Teleconference – the best solution for business meetings
Teleconferences are considered one of the most effective tools for business meetings with no boundaries or physical presence. Their simplicity and accessibility made them a much-favored medium for daily business communication.
What is a teleconference?
A teleconference connects several participants simultaneously with the help of telecommunications devices. It allows attendees from different locations to participate in virtual business meetings instead of in-person meetings.
Web conferencing is a globally available service that can be accessed from any device at anytime. Its flexibility makes it the perfect communication tool for businesses with the following:
• remote teams
• multiple offices
• clients from afar
Utilizing the online conference capabilities drives efficiency and improves business productivity.
Teleconference options are considered among the most effective tools for business meetings with no boundaries or physical presence. Their simplicity and accessibility made them a much-favored medium for daily business communication. Learn about the advantages of conferencing solutions and how the business benefits them. Find useful tips on how to host effective business meetings over the web.
Benefits of Teleconferences
Optimizing operating costs
Cost efficiency is the primary benefit of voice and video conferencing. Web conferencing vendors or cloud telephony providers provide teleconference services. They often provide competitive monthly rates and usually include free conference tools in the monthly package. Audio and video calls are usually conducted via local access numbers, significantly reducing costs or entering a pin to join. Regardless of the call’s duration and the time of day it is held, the expenses for the teleconferencing are minimal.
Audio conference services can be quickly and effortlessly configured and managed. One of their main advantages is that they utilize a widespread technology – the phone. Creating a free conference room and inviting the users to join requires less than 3 clicks. The attendees of the business meetings can participate from anywhere. All that is required is a working telephone connection or an Internet one. The simplicity of conference calls and their ease of use transform them into essential collaboration tools.
Joining a conference can be performed from any device. Audio and video conferencing can be conducted at any location with an internet location. No one must be in a specific place during the business meeting. The invited people can join from a phone, mobile, tablet, laptop, or a feature-rich conference phone system like Yealink CP960.
The ease of use and the accessibility of conference tools are essential for businesses as they save valuable time. A teleconference can be arranged quickly if an important decision should be taken. Thus, everyone can input their ideas and comments on issues to be solved without even leaving their desk.
Online conferencing brings people in charge together right on time for a real-time discussion. It enables the responsible people within an organization to conduct effective remote meetings and ensures good communication with existing customers. Teleconferencing can be fundamental for delivering the company’s message to the right people. Written communication can be lost, ignored, or misunderstood. While the conference meetings deliver the message clearly and guarantee that everyone stays on topic.
Frequent and effective communications
Audio and video conference services are widely accessible at any time. This allows the company to organize an urgent meeting with no effort. So an organization is flexible and adjusts quickly to the business environment. Virtual conferences are a reliable collaboration tool that stimulates effective communication within and outside the company.
Crosses geographical boundaries
Companies today are often globally present. A teleconference ensures that colleagues, clients, and partners from afar stay always connected, no matter their location. Thus they can discuss business issues even if the participants are not in the same meeting room. This results in travel expense reduction, time-saving, and resource optimization for any company.
Features of the teleconference
Conferencing service providers offer the business a variety of enhanced features. Any company can choose a package depending on the expected teleconference intensity.
Free Conference Services
Cloud telephony providers and conferencing service vendors may offer free teleconferencing for their customers. The free audio and video calls are an additional service to the company’s monthly plan. This free-of-charge feature does not require cancellation, deactivation fees, or a long-term commitment. If a company utilizes teleconferencing, the meeting host can easily create and manage a conference room. The participants can dial in using a special access code and an assigned local telephone number.
Start your free video or audio conference now!
Conference call services allow a company to connect internationally through local phone numbers. This is a cost-saving feature as the local call rates are usually applied no matter the destination or duration of the audio conferencing. The invitees connect using the available in-country access number, followed by the PIN code provided by the meeting host.
Having control over the conference ensures its efficiency and success. During web conferencing, using a mute button is an important option. It allows you to reduce disruptions of the background noise significantly, but it also implies that a person whose line is muted will not be heard. The host can also mute and unmute individual lines to minimize the meeting disturbance and navigate the discussion. But again, this excludes some of the attendees from the active conversation.
Many companies prefer a professional conference phone system in their meeting room. These advanced conferencing tools have built-in noise-proof technology that suppresses unwanted ambient noise while everyone can still hear the speaker. Background noise is one of the major challenges of conference calling. Read on to learn how to avoid it to have effective remote meetings.
Custom Hold Music
Some providers offer a business to personalize its hold-on melody. This improves the waiting experience of the attendees. Choosing the right music is part of brand communication with partners, customers, or colleagues.
The web-dial feature allows an enterprise to arrange a conference call and conduct a company meeting from a browser. Starting a business discussion over a softphone requires a high-speed Internet connection and high-quality audio or video.
Creating Unlimited Sub-Conference Rooms
Some service providers offer the option to create multiple sub-accounts. This helps a company structure the communication flow for a certain project. The sub-accounts authorize multiple people to simultaneously create a conference call under the main account. This feature is useful for attendees who should continue the discussion in small group sessions.
Instant Conference Rooms and video meetings
In case of an urgent issue that has to be solved, organizing instant remote meetings is priceless. A conference room can be set up without effort for a voice-only conference within minutes. Joining a video meeting is also a good solution in such cases. It is fast and effortless – you only need a device with a display and a good internet connection.
The analytics feature gives the company accountable insights about its business communications flow. The included metrics give any enterprise valuable information about conference usage by individuals or departments.
Dial-out to add Callers
Dial out feature allows the host to call different users simultaneously and from the same device. Once the callers answer, they are already connected and are part of the meeting. Depending on the specific company’s communication needs, some businesses choose this option over Dial-in conference calls.
How to set up a teleconference?
For audio conferencing
Setting up and managing a conference call requires several easy steps:
1) Service providers may offer a company free access to a conferencing feature, or it needs to own an account within their system.
Thus, the host creates a conference room without needing to log in first with a username and pass. The other option requires the moderator to be logged into the company’s account to start a conference call.
2) The necessary equipment for holding the conference call has to be available
Depending on the device used for the audio conferencing, the required hardware varies. A softphone with a headset, a mobile phone, or a tablet with a built-in microphone can be used. Many SMEs prefer a dedicated conference phone system with many advanced features.
3) Inviting the attendees
Invitations should be sent via email or instant message containing the exact date and time and the corresponding time zones if needed. An access code for the meeting has to be generated and provided along with the access number list.
4) The host and the participants should join the conference room
Audio conferencing requires callers to dial a specific access number and enter the access code (PIN). This PIN adds a layer of security to business conference calling.
5) Start collaborating
For video conferencing: You do not need an installation or logi if it is a web-based service. Your host will send you a link with a pin generated for you to join. You can open the link and click on the button to join so that you attend the virtual meeting.
Teleconference – a key factor for business success
Web conferencing is an integral part of the business communications strategy of any company with remote offices, clients, and partners. There is a wide range of activities to which teleconference applies to:
• Connecting employees with prospects or existing clients
• Discussing the company’s strategy with people from different departments
• Solving fast important issues that occurred unexpectedly
• Files sharing and expecting verbal comments and feedback
• Holding remote job interviews
• Providing internal training for employees or partners
• Conducting stakeholders’ meetings
The benefits of teleconferencing for any enterprise, be it small, medium, or large, aggressive.
Minimize business telephony costs.
Cost savings are always the primary benefit for any profitable business. Switching to fee conference services is an option every business should consider. Some cloud telephony providers offer video and audio conference solutions as a free value-added service.
Reduce business travel expenses.
Teleconferences are very beneficial in terms of reducing travel costs. Unlike face-to-face meetings, telecommuting does not require your physical presence in the meeting. Cutting down payments for business trips has a huge positive impact on the monthly budget.
Lower accommodation costs
Teleconferencing allows the meeting to be hosted and the attendees to join from anywhere. A company’s headquarters, a home office, a co-working space, or a coffee shop – any convenient place. Reducing business trip accommodation expenses significantly allows the company to allocate financial resources elsewhere.
Optimize the time spent in meetings.
Apart from the obvious financial benefits, teleconferencing is a great time-saving tool. Web conference tools ensure more valuable time spent in business meetings than on business trips. This allows the company to adopt a more sustainable approach, scheduling business meetings regularly. Additionally, while waiting for all the attendees to dial in the teleconference, everyone can continue working on their current projects. Thus they avoid the frustration of wasting time in an empty board room before in-person meetings.
Increase meeting productivity
Teams, customers, or clients from different locations can join the business meeting anywhere. Leveraging teleconference capabilities helps participants spend more quality time during the meetings. As long as all attendees follow the established call etiquette, the outcome for the business is increased team efficiency.
Improve team collaboration
Online conferencing ensures that the teams involved in a certain project actively cooperate. The simplicity of hosting and joining a remote meeting and its high accessibility helps co-workers engage better. The option to meet on short notice to discuss urgent issues turns conference rooms into powerful real-time collaboration spaces.
No need for expensive equipment
Most business phone systems devices support teleconferencing. Their seamless integration with the existing telecommunication infrastructure saves a business additional investment in expensive equipment. Due to the advanced cloud telephony technology, many companies no longer need a dedicated phone line. Teleconferencing is compatible with cell phones, tablets, and laptops.
Teleconference associated costs
Virtual conference costs vary, depending on what type of services a company selects. The choice depends on the business model and size of the enterprise, along with its communication needs. Several aspects should be evaluated before deciding on the teleconferencing service.
• The expected conferencing frequency
• The usual number of attendees at remote meetings
• The average length of the meetings
• Implementation of VoIP services in the company’s business phone system
• If the cloud service provider offers conference as a feature
There are several types of audio and video teleconference services offered by providers, which differ in cost and features.
Standard Teleconference Services
Large companies with a higher volume of audio and video calls often choose a vendor specialized only in conferencing services. The organization expects premium quality voice and video transmission during the remote meeting, and the provider offers instant activation with no setup fees or long-term commitment. The associated monthly costs for such a service are usually calculated depending on the number of meeting participants. Additionally, long-distance charges per call may occur even if the call duration is unlimited.
Free Software Conference Calling
This type of teleconference service is simple to manage and easy to use. It requires access to a device such as a computer or a laptop with a working Internet connection. You do not need to register an account within the conferencing system if it is a web-based service. Setting it up is completely free.
Toll-Free Teleconferencing Service
Toll-free service vendors provide conference call attendees with a dedicated toll-free conference number. The teleconference participants dial this free number through a landline, mobile, or cloud-based VoIP system. The account holder call rates charged by toll-free service providers are calculated per caller per minute. Depending on customized calling packages, additional fees may occur for mobile phone callers.
Cloud Conference Call Service
VoIP telephony providers typically offer cloud phone systems with integrated advanced features like call conferencing for their customers. VoIP teleconferencing connects calls via a conference bridge. This enables participants to dial a conference call simultaneously using dedicated local numbers. Call conference is free of charge for customers using landlines regardless of location. If the preferred conferencing tool is a mobile device – call rates fees may apply according to their specific business mobile plan. Cloud telephony service providers offer unlimited call duration, multiple simultaneous voice conferences, and accessibility from any device. A conference call reservation is not required. The company will be charged per minute if the VoIP provider does not include teleconferencing in the monthly plan.
Teleconference vs. Traditional Face-to-face meeting
Conferencing technology has considerably simplified the way companies communicate. Teleconferencing has greatly shaped the entire system of business meetings. However, there are still cases when in-person meetings cannot be entirely replaced.
Why are more companies choosing web conferencing?
• It significantly reduces business travel expenses as participants can join the virtual meeting from anywhere.
• Teleconferencing allows more than two participants to attend at the same time a business meeting over audio or video.
• A face-to-face meeting requires all the attendees to meet in person at the same time in the same room.
• Gathering all the users needed for the meeting, no matter their current location, is easy to manage.
• Participants can join the meeting from anywhere, which also means lowering accommodation costs.
• Planning the meeting is simpler, as the company should not consider all attendees’ travel and accommodation time.
• A company may choose not to pay for a meeting room, specific equipment, or even a business dinner. The budget is optimized and can be allocated.
• Attendees feel more comfortable and focused. They are not stressed about flight delays, transport chaos, or missing hotel reservations.
• Teleconferencing enhances business productivity and increases team efficiency, as the meetings can be conducted daily if needed.
• Solving an urgent issue over an online conference is easy. Responsible people can dial in effortlessly at short notice.
• If the conference tool has a recording feature, the meeting process could be analyzed and improved.
• Including teleconferencing as a standard tool in the company’s communications strategy shows that the business is environmentally conscious.
When should Face-to-face meetings be held eventually?
• In-person meetings are favored when all attendees occupy the same premise, and the meeting is expected to be brief. Then it is a matter of a short conversation to coordinate and conduct it.
• If the meeting is supposed to continue the whole day and involves too many participants.
• Sometimes, non-verbal communication and body language can hint at the users’ real opinions attending the meeting. Discussing a highly sensitive topic that impacts many participants is considered more effective in face-to-face meetings.
• Interviewing job applicants over teleconference is an adopted method for recruiting nowadays. Human resources may insist on in-person meetings at later stages to see if the candidate will integrate smoothly.
• Conducting multiple web conferences with a prospect at the early stages of a new business deal is always recommended. However, its closing requires a physical meeting. Typically there are lots of documents to be signed by the contracting parties.
• Receiving instant feedback while the face-to-face meeting is still progressing could be vital for the direction in certain project evolves.
Etiquette for the effective teleconference
Web conferencing is a productive and efficient communication tool to organize and manage business meetings. Certain rules for conducting a remote meeting should apply to maximize their use.
Organizing a teleconference
Good planning and on-time preparation are essential for the success of the virtual conference. Choosing the most convenient time for arranging the remote meeting is vital for the attendees. This excludes early morning, late in the evening, or lunchtime. Another important issue to consider is the time zones of the remote participants. If the meeting is not urgent, a poll can be created to find the most convenient time for everyone.
Scheduling the meeting with written invitations
Calendar invites, instant messages, or simple email – there are multiple ways to request a presence confirmation at the conference. Participants should be informed about the precise date and time of the meeting. A link to the conference app or website with access data has to be included. A kind reminder about the future meeting should be distributed a day before the meeting.
Preparing and sending the agenda of the teleconference
Well, thought agenda is the core of a productive and effective teleconference. Sending out the schedule in advance allows the participants to ask questions before the meeting. The plan has to be very detailed as it will help users to follow the development of the conversation easily. If files must be transferred between the parties, they should be sent before the meeting so everyone is fully prepared.
The conference should start right on time
The meeting host is expected to join earlier for the final preparation before it starts. Sound and microphones have to be tested. If you need help, you can always contact the service provider support.
Choosing a quiet location
Background noise can distract the participants and turn the meeting into an ineffective gathering. Muting any ambient noise is obligatory not only for the host but also for the other parties.
Strict guidelines have to be announced at the beginning
Starting with the roll call will help everyone get acquainted and know who is participating in the meeting. The members should be introduced with a name and why they attend. An important rule they should follow is to state their name before speaking. This helps to avoid miscommunication and makes it clear to the audience who is talking. The host has to cover briefly the agenda and set the time limits of the virtual meeting.
Staying focused, connected, and engaged
The web conference host has to keep the attendees engaged and involved in the conversation. It is easy for participants to get distracted if they are multitasking during audio and video calls. The host should ask more questions, directing them evenly among attendees. There should be enough intervals during the discussion for questions, comments, and feedback.
Summarizing the key points of the meeting
Before the end of the conference, the results of the meeting should be outlined. Furthermore, new tasks should be assigned, and deadlines must be set. The host is also expected to thank the attendees for their active participation. This gives the participants the confidence that the remote meeting was useful and successful.
Follow-up email – for an effective teleconference
Sending the attendees a follow-up email allows us to engage and motivate them for future collaboration. Writing down the achievements of the last meeting and future goals is a professional way to finish the meeting. Personal positive feedback from the host in the email usually boosts participants’ satisfaction with the meeting.
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