We’ve all participated in conference call that are, to put it charitably, less than productive. That never feels good, whether you’re hosting or attending. If you’re the host of a conference call, there are a few things that are necessary to ensure the productivity of participants. You also have options when it comes to what technology you use to host the conference call. This blog will help you how to understand how to use VoIP services for your business conference calling and will provide some tips to help you run a better online meeting.
What is VoIP for Business Conference Calling?
Let’s start with the technology you use to host your conference calls. A conference call is a meeting like any other, except the participants are on their phones instead of in a room. You have the option of using plain old telephone service (POTS) to conduct the meeting. However, this can be costly, with many providers still charging for the time you use. Instead, there is a more modern category of technology to consider for your business conference calling: VoIP.
VoIP stands for “voice over internet protocol.” VoIP solutions allow calls to be made through the internet. You can use these tools if you’re hosting a conference call. VoIP providers allow callers to join the meeting from any internet connection and any digital device. Some participants may use their VoIP for business phone system, which typically consists of a specially equipped handset that’s plugged into their Wi-Fi router. Other attendees may use a cell phone to dial in or even their computer.
Traditionally, conference call meetings were conducted over a landline with a desktop phone routed through a private branch exchange (PBX). This is less feasible and even less efficient today, because much of the workforce is now dispersed and working from home. There are several differences between traditional hosted conference calls conducted by phone and VoIP web conference solutions. Let’s look at these differences.
VoIP Solutions Versus Phone Conference Calling
VoIP allows your conference participants to connect over the internet instead of across the public switched telephone network (PSTN). This eliminates per-call and per-minute charges that make traditional phone service so costly. This benefit is probably the most popular, but using VoIP for business to host your conference calls also has these benefits:
- You can host hundreds of participants in one conference room.
- You can offer one dial-in number for multiple ways to connect: mobile devices, other VoIP services, traditional landlines, and more.
- One-click connecting makes the conference call easy to join.
- As the conference call host, you can moderate calls easily from an online hub.
- You can record the VoIP conference call.
Accessing a conference call from a traditional desk phone is both simple and limited. The person hosting the conference call sends out a dial-in and access code and you’ll enter it manually on your phone. Then you wait for other participants to start the meeting.
VoIP solutions are a significantly better option over traditional conference calling for several reasons. A VoIP connection for a business conference call requires you to just click on a link to go online to connect; you don’t have to use a special number to dial or a pin to punch in. Some VoIP providers require a download of their software, but others, like VoIP First Media, embed the connection right in your browser with no downloads required.
But the two biggest benefits of using a VoIP solutions provider to host your coference calls online are:
- The convenience of being able to dial in from anywhere there is an internet connection.
- The low cost of these services.
Using VoIP for business conferencing makes it easy for you to integrate other online features into your group meetings. You can incorporate video conferencing to make the meeting face-to-face. You can incorporate email and instant messaging to increase communication between participants. Plus, it’s the general flexibility of VoIP solutions that make them so attractive to companies—not to mention the lowered costs.
Tips for Hosting Online Conference Calls
If you’re the host for a conference call, the etiquette is the same whether you are online or on a traditional call. If you’re using video conferencing through your VoIP solutions provider, the etiquette is quite different.
For any conference call, the basic rules for good conduct include:
- Arrive on time.
- Have a meeting agenda.
- Mute your microphone when not speaking.
- Wait for your turn to speak.
- Introduce participants.
- Speak clearly.
- Engage appropriately in the meeting.
- Take notes.
- Follow up.
These basic rules apply to both the host of the conference call and the participants. They also apply if you’re using a VoIP for business phone system, or a traditional landline.
If you’re using video during your conference call, something that is only possible through a VoIP provider, keep in mind there are some additional rules to the ones we’ve already covered. For example:
- Make sure your camera and audio work well before the call starts.
- Use the technology to engage your audience with polling, whiteboarding, or other features of your video conferencing provider.
- Use chat features to ensure you’re not talking over other participants.
- Wear appropriate clothing.
- Frame the light to brighten your face and close curtains to minimize glare.
- Pay attention to the room behind you and eliminate clutter or anything inappropriate from the camera view.
- Look into the camera when talking.
- Don’t multitask; pay attention.
Online conference calls are increasing in popularity, so there’s a good chance you’ve already participated or hosted at least one of these meetings recently. While there are a few tricks related to using VoIP to host your conference calls, they’re easy to master.
Benefits of Hosting Online Conference Calls with VoIP for Business
Online meetings using VoIP solutions offer robust solutions designed for today’s mobile workforce. These technologies can help your remote workers stay connected while improving their productivity. They can help reduce business travel costs while also keeping your workforce from having to commute into an office. If you’re considering switching from a traditional phone service to a VoIP business solution, call VoIP First Media to discuss your options. We offer reliable, secure VoIP business solutions that can help you stay connected with your teams, lower costs, and improve productivity. Contact us today for a quote.