10 Conference Call Tips

10 Conference Call Tips

  1. As the host, make your environment distraction free during the call. This includes cell phones, emails, etc… Close the office door or  use an empty conference room.  Get somewhere there is no background noise, and other distractions.
  2. Have an agenda for the call. Share it via email before the call and/or review it at the beginning of the call. Make a plan to stick to the agenda.
  3. Record the conference call and send it out the participants after.
  4. Speak slowly, clearly and confidently. Use vocal variety. Have a list of points you want to cover in front of you so you don’t miss anything.
  5. Use a landline if you can, and a good headset is best.
  6. Look them in the eye when you’re talking. Ok… Imagine you’re looking them in the eye. (It works).
  7. Mute the other callers if you are doing most of the presenting. This avoids other distractions and unnecessary background noise. Explain to them how to unmute their line so can speak.
  8. If you have other speakers, let them know in advance how long they have to speak. This keeps your call in control.
  9. Start on time. Starting late disrespects the participants that did call in on time.
  10. Keep the call short and moving along at a quick pace.

Have any conference call tips you want to add? Use the comments below.

Conferencing Review Sites

Well… not just conferencing review sites, mostly all types of sites that review products or services. I’m skeptical and I don’t always trust them. Some of the review sites seem excellent until you get underneath the surface a little deeper. The truth is most of these types of sites are just paid ads to look like review sites. The top rated product is the one that paid the most or pays the most affiliate commissions.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do think that affiliate advertising is a great way to get traffic to your site and an excellent way to get more business as it’s a way of rewarding someone for referring business to you. Just like you telling a friend about that great new coffee shop you found or that cool new gadget you love. But the problem is, (in my view) that it’s gone far beyond that friendly referral from someone who genuinely loves a product or service to a way to deceive people into thinking that these are real referrals from real people.

On some review sites (not all) the reviews and comments on businesses what seem to look and sound like real people are just paid reviews commissioned out to companies that specialize in fake reviews. Take look on sites like fiverr.com, Freelancer.com and many others and you’ll find many people willing to give a glowing endorsement of your product or service for a price. Some companies write ongoing negative reviews of their competitors to make them look bad. Bad business in my opinion.

It’s up to you to decide if it’s a legitimate review or not. Google does not help sometimes by making sure these review sites are at the top of your search results. Here’s an article from the guardian.com that suggests some ways of determining these sites.

I mention all this because I find it frustrating to wade through all crap when I’m trying to learn about a product or service. What I really want an opinion from someone that is unbiased or has really personally used and enjoyed the product or service themselves.

As for conferencing reviews, we as a company would like our customers to judge us on how we treat them and support them, that we’re looking out for their best interest. I know we need more reviews and I should ask our customers to provide us with some real reviews. Maybe I’ll add that to my list and start asking more. It’ll help us a company to learn more what our customers want and how we provide it to them better as a business.

 

Mobile Conferencing Connecting Employees to Work from Everywhere Infographic

A great article from the Intercall blog on mobile conferencing.

Out of office

As the workplace has changed thanks to new conferencing and collaboration tools, so has the way employees communicate with their co-workers and clients. Being at work doesn’t necessarily mean being at the office anymore. The same can now be said for attending work meetings. Since nearly every employee has access to a smartphone or tablet, meetings can be taken from home, the beach, an airport—pretty much anywhere employees find themselves.

As the world’s largest conferencing and collaboration provider, InterCall wanted to see just how big this trend has become. We dug into our mobile traffic data to view recent trends and surveyed more than 500 outside, full-time employees to discover their conferencing habits. What we found was that mobile conferencing is certainly a growing trend and employees are taking full advantage of workplace mobility, sometimes in very unique places.

Mobile Conferencing on the Rise

But first, let’s take a look at the rise of mobile conferencing in general. As might be expected with the development of new mobile devices, both total mobile calls to conferences and total minutes on a mobile conference call were up in 2013.

See the rest of the post here.

Click on infographic for larger view.

 

http://www.intercall.com/blog/mobile-conferencing/mobile-conferencing-changing-work-infographic

What is your most unusual place you’ve been on a conference call? Tell us in the comments below.

 

Automated Calling Services For Reminders and Notifications

We’ve all got those annoying advertising automated phone calls that try and tell us we’ve won a trip to Mexico, or tell you that your using the wrong credit card. Automated calling services can also be used for other purposes that are quite helpful too. Here are a few suggestions

  • Overdue rentals or library books
  • Collections reminders such as late payments
  • Service call reminders. For example, your cable installer is coming tomorrow, or a repair person is scheduled to call on you.
  • Appointment reminders. Dentist, Doctor, Haircut, etc…
  • Reservation Confirmations.

It compliments email well or can be used on it’s own very effectively. Contact 10’s, hundreds even tens of thousands of people in a very short time with a short attention getting message or reminder. In some cases it’s a much better form of communication than email.

It can be integrated into your existing systems with an industry standard API that simplifies and automated the processes. Calls can be initiated automatically, by phone or by computer.

Feature rich with text to speech or data collection. Automated Calling Systems can understand the difference between and answering machine or live voice and leave the chosen message. Key transfers to live operators and more.

If your needs for Automated Calling or also called Voice Broadcasting Services are more complex I would suggest contacting automatedcalling.net . For more simple straight forward needs try callloop.com

2 Ways to Reduce Office Costs

  1. Ink and Toner – Use laser printers instead of inkjet. The overall per page cost is much lower. Also always print whenever you can in toner save mode. I like to have the toner save monochrome mode as default. Decide if the document you’re printing is for interoffice, just for you or is this something important you are handing to a customer. If it’s just for office use toner save monochrome should be sufficient in most cases.Also consider buying laser toner from other suppliers, rather than the manufacturers brand. Make sure you check reviews and buy from a reputable source. We buy a lot of our toner cartridges from ebay at much less than half the cost of the manufacturers brand. We’ve had good luck finding good suppliers, but be careful, they don’t always print as well. Test before ordering in quantity.
  2. Get rid of your fax machine and fax line – With virtual fax there is no real need for a fax machine anymore. Save your paper, toner, fax machine and fax line costs by switching to something like a Fax2Mail service. You can also port your existing fax number over so that all faxes are received as an email attachment. Because of the savings associated with going to a service like Fax2Mail, you can also justify having additional fax lines for your key employees. This helps in time savings as faxes come directly to the persons email inbox. Learn more about Fax2Mail here.

 

How to Avoid Background Noise on a Conference Call

Conference Call SignHave you ever been on a conference call and had to listen to traffic noise, dogs bark or on-hold music because a participant put a call on hold? Here are some tips and ideas on how to avoid all these distracting background noises that take away from your important meeting.

It all starts with the moderator or the main presenter.

Turn off all other distractions – Make sure the moderator or key presenter is in a quiet place. Put your other phones on vibrate or silent. Disable call alert if you have it on the phone you’re using. Shut down and computer calendar reminders, messengers (unless you’re using it as part of your call) or any other distractions.

Use a good phone or headset – Cell phones can break up or drop calls sometime, so if it’s important and you have the choice, use a landline for reliability. Headsets are helpful as they leave your hands free and you can set the microphone a consistent distance from your mouth to get clearer and more consistent sound.

At the beginning of the call – Use the mute all callers key command or web based command. Announce to the callers that you have muted everyone and if they would like to speak let them know the command to unmute and mute again. Ask the participants to make note of the commands. This gives the moderator a little more control and eliminates unnecessary background noise. You can announce the commands again during the call for instance when it’s question and answer time.

Some of the suggestions will vary due to the type of call. Here’s to a productive conference call.

 

How to Manage a Global Audio Conference

Audio conferences have many advantages, especially when a business needs to interact with clients or employees in countries with poor internet connections. In these cases, audio conferencing is truly the only option. If your business finds itself in this situation, keep these things in mind to ensure your conference is fruitful.

  1. Speak carefully: The odds are that while one person is speaking, listeners are multitasking. This is one of the advantages of an audio conference. So it is critical that participants slow down their rate of speech just a bit so that messages are received clearly. Further, since the odds are there are people from all over the world for whom English may not be their first language, slowing the pace of speech down shows courtesy and respect. Lastly, most audio conferences are recorded, so clarity is important since many people may listen later on.
  2. Appoint a Troubleshooter: Businesses with experience in audio conferencing know that there often are technical issues. A troubleshooter is one person who is invited to the conference call, but who may arrive a bit early to ensure that connection with service support is made and that all participants know what to do. This adds a personal touch besides the conference call service support that shows your business cares and is serious about the success of the meeting.
  3. Be Careful of Humor: Remember that an audio conference is just that, audio. Since participants cannot see each other’s faces, certain comments that are funny in person, bomb in audio-only mode. No one wants anyone to be offended. Be careful to set jokes up clearly, so that there are no misunderstandings.

Audio conferences are cost effective ways to communicate. In spite of the popularity of video conferencing, there are times when it is just not feasible or even preferred. Make good use of the advantages of audio conference calls by keeping in mind these three simple tips.

How to Reduce Travel Costs

Not only is traveling a big pain these days, but it’s expensive. Most people don’t want to spend half their day in security lineups and travel delays when you can reduce that time to be more productive.

Airport TravelMany things you can do today in person, you can also do online.

For example: a web conference is an effective way to present your material as you can use screen sharing and PowerPoint presentations.

You can easily speak to and see your client as if they were in the same room via video and audio.
You can also connect with various different people in worldwide locations simultaneously.

You can use just toll-free audio conferencing as an effective way to reduce travel costs if you don’t need to show them something.

Next time you think about taking a business trip think about whether you can reduce your travel costs being and be more productive by doing a video conference, web conference or an audio conference.

Double your teleconferencing results

Did you know that we only retain 20% of what we hear? Kind of disappointing when you think of the kind of money, time and effort that you can put into organizing and conducting a conference call. Not only your valuable time, but the valuable time of your customers, prospects or employees.

Also we only retain about 20% of what we see. But when we see and hear something together our retention level increases to over 50% retention. If you want to increase retention levels even further simply add participation or interaction into this equation. Now you have retention levels well above 50%.

webinar servicesBy adding Web conferencing or collaboration to your regular teleconference calls you can over double the results you currently get. Try adding some polling questions in your Web conference or ask one of your participants to show you what they mean on a white board or by sharing out their desktop. With the conference polls it becomes quite easy to see who is really paying attention because you as the moderator can see who’s answering the polls or not.

If you’re already using teleconferencing it may well be worth a test to see if you can improve your desired results. these results will vary depending on who your audience is and what your subject might be. Now it’s just a matter of finding out the right Web conferencing or collaboration tool that’ll work for you and your participants.

The Virtual Fax Service, Fax2Mail

There’s still a lot of businesses that rely on fax. The great thing about using a virtual fax service is that it can decrease operational costs associated with in-house fax systems or dedicated fax lines. It’s also easy to scale up or down your fax lines and meet and comply with security requirements.

If any of you are familiar with administering an in-house fax server you’ll know that it can be a big pain, not to mention costly.

Hmmm… Okay let’s talk some more about the benefits of using a hosted solution, because really there are a lot of them.

No Capital Outlay — With no additional hardware to acquire, capital expenditures are reduced and depreciation schedules eliminated. The risks associated with installing 3rd party software on your network are eliminated as well.

Utilization of Existing Infrastructure – Because outsourced fax services leverage existing email client and infrastructure, getting started is quick and seamless. Another great benefit of an outsourced solution is that you don’t have to hire or train additional staff to run the system.

Scalable and Flexible – With a hosted solution, companies are not constrained by their number of outbound telephone lines or system capacity. Hosted solutions are designed to be highly scalable to handle either rapid growth or reduced volume, based on market trends and patterns.

Self-Administering – The outsourced fax provider performs any required system maintenance and monitoring, upgrading and adding new features as they become available, freeing up your IT resources to focus on your core business.

How Fax2Mail Works

Desktop users can send, receive, save, forward and track electronic faxes in seconds – right from their desktops. Documents no longer sit on the fax machine for everyone to see, and you’ll never experience the frustration of missing another important document because the fax number is busy. Work is accomplished faster, with total reliability and added security.

Fax2Mail allows you to turn your desktop into a document handling center for all inbound faxes. Receiving faxes as attachments means you can treat paper documents like electronic files by viewing, printing, forwarding or deleting them. Additionally, you can rename the file and save it to your computer for easy document storage. Tracking inbound and outbound faxes can be next to impossible with traditional fax machines. However, Fax2Mail gives you complete control of all your e-fax and email documents via online administration tools. Using our secure SSL Web interface, you can control user registration, edit account profiles, and customize settings and options such as coversheet/email design, billing and delivery reports. And you can choose your own local or toll-free fax numbers.

How much does it cost?  Call us for pricing on the Corporate plans.

Oh… Did I mention that your faxes come to you in either a adobe acrobat .pdf file or a .tif file. Nice!