The use of conference calling is necessary in certain situations. Need may arise to talk to several friends consecutively. It may also be necessary to make a number of business calls consecutively. Conference calling is useful in situations where several parties are part of a single call. Conference calling can therefore be defined as a call that takes place among several people at the same time. The ease with which people talk and listen to each other in conference calls enhances its efficiency and makes it suitable to a number of situations.
It is necessary to learn the basics of how to set up conference calling. This may include learning what equipment is required and how to set up the equipment. Though it may seem tough at the beginning, the process gets easier with time. One thing that should not be overlooked is the notification of all the parties to the call of the time of call. This may be done through different channels depending on the type of call. Official channels for official calls but for personal calls you may use texts or other means. This ensures their availability to pick the call when it comes through.
Organisation is important for the success of the call. Reminding the parties of the time of call just before the call time is one way to ensure availability. Keeping a record of all those expected to take part in the call is also important. It ensures you can easily keep tabs on everyone participating in the call. It also gives you an easy time as you welcome different people into the call. All this ensures the call goes on successfully.
Different Companies have been set up to offer conference calling services. A good example is Skype and they enable you to make the call successfully. You need to incorporate their services for the success of the call. You are required to have an active account with one of these companies in order to go through with the call. Creation of an account should be a walk in the park once you follow the set of guidelines given. The conference calling feature availed by the company is what you use for the call. Initially, you have to call one person and wait for them to pick up from where you can add the other parties one by one by using the “flash” button. It is not possible to add two people at a go thus you add one person and wait for them to pick up. You then add the next person till you exhaust your list. Different companies may have differences in the addition of other parties. Just follow instructions given.
The connection enables all parties to communicate without major hiccups. The technicalities of the call are left to the company but you need to learn a few things. If you need to end the call to just a single person, then he or she must hang up the phone from where they are. Whenever the caller hangs up the phone, all ongoing calls are terminated immediately. Although this too may be subject to the services granted by the company, the process majorly operates in similar ways.
Learning the basics of how to set up conference calling gives you the chance to understand how to go about the call. You are then at liberty to make a many calls as you want. These calls can be either business or personal calls. Optimisation of the service is then left to you.
Reducing operating costs as much as possible is one of the most important ways that a business can ensure that it remains profitable. One way that most companies can save money is by allowing their employees to take part in conference calls, rather than physically travelling from their location to a meeting venue. This technology allows everyone to interact without the expense of actually getting everyone together, and a free conference call is an even bigger cost savings for a company.
Of course, the cost of having several different employees communicate over the phone is reduced significantly, by taking advantage of a free conference call. The cost savings are even more noticeable for a company with different offices or branches located in different areas spread far apart. The need to get together face to face in an office or conference center is eliminated with conference calling technology and a company can save both time and money by operating this way.
As a rule, employees tend to spend less time on a conference call than they would have done had they met face to face, and the time saved can then be used for other more important things. Operating costs are also lowered, as there is no need to pay for employees to travel from one area to another, or for accommodation for visiting employees.
Travelling can also be very tiring, and hosting a conference call means that employees are alert and not tired or even jet lagged due to having to travel to make it to the meeting venue. Tired employees are usually unproductive employees, and an employee arriving at a meeting or conference tired from travelling will not be able to offer any input or make viable suggestions.
A conference call can still be an effective way of doing business even for smaller companies with only one branch. A free conference call allows employees to communicate and interact with other employees as well as management, and it eliminates the need for employees to leave their desk, as well as potentially cutting down on emails and written correspondence.
The time that employees spend travelling from one location to another, or from one part of the building to another can add up over time, and conference calling allows this time to be used more profitably. A business is in a better position to expand and enjoy continued success, if they are profitable.
However well planned and communicated a meeting is, there are inevitably some employees who don’t attend for whatever reason, and a conference call has the advantage of being able to record the conversations taking place. In general, recording quality is high and the system allows an employee to listen to what was discussed at their own pace, and to rewind or fast forward as necessary.
Not all employees feel at ease at a face to face meeting or conference, and some employees in this environment can be intimidated by more outgoing personality types. Employees feel more at ease and are more inclined to give their candid opinions and make suggestions, when on a conference call.
Although a conference call can eliminate much of the time and cost involved in face to face meetings, meeting in person at least occasionally is important. However, conference calls can be a major benefit for most companies, and of course, a free conference call can potentially save even more money. The savings are greater for any company that makes the most of this technology and incorporates it into their daily routine.
Your company will enjoy many benefits, if you hire a third party to provide telephone conference services. Instead of installing your own equipment and telephone lines (or using software), allow a freelance contractor to set up the technology. This means that you can concentrate on running your business. Here are the things that you should know about conferencing agreements.
Firstly, you might be billed a set up charge or requested to sign a written contract. This will not always happen though. Consumers can afford to be choosy about which firm they hire, because there are a sufficient number of firms that offer telephone conference services. Some firms bill their customers a per minute fee. Obviously, this will be more expensive than the cost of making standard phone calls. However, if you only require conference calls occasionally, it is still cheaper than purchasing software.
Telephone conference services can be used without extra technology. A dedicated telephone number and code are the only requirements. Give this information to the relevant parties, and enjoy a secure conversation with the number of people you desire (up to 100 in one call). Along with audio telephone conferences, video conferences are available too. This latter option is good for personal calls, when it is nice to see the person you are speaking to. For example, you could connect the grandchildren for a lovely chat with their grandfather on his birthday.
Users can access their private phone lines whenever they choose, and they do not have to make advance reservations to hold conferences. When hosting calls, they are only billed for each minute they stay on the line. No additional charges are applicable. The telephone calls have no time restrictions, just the restrictions you choose depending on your available funds, and the amount of time you wish to spend talking to another person in this manner. Any standard telephone is fine for this type of call, be it in your home or at the office. Cell phones can be used as well.
Try to find telephone conference services that offer twenty-four seven customer support. This is crucial, because your company may depend on your ability to do presentations over the telephone, for example, where a good line is necessary. While your discussions are private, lines still need monitoring to make sure that participants are hearing everything correctly. There are certain tools that enable conference organizers to talk uninterrupted, like when university lecturers are giving presentations to their students. Their calls will be fitted with devices that mute every other possible input, for the required duration.
Firms in this industry extol the eco friendly benefits of conference calls. Certainly, many people across the planet can “get together”, without needing to travel to the same location. This saves everyone time, money and poisonous travel fumes. Moreover, with secure processes set up, every payment can be actioned through direct debit, which eliminates the need for paperwork.
There are several other advantages as well. For instance, you have the chance to record your telephone discussions. This is perfect for busy business people, who prefer to give MP3 files to their secretaries, to get them converted into text format. The service is available round the clock, seven days a week. Therefore, you can host a conference call in the small hours of the morning, with an overseas colleague who is in another time zone.
This world gets smaller every day. American businesses today have manufacturing units located in India and Mexico. There’s nothing wrong with sending out emails or official memos, but some vital details can get lost in the translation.
In addition to that shortcoming, even the written word has its drawbacks. It is unable to convey the nuances of the spoken word. Therefore, some instructions could be misunderstood. That’s why conference calls have become so crucial to large businesses. Most modern companies carry their own internal servers, as well as software, for running an international conference call. If your business is trying to operate without one, it’s time you re-thought your position.
Most of today’s companies use VOIP (voice-over-internet-protocol). This is essentially transmitting your voice over the Internet. It is cheap, and a quick way to set up your international conference call. However, it may not be the most reliable. Let’s take Skype, for example, they offer you free conference calling across any time zone. We all know that having multiple people simultaneously on the same line with cause disruption and disturbance during your call. That just means that what you need is a company that utilizes a telecom connection. This connection type offers you better quality video and audio and your calls will go through faster.
Some of the companies using telecom connections offer you an unconditional guarantee for their call quality. It is a good idea to always know how your participants are going to connect to your call. You should know whether participants will be required to dial a 1-800 number to connect, or if the company has a call-out process for calling the participants. This information is very important, because some of the participants could be conferencing from within a hotel room, and may not be equipped for calling a toll-free number from there.
Facilities Being Offered:
Most of today’s companies also offer a broad range of various international conference call features. These are essential elements for meetings in the business world. You can do things like –
1. Set Up Your Meeting With NO Advance Reservations
2. Audio Record Your Meetings
3. Offer Muting Options for Participants During Your Meeting
4. Invite an Unlimited Number of Participants to Your Meeting
5. Get Live Technical Support & Operator Assistance During Your Meeting
6. Chat Services, Web Cam Support, Streaming Video, and Instant Message services Provided by The Company Without Request
Most companies provide these services for you at a flat rate or can charge you ‘per service’.
Calling & Hosting Costs:
Before reviewing your call costs, take a look at your call frequency. You need to know how often you host your conference calls and to where you usually call. Know how many minutes you require as well as whether you phone internationally or locally. Based on these statistics, you can create a close estimate of what your budget is. Some companies will charge you an exact flat rate every month regardless of the type of calls you make.
Costs are generally determined per person. However, some users may be charged according to their location. Be sure the company you use charges an exact rate and also provides your users with toll-free access. That will mean that your participants will not have to be paying out of their own pockets.
NOTE: Toll-free rates vary from one country to the next, and your ‘per person’ charges are going to vary accordingly. Participants should check the numbers and associated pricing for individual country before they sign on.
Choosing a Provider:
You can find several good companies online who are willing to deliver you their international conference call features and services. All it takes is going online and doing a regular search with your favorite search engine. Be sure to review the points mentioned above and then ask to get a quote. Do some comparison shopping to find the company that is best suited for your needs and budget.
Increased technology has meant that several people can now take part in conference calling by telephone in order to communicate; not so long ago it would have been necessary to get everybody together in the same place. The advantages of conference calling are obvious, especially for any company whose employees are located a great distance from each other. Not surprisingly, many companies have embraced this type of telephone conference and have used the technology to largely replace face to face meetings, although some companies have reported some drawbacks to communicating in this way.
Advantages of Conference Calling
The ability to allow people who are geographically distant from each other is perhaps the biggest advantage of conference calling. In the past, face to face meetings often had to be canceled or postponed if some of the parties involved could not make it to the meeting venue, and of course, conference calling has eliminated that potential problem. The distance between the participants is immaterial, as they are able to communicate instantly and in real time.
The introduction of conference call technology has allowed employees to use their time more productively and to multi-task. An employee can be traveling to work on the train or in their car, and can participate in a conference call at the same time. The technology allows employees to provide updates on their particular assignment or area of expertise, as well as be informed in a timely manner about other company happenings.
Of course, conference calling saves huge amounts of money that would otherwise be spent on travel arrangements and accommodation, as well as saving time. In the past, a company may have even had to fly employees in from other countries, depending on the size of the company, and allowing employees in different countries to communicate effectively by phone can save thousands of dollars. The money saved can be used on other important aspects of the company, such as boosting sales or productivity.
Disadvantages of Conference Calling
It might be argued that encouraging employees to communicate only be telephone is encouraging laziness, and regular conference calling can also mean that some employees choose never to come to the head office. In theory, an employee can participate in a conference call from their living room or kitchen; in fact, there is almost no need for them to get out of bed or leave the house if all communication is carried out in this way. In contrast, many companies actually request that their employees meet face to face and attend meetings or conferences in person whenever possible.
Another drawback of conference calls is that they tend to foster a culture where employees do not interact in person or get to know each other. Many companies argue that employees are more likely to be interested, to participate and to come up with better suggestions and more relevant input when they meet face to face, rather than simply communicate by telephone.
For a small company, it may actually be costlier to hold a conference call, rather than get everyone together at the same time in the same place. It can often take a large budget to set up a reliable conferencing network, and a small company with few employees who are all geographically close to each other can save money by meeting face to face. A large company with employees spread out over a large area can get the most benefit form conferencing by telephone.
Despite the drawbacks mentioned above, most companies embrace conference calling and can see the advantages of communicating that way. However, it may not work for every company and it is the responsibility of management to weigh up the pros and cons of conference calling.
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