Conference calling is a tool that has been used by large companies for many years. The costs and the functionality requirements of conference calling have till this point been somewhat demanding, but recent improvements have opened up conference calling and many new features to small companies that were unthinkable to even the largest companies.
While most people are familiar with 3 way or similar kinds of conference calling, true conference calling is designed for multiple groups from different locations to be able to connect and share resources or for one location to be able to monitor and control the conversation.
Add the computer and high-speed Internet connections to it, and conference calling becomes a way to be able to do almost anything but shake hands. Conference calling basics and some suggestions as to how to use it to your best advantage will be discussed here.
What is conference calling?
Conference calling is now more than just the ability to put everyone on speakerphone. That can become particularly disruptive as the group meeting becomes larger and cumulative background noises cloud the connections. The more participants you have on an open line multi-party call, the more opportunity you will have for doors that are slamming, people whispering or interrupting, other phones ringing, or just coughing, sneezing or other human noises.
Conference calling is basically set up as a spoke wheel with the head office or the person calling the meeting set up as the hub. As such, the hub can have complete control over the meeting. Depending upon the technology being used, the conference calling hub can select several individuals to respond while keeping a closed microphone on everyone else, and therefore, avoid interruptions and excessive background noise.
Who uses conference calling?
Conference calling is making its way into companies of just about any size to communicate in real time and to add capabilities as it becomes necessary to add resources. While conference calling is still a bit expensive, compared to the costs of travel and the loss of time for those that are on the road, the costs are negligible.
Conference calling becomes particularly advantageous for things such as franchise meetings, discussion of procedural changes, new employee training, monthly updates, and important mandatory meetings that are called on short notice. Home care and healthcare companies are even starting to use conference calling to communicate with remote family members or to hold company meetings with staff who donít or cannot make it into the office.
Conference call add-ons
New technologies are making it possible to add features to conference calling that were to this point, only thought of as part of a Star Trek episode. With each feature however, consider that the cost will go up somewhat though you can generally add these only as you need them.
Most conference calling is set up with a toll-free number that can be used anywhere in the USA or Canada. This means that your users wonít hesitate to join the conference because of cost and should hopefully be able to concentrate on the meeting itself without worrying bout the cost of the phone call during peak hours.Security is provided to any such conference by using pass-codes. Though the person who is holding the meeting is notified in some way of people coming and going, you donít want just anyone to join this meeting. You as the host are given a pass-code that you may hand out to those who you are expecting to join the meeting. When they dial the toll-free number, they are asked to enter the pass-code in which case they will be allowed access to the meeting.