webmasterDecember 20, 2018December 20, 2018Want a productive, glitch-free conference calls? In our conference calling 101 guide, you will learn how to set up a conference call, the most popular systems, a useful timeline for setting up calls, and the benefits of using this technology. What is a Conference Call? A conference call is a VOIP bridge that allows three to 6,000 attendees to participate in an audio discussion. Services are free, fee or both. Attendees dial in and participate. Some of the more popular systems are: Conference Calling by Vastconference. This fee-based service offers instant, operator assisted and international calls. It also provides screen sharing. It can connect to 6,000 users and has a pay-per-minute or unlimited monthly plan. Freeconferencecall.com. This totally free service allows connection up to 1,000 participants. It offers screen sharing, recordings and international access. It does play ads when the callers first dial into it. Zoom. Has a free option that can host up to 100 participants with a 40-minute limit time per meeting. It allows up to an unlimited number of meetings and online support. It has an enterprise solution that is $19.99/month for each host and you must have a minimum of 50 hosts. It allows up to 1,000 participants, unlimited cloud storage and a dedicated account manager with this solution. RingCentral. For between $19.99 – $49.99/month, you can have 4-10,000 users with unlimited phone calls and SMS. You will have call management and system administration support. Setting up Conference Calls Timeline Two weeks before Determine the purpose and length of time required. If you can’t come up with an overall goal, don’t hold the call! Establish the conference call service. Determine who will be on the call and whether you want to record it. One week before Send out invitations with date, length of time, conference call number and access code. Two days before Send out agenda, additional notes and ground rules. Remind participants of date, time, phone number, access code and purpose of call. One day before Read all the materials and make notes about questions, comments or concerns you may have. Call day Don’t make conference calls in noisy environments. If you have a dog or usually work from a coffee shop, find somewhere different because background noise can be amplified and be a real distraction to you and other participants. About 20 minutes before the call, clear any clutter from your area and closed out all activity on your computer. One of the reasons conference calls are unproductive is because attendees are distracted. Be mindful during the call. How to make conference call – Dial the unique number, enter the access code and voilà, you are in! Join early. If you are the host, be on the call 15 minutes before it starts and if you’re a participant, call 5-10 minutes early. This can ensure stable sound among participants, so if you have to disconnect and try again, you aren’t taking up valuable meeting time. If you are the organizer, start and end the call on time. Establish a time limit for each agenda item and when it’s reached, move onto the next item. Keep small talk to a minimum. Three Conference Call Benefits Enable employees and clients to connect remotely. Reduce the need and cost for travel. According to Certify, the average domestic business trip costs $949 per person when you factor in transportation, accommodations and meals. If planned and executed correctly, there is increased efficiency, productivity and collaboration among the team. This is more effective than a mass email or group chat because there’s structure and it allows for back and forth discussion. Hartford Technology Rental Supports Small and Large Businesses If you need additional office equipment, Hartford Technology Rental can help support your business. Learn more about our corporate computer solutions or teleconference rentals by calling 888-520-5667 or contacting us online.