What are the benefits of Telephone Conferencing?
Conference Calling is an effective tool for bringing groups of people together in real-time communication. Conference calling has long been used by large enterprise businesses but with the advent of cloud communications, it has now become readily accessible to all. As cloud technology develops rapidly it naturally crosses over into a unified communications experience with Instant Messaging, Video, file sharing, screen sharing, call recordings and automated minute taking means that conference calling is a must have for Businesses, teams or clubs, societies and anyone looking for simple ways to stay in touch and collaborate with multiple people. Conference calling is also an excellent and obvious option whenever meeting in-person is impossible or unnecessary. The ease of access, reliability and usability of conference calls make them the preferred option in many circumstances.
Modern workforces and advances in technology mean that 84% of Businesses have employees making regular meetings that could benefit from conferencing.
How exactly can it add value to your business or organisation, and why should you use it?
Here are the three key benefits conference calls can offer:
- Reduced Costs - Using telephone conference rooms instead of face-to-face meetings can allow you to save a lot of money. Meetings have a variety of expenses and It’s not unusual for a business to spend thousands on the travel and venue costs of holding a single event. There are travel expenses (Plane, Train, Taxi etc), food expenses, and venue/room hire costs. For smaller businesses, these kinds of costs can have even more of an impact on budgets due to scaling effects. If you can get over the need to be in the same room as someone, you can easily recreate the meeting experience from your desk. Modern web conferencing solutions allow you to share and present ideas and have detailed discussions easily. Also, the services on offer are themselves low-cost, offering a financially sustainable way to collaborate. Businesses can now subscribe to modern conference calling platforms for low monthly costs, giving them their own custom branded conferencing interface that can be accessed by telephone or via an internet browser. Swapping a face-to-face meeting with an online meeting or conference call means no travelling.
- Drive Efficiency - Conference calls are the fastest was to bring people to together and exponentially so with greater distances. The most obvious efficiency gain is that there’s less time wasted travelling to face-to-face meetings. Teleconference calls are location independent and can be scheduled in minutes so It’s easier to find a mutually good time for the participants. Organising a face-to-face meeting has an average lead time of 7 days. Conference calls can be started instantly meaning you can often solve problems expediently.
- Eco Friendly - Environmental sustainability is intrinsically linked to business sustainability and important to everyone. Online There’s less of a need to take notes with pen and paper or to print out documents to share around. Did you know that a return flight from London to New York for a business trip would account for a whopping 25% of the average person’s yearly carbon footprint. Conference Calling can drastically decrease the overall carbon footprint of a business by greatly reducing the need to travel.
Professional Tips for Conference Calls
- Give brief Introductions - Ask all participants to introduce themselves at the beginning of the call. The participants may not know ahead of time who will be joining in, and it's possible that some may have never spoken or met before. This is also a good way to break the ice and encourage the more reserved people on the call to make a contribution to the meeting.
- Location Location Location - Choose a phone in a quiet location with a minimum of background noise. If you can't find a quiet area, pick up the handset instead of using the speaker feature. You can also use the mute button until it comes time for you to speak. Sitting on a leather chair is not recommended, as you shifting in the chair may create a rather embarrassing sound that can be transmitted over the phone line.
- Stick to a schedule and don't deviate - It can be difficult to maintain the attention of people not in the room. That's why it is important to keep the meeting on track without wandering off into different areas. If someone is speaking too long, politely interrupt them and return to the topic at hand. Start and end the call on time to maintain focus and avoid interrupting busy schedules.
- Brevity - Keep it Clear and Concise - It's possible that some participants won't have a great phone connection, so be sure to speak clearly and slowly. Keep in mind that participants cannot see your body language or facial expressions, so your voice is your only method of communication. Allow for brief pauses so participants can interject questions and comments if necessary. Use your voice to project emotions like enthusiasm about an idea.
- Mute is not a moot point - If you are using a phone without background noise suppression then you should remain conscious of background noise. Whether it's heavy breathing or a colleague there is nothing more disruptive to a conference call that not being able to hear the discussion.
- Keep to pre-supplied Agenda - Be sure to have an agenda for your conference call and supply it to your participants in advance if possible. Sticking to an agenda will help participants follow along and stay focused. Clearly, indicate when one agenda item is completed and you are moving on to the next one.
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