own lines as well, using the same commands.
Muting your line using the telephone keypad command, allows you to leave the conversation without disrupting your conference. By pressing HOLD on your office phone, you could end up playing Hold Music until you return to the call. You wouldn’t want that, would you?
Important Conference Call Tips for Cell Users
For cell phone users, it can happen that you could receive a second call while on the conference. By habit, you may just hit accept while placing the conference line on hold.
Unfortunately, the simple act of accepting a second call, could result in a constant beeping noise being played into your meeting. This would indicate that you’re on another line. If you absolutely need to answer any other call, try to first initiate the mute option. Then dial out to the person who was trying to reach you… Whatever you do, don’t hit that “merge call” button!
Be sure to take full advantage of the touch tone keypad commands that come with your audio conferencing account.
ARE YOUR DEFAULT SETTINGS THE WAY YOU LIKE THEM?
All your callers know about muting their lines. You’ve made sure you’re in a quiet part of the office. What other noise would you have to worry about?
There’s still one more detail not to overlook! There are certain notifications that are turned on by default, which definitely come in handy when hosting an audio conference call. However, when it comes to hosting larger calls, you may want to consider turning off name announcements (or beep on entry and exit).
When expecting many callers, more often than not, you will have people connecting late. To avoid any interruptions, you may want to consider turning off these notifications just to be sure. The options can be accessed (Turned ON/OFF) before the call begins.
As a host, one detail that can slip through the cracks is timezone. Do you know where your participants will be calling from? I will never forget one of the first audio conferences I had organized – I completely overlooked the time zones of my participants. I was on ET and one participant was in PT. Thankfully I had caught the error in time and made sure to clarify the conference start time.
Planning in advance and ensure your participants have all the right information to be prepared for the call. Make sure they know what time and timezone to dial in at. This type of innocent error can easily be avoided.
Break the Ice
Breaking the ice may not always be easy. Especially if your call involves participants whom you’ve never met before. Maybe they’re prospecting clients or otherwise. If that is the case, it’s always a good idea, to dial in a few minutes early. You’ll want to make sure you’re able to meet & greet everyone who is connecting to the call. However, for calls with a larger audience of 20+ you may want to consider having an event conference? Operator Assisted Conference Calls are polished and professional. Operators are on hand to help greet your callers.
In conclusion, whether you’re hosting a conference with only a handful of participants or a larger event call, just remember you’re never alone and help is just a button press away.
If at any time you need any help with your reservationless conference, press *0 to summon an operator 24/7.
Although one can never prepare for unpredictable or unruly participants, the tools available during your conference are definite life savers and will definitely keep your audio conference on track.
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