For a lot of businesses conference calls are essential forms of communication with clients, customers, directors and colleagues working in offices in another part of the country. The problem that many of us have is that it’s become procedure to hold a call over a programme like Skype even if the overall quality of the sound (and video) isn’t that great.
When it comes to holding important discussions and negotiations with customers and clients, however, it’s vital that the line is as clear as possible so that you can get your words across effectively and professionally.
With instructions and important details passed over the call you want to be sure that you get everything down correctly so that you can provide the right service to clients and in this week’s post we’ll explain the best and most effective ways to hold an effective conference call including the conference calling equipment you need and how to get the most from the call itself.
What do I need to buy to have a conference call?
When it comes to organising your conference calling facilities you don’t actually need to invest in too much. There are some businesses who will spend hundreds, even thousands preparing dedicated rooms with all kinds of surround sound speakers, projector screens and more that just isn’t needed for a ten-minute call.
The first and most obvious investment that you do need to make is some kind of conferencing phone. These are similar to standard office phones but differ in the sense that they often have small screens built in, and have their own built-in speakers so that you don’t need the elaborate investments.
If you are going to connect your call to a television screen then a high quality, high definition webcam with a microphone is essential. If you’re going to send video over the web to the other people on the call then being grainy and out of focus is a big no-no. Do your research and invest in a high quality camera like the Logitech GROUP Conference Camera which is compatible with Windows, Mac and Chrome operating systems.
How do we setup for a conference call?
There are five key points in the setup phase for your conference call, and if you follow each you stand a great chance of getting all you need from the various parties to provide the best possible service:
The first step is to choose a conference calling provider. Specialist services such as powwownow will allow you and the other parties involved to dial into a call with a specialist code to enter. Be sure to email this round with the time and date of the call to all who are needed beforehand. From here you then record your names and are informed if you’re the first person or people on the call, and if others join, allowing the call to begin.
Before you start your call it’s vital that you can find a comfortable and quiet room to hold your call, so be sure to book a meeting room or space with a Polycom Voicestation or similar conference calling phone. It’s also good to test the sound quality before starting the call, perhaps by dialling a colleague on their mobile phone outside the room to check the line is clear and loud enough.
The next key point is to ensure that the microphone is switched on. It’s very easy to hit the mute button while waiting for others to join the call, just be sure to take it off again when you’re ready to get down to business!
Next, be sure to do your homework in advance. Arrive at the time of the call with everything that you need to report to the other parties along with a list of questions that you need answering.
Finally, make sure that you have someone on the call who is there specifically to take notes. Account managers are great for this in a business sense as they can then document the key takeaways and actions that can then be emailed round afterwards for everyone involved to refer to.
If you would like more information on how to hold a conference call or the products available to enable you to take part in a clear, effective and productive conference call; visit the BT Business Direct online store today.