Managing the Large Conference Call

Managing the Large Conference Call

Whether it’s the first large conference call you’ll be managing or the 20th one, you’re likely to feel some sort of nervousness leading up to the call, which is perfectly normal. Large conference calls usually translate into important calls, and if it’s your responsibility to make the call run smoothly, you’ll want to do everything you can to make that happen.

Large conference calls aren’t hard to manage, but that’s only if you take the necessary steps to prepare yourself for the call and know what you are doing. If you were put in charge of setting up and managing a live seminar event for your company, it’s probably not something you’d play by ear, you’d plan ahead of time to make sure everything goes according to plan; the process of preparing for a large conference call is no different.

In our experience working with clients who have managed large conference calls, we’ve heard all the stories imaginable, from corporate calls with nothing but commuter traffic in the background, to free for all conference call Q&A sessions where attendees are talking over each other. While these may be good for comedic value, it’s probably not the kind of call you’re shooting for.

We’re here to help you avoid issues such as this by providing tips and best practices for managing your large conference call effectively. To start we’d recommend running a few test calls with your conference call service before your scheduled conference to familiarize yourself with the service and features. Have some colleagues join you for a call to test out the features you plan on using, so when it comes down to game time you’ll be ready for it.

Mute your conference – We can’t stress this enough…

Large conference calls are usually a lecture type deal where you have the host and a few guest speakers talking while the rest of the conference is listening in. If you don’t have your conference muted, all it takes is one caller dialing in with a bad connection or from a high background noise environment to ruin your entire call. You can easily prevent this through use of our host telephone controls by pressing 1* to mute your conference or turning on the mute feature using the online conference manager.

There’s a purpose for your conference, so it’s important to have an agenda planned out so you get the desired end results. Whether you’ll be hosting a 40 or 4,000 person conference call; the preparation and end result should be the same, visualize how you would like the conference to go and use that to plan out your agenda.

 

If you think you are paying too much for conference calling, ask us how we can help you.  Give us your current monthly bill and we’ll compare it to what we have.  Save up to 80%!

Have something to add to this article? Post your comments below. Follow us on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook and Google +.

11 Tricks to Stay Productive When You’re Traveling

 

Learn to Stay Productive When Traveling

11 Tricks to Stay Productive When You’re Traveling

In theory, traveling for work is glamorous. You imagine flights in first class, where you sit beside famous basketball players and are fed warm cashews from a crystal jar.

You’ll cruise around a foreign landscape in a luxury sports car—on a mission to kick ass and take names. The room service… the maid service… Ahh.

Reality check.

Business travel is seldom glamorous at all. And it’s often unproductive. Sure, we accomplish what we set out to do once we get to our destination, but what about our other work responsibilities?

The secret to staying productive while you travel is to maximize short time blocks.

Here are 11 things you can do to be highly productive in short blocks of time, so you’ll be prepared to fit in at least one handful of cashews on your next business trip (Kobe Bryant sightings are not guaranteed):

1) List love
At least a day before you leave, create a list of things you want to get done while you’re on the road. Do you need to get an article written? Get some reading done? Listen to webinars? Make calls?

Given the length of time you’ll be travelling, assess when would be the best time to complete the tasks.

For example, you can listen to audio while you walk through the airport or sit in a cab. Reading can be done on the plane, where you may be too crunched to write comfortably. Writing? Get ‘er done during the layover.

2) Pack smart
Why does the laptop charger always miss the trip? Create a packing list of what you need to bring—before the travel stress kicks in.

Sounds trying? Check out the PackingPro app. It was made for you. You’re welcome.

3) Porta-power
Travel prepared to work whether you have Internet access or not, even if your phone or laptop runs out of power. If you know you can’t work without power, pack a battery backup or a solar charger.

4) Dial in
Be present for the meetings that matter back at home with your dial-in conferencing service, which you can access from your phone, of course.

5) Apps for that
Download the app of the airline carrier you’ll be using. Traveling internationally? Consider the iStone app for efficient communication tools in 12 languages. Want entertainment in short chunks AND a way to make yourself more interesting? Get the TEDtalks app and watch engaging people share brilliant ideas—in three to thirty-minute chunks.

6) Listen
Visit Audible.com or sync the business-related MP3s you’ve been meaning to listen to.

7) Be social
If you happen to be in a client’s city for even a few hours, take a shot at meeting them for coffee. Follow up with a business contact. You never know where a little networking can lead.

8) All aboard
When possible, travel by train or subway. The longer journey provides the perfect excuse to catch up on your industry’s latest news and put the finishing touches on your winning business report.

9) No hands
Add this to your packing list: a hands-free device. Now you’ll be able to tee up the 10-15 calls you’ve been meaning to make. Add those numbers to your contacts list so you can access them easily while you drive.

Best of all, hands-free devices are totally luxury convertible friendly.

10) Mobile to the max
Sometimes you just really need to check your email. MiFi devices are great for instant, personal Internet hotspots from anywhere.

One example is Karma. It costs $79 for a card-deck sized device, which lets you use the Internet anywhere. Karma will also let you share your connection, and the more you share, the more free connectivity you get.

If sharing with strangers isn’t your thing, your cellphone can also be set up as a portable hotspotand there are nearly a dozen different MiFi devices and plans.

11) Tour
Prioritize a couple chunks of time to keep the glamorous image of traveling for work alive. We’re talking local entertainment, a dip in the hotel pool, and adventures roaming the streets of a new city. When you’re productive, you’re a legend amongst co-workers.

 

Find any of these items in the list helpful?  We hope you did.  Also, you can save big on conference calling services while on the go if you need to have a meeting with other people.  Ask us how.

Have something to add to this article? Post your comments below. Follow us on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook and Google +.

10 Ways to Convert Conference Calls into Killer Content

10 Ways to Convert Conference Calls into Killer Content

The fist pump is defined in the Oxford Dictionaries as “a gesture of triumph or affirmation in which the forearm is raised with fist clenched, then swung downward toward the body in a vigorous pumping motion.”

If you’re not already acquainted with the glorious fist pump, prepare yourself.

Once you know how to turn audio recordings of conference calls into powerful, lead-boosting, sales-rocketing marketing collateral, you’re going to be fist pumping on a regular basis.

Converting recorded interviews, canned presentations and conversations with industry leaders into blog posts, podcasts, and other formats doubles conference call productivity and adds to a diverse mix of valuable content to attract and convert prospects.

In the modern day, it is often required that multiple forms of a file are made to accommodate people in different scenarios. If you are unable to view a debate online and want the transcript, it would be helpful to convert the entire debate into readable text. Obviously being able to read something and share it with other people is a great way to spread information.

Here are 10 ways to convert your audio recordings into content your target audience will love:

1) Start a podcast.
Ever dreamt of having your own radio show? Podcasting makes it possible.

Transform brainstorming audio conferences into podcast material, complete with a company-branded jingle at the start of each episode. Invite listeners to download or stream the podcast on your website, blog or iTunes and pair episodes with blog posts describing what listeners can expect to take away from it. Heck, why not also follow up each podcast episode with a Twitter discussion for user comments and questions?

With so many ways to share, promote and expand upon, podcasts are content marketing gifts that just keep giving.

2) Craft blog posts.
Let conversations amongst colleagues and clients inspire you. Use industry news, points-of-view, and ideas discussed during discussions as fodder for fresh blog material.

Publish your blog posts with the recordings to enrich the details of each piece and provide an option for auditory learners.

3) Give email marketing a voice.
Imagine an email message that speaks to the recipient. Now that’s how you build trust with prospective customers online.

With audio files integrated into your targeted email marketing campaigns, you can share product or service information with prospects in a totally innovative way.

4) Enhance your FAQ section.
The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on your company website gets more attention than you might think. As Kissmetrics Blog contributor Jason Shah says in an article about stepping up your FAQ page game, it “represents one of the most valuable moments in a conversion funnel.” Does yours make an effective impact?

Add clarity and depth to this section of your website with audio bites from real conversations with customers. You can also add product/service explanations and instructions discussed during conference calls.

5) Create SlideShare webinars.
If you haven’t discovered SlideShare yet, you’re about to have your mind blown.

SlideShare is a presentation-sharing web platform that lets users sync mp3 audio with slides to create webinars. It’s used by millions of organizations, including the United Nations and IBM. And best of all, SlideShare content has the potential to spread virally and connect hoards of targeted users with brands.

Harness this powerful resource by crafting slide decks to accompany audio recordings from teleconference presentations. SlideShare makes it easy to upload files (including PowerPoint documents) and pull together comprehensive slides, fast. Once completed, share your SlideCast (slides/mp3 mashup) across social media platforms and your website.

6) Add to video for YouTube.
You don’t need a Gangnam-style budget to reap the benefits of YouTube. If your teleconference conversations ever veer into explanation territory, where ideas and concepts are discussed in a comprehensive way, hit record. You might have valuable YouTube content right there!

Pair your audio recording with a simple branded background, a slideshow of relevant images, or anything you can generate visually to accompany the recording. For an extra SEO boost, add the audio transcript to the video so when users search with your keywords, your video appears in the top ranks.

7) Put the spotlight on industry leaders and CEOs.
It’s not everyday your customers have the opportunity to hear from the bigwigs behind your product or service. Share your company’s expertise with a backstage pass to conference calls and interviews. Do it with an audio recording.

Promote this content as part of a podcast episode, or develop an interactive social media or blog series where customers can engage with questions and feedback for the interviewee.

8) Offer exclusive content.
If you want to accelerate your email list, offer exclusive audio content as an incentive for prospects to provide their contact information.

Consider the kinds of “behind-the-scenes” knowledge about your company revealed during conference calls and presentations. Use your discretion (and the permission of everyone present during the call) to record and edit chunks of audio that provide desirable insights for your customers.

Craft targeted landing pages to compel users to sign up for access to these recordings. Now sit back and watch your email list skyrocket.

9) Build hype for upcoming products or services.
Give your target audience a rich yet brief taste of what’s to come. Whether it’s a new product line or industry event, it’s all the more buzz-worthy when you offer sneak peeks with audio recordings.

Edit clips from canned presentations and leak small bites out across social media platforms such as Twitter Vine and Facebook.

10) Develop rich case studies.
The case study is a powerful form of social proof, but when you add audio recordings to the mix, it’s downright unstoppable.

To prepare your content marketing mix for convincing case studies, start recording conversations with clients whose experience with your company is memorably positive.

While crafting a case study about a client experience, review your recordings for moments of dialogue that illustrate or confirm your quality of service.

Adding audio to case studies and other forms of content marketing engages auditory learning preferences and contributes to a diverse marketing mix. And when it’s as easy as recording a conference call, you’ve got nothing holding you back from generating more leads online with compelling, valuable content.

 

Contact us now to see how you can save up to 80% on conference calling.

Have something to add to this article? Post your comments below. Follow us on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook and Google +.

5 Signs Your Meeting is Doomed

5 Signs Your Meeting is Doomed (and How to Save the Next One)

5 Signs Your Meeting is Doomed

There are times where we choose to get ourselves in the middle of something only to find ourselves in something we do no longer want to be in and we end up trying to get out of it. Sometimes it is possible to make the escape. Other times, not so much and you are sitting there regretting your decision of being there in the first place. In times like that, you know you are wasting your time and that you wish you could teleport yourself out or that someone would call you and request your presence somewhere else.

This can happen during a conference call where people can join together in a meeting to discuss important matters. Sometimes the meeting will be fruitful and productive. Other times, not so much. Here are 5 ways to tell if your meeting is doomed and how to prevent it from happening ever again.

  1. The purpose of the meeting is a mystery to everyone but you.

“Do you know what this meeting is for?” mumbles harmless attendee A to not-yet-caffeinated attendee B as they make their way to the boardroom.

“I have no idea,” yawns attendee B, “Did someone send out an email?”

Not this time.

Unless you’re hosting a support group for clairvoyants, you need to prepare attendees beforehand by explaining the purpose of the meeting and what you hope to achieve.

Create an agenda for the meeting and get it in the hands or email inboxes of everyone involved. Do this at least a day before the meeting. It’s one more thing to do, but it’s worth it.

This allows attendees to start the meeting with you in the right mindset for accomplishing your goals. Otherwise, your ambiguous meeting will likely encourage tardiness, rambling, and distracted behavior, sinking it slowly into a tragic waste.

  1. There are long, painfully awkward silences.

This is because your attendees are indiscreetly ‘multi-tasking’ on their smart phones and their lack of attention to the meeting has rendered them incapable of contributing.

Translation: you just lost your agenda to Angry Birds.  How does that make you feel?

It’s too late to snatch those phones from their nimble thumbs. And it’s not an option during conference calls.

Next time, do as Merlin Mann and be the ‘parent’ in the meeting.  Someone has to do it. And if you called the meeting, it’s definitely up to you.

A good parent watches over the meeting carefully by:

  • Periodically verbally summarizing the points discussed
  • Explicitly inviting everyone to participate
  • Directly asking non-participatory attendees to contribute with something specific

These tactics demonstrate to attendees you require their attention, whether they’re dialed in to a conference call from across the country, or sitting across from you in a meeting room. Instead of “grounding” them by asking them to shut down their mobile devices, you encourage collaboration.

  1. You are experiencing technical difficulties.

Nothing provokes the patience of humankind like that 3-second delay during a poor quality phone call or a PowerPoint presentation that shuts itself down after two slides. When technical difficulties have a more influential presence than actual humans in the room, your meeting is seriously doomed.

We can’t trust technology to have our back every time, but we can get pretty damn close when we use effective solutions such as professional conference calling services and test the systems in advance.

Ask yourself: does the projector need a new light bulb?  Do you need to have more people on the phone than your current provider can allow? What about the YouTube clip for your presentation – does the WiFi in the room support it?

Make the most of everyone’s time by taking stock of the technical details.

  1. “Where’s (Insert very important person’s name here)?” 

As you watch callers join your phone conference meeting, you get a sneaky feeling someone is missing.

During the discussion, you realize you left out the key decision maker/innovator/team member for the topic at hand. The meeting is busted.

Luckily, this is an easy fix for next time:

Define the goals for the meeting beforehand. Then, invite the people who can help you achieve the goals.

The “who” and “how many” you invite will depend on the type of meeting. Check out productivity expert Laura Stack’s guide to deciding who should attend.

  1. Your head hurts from giving a rambler the evil eye.

Contrary to your nine-year-old-self’s belief, your eyes cannot shoot laser beams capable of muting the rambler who is currently riffing on the selection of teas in the staff room. To quiet this meeting killer next time, speak up.

“The key to an efficient meeting is a strong leader,” says Fast Company contributor Gina Trapani, “Their job is to keep things on track, not be afraid to cut off long-winded discussions, and be willing to end things early once business is done.”

Interrupt the rambling speaker when necessary to restate the purpose of the meeting and verbally evaluate whether the contribution has helped move the effort forward.

Your colleagues will silently thank you—with puppy eyes.

 

Have questions? Feel free to contact us. Check out the services we provide in Conferencing Calling Services in Charlotte (and surrounding areas).   Save up to 80% when you use us for your conferencing needs.

Have any doomed meeting horror stories? Share them with us in the comment section below.

Have something to add to this article? Post your comments below. Follow us on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook and Google +.

Toll vs Toll Free Number: Which One Do You Choose?

Difference Between a Toll  vs Toll Free Number

Most conference calling service providers in the country offer either toll or toll free or both in their services. What is the difference and which one should you choose?

toll or toll free long distance calling

First, toll numbers that you dial into are 10-digit telephone numbers. They can be used for long-distance calling and may or may not be free depending on your current service provider. Also, depending on your location, your rate for long distance calling may be higher or lower than other locations or service providers. If your plan offers free unlimited toll number, then it won’t cost you a penny. If your plan offers free toll number for a limited set of calls, then you will have to monitor how often you call long-distance. You also have to look at quality. You don’t want to call your loved ones on the other side of the country and their voice is static on the phone. Pick a service with high quality long-distance networking and an affordable plan.

Toll-Free numbers are the long 800 that includes 800, 888, 866, 877, and even 855. Toll-free numbers are what they say they are…..they are free to use for the people who will use it. The person who pays for the call is the host or the person who sets up the call. So basically if you do not want to be charged anything, be on the receiving end of a toll-free call.

Both numbers work great but both involve searching for a service provider that can offer you the lowest rates at the highest quality. Most businesses use the toll-free 800 numbers because it can be less hassle.

Have questions? Feel free to contact us. Check out the services we provide in audio conferencing.   Save up to 80% when you use us for your conferencing needs.

Have something to add to this article? Post your comments below. Follow us on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook and Google +.

Benefits Of Using An Agent When Buying Conference Calling

Is it worth it for better conferencing calling rates?

Businesses across the world use some type of conference calling, whether it is video conferencing, web conferencing, or audio conferencing.  They use conference calling to connect with co-workers or clients or possibly even their business partners from other parts of the world.  The hardest part is checking your equipment and seeing if they are still working right or not.  Sometimes they can die down or break easily.  Other times, the call will lag midway through a call.  Have you ever been in a call where the quality was always average and you saw your bill at the end of month and you knew it could be lower?  Dozens of conference calling service providers make a promise of offering the absolute best quality of service for the lowest prices.  But then the challenge comes: what IS the best service provider to subscribe to?  With lots of options in front of you, you have to make a decision on what is best and most efficient for the business.

Just like finding the best deal for airfare or finding a broker who can get you the best deal on a house or the best stocks in the stock market, a conference call agent is ideal for giving you the best advice for what your best options are.  If there is more than one option available, they will advice on you on which is best for your budget and business needs.  Even more, they might offer you a discount.  Why go to the service provider and pay the original rate if you can go to an agent and get a discount?

conference calling agent

You might ask….why do conference calling services use or need agents?  Well, that’s like asking a business in the world why they would hire a Public Relations team to promote their services?  Agents deal with all of the promotion.  They bring you, the customer, to the service provider.  The service provider knows they have lots of competition and they will use agents to bring leads in.  Don’t take this the wrong way.  There are some agents who are really picky and will only partner up with the best.  If you go to an agent who specializes in conference calling, they might be partnered up with the best conferencing services in the country.

Now there’s more to conferencing than just conferencing.  You have to be aware of the network quality as well.  Take advantage of cloud solutions and fast network structure.  No more lag in your conference calls, especially on VoIP conference calls where you use an IP phone to call someone over the internet.  Some service providers have really good IP phones and VoIP services while others do not.  It’s recommended that you read the reviews on what the best conference calling providers are, then find an agent who can provide you with the lowest rates.

Have something to add to this article? Post your comments below. Follow us on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook and Google +.

10 Clever Tricks to Appear Smart in Video Conference Calls

Believe it or not, joining a video conference call from home doesn’t always have to make you feel like an idiot. Yes, it’s a God-awful communication medium for sure (though that depends on what service you use and how you use it), but in it are some great avenues to appear smart. Just use the expectations of broken technology, lack of transparency, and your colleagues’ own personal insecurities, in order to come out on top. Here are ten favorite tricks for appearing smart in video conference calls.

1. Move the web browser directly beneath your camera

 

how to look smart in a video conference call

This way you can appear to be staring at the meeting when in fact you’re reading E! News.

2. Pay attention to the scenery

What’s behind you? If it’s not a row of books about leadership, posters covered with your company’s flagship product logos, or a trendy brick wall, then you’re missing out on a big opportunity to appear smart.

3. Eat something

Grab a salad or a slice of pizza during the call. Tell everyone this is the only chance you have to eat lunch but didn’t want to miss the call. This will make you seem busy and dedicated. Eating also gives you a great excuse for not being able to chime in very much. As long as your mouth is full and your head is nodding, you’ll seem like you’re contributing as best you can.

4. Say you’re in India

 

how to act smart in a video conference call

Let everyone know you’re dialing in from London, Bangalore, Sydney, or any city where it’s amazing that you’d be awake at this hour. Your dedication to the company will overwhelm everyone with guilt. And, although it’s better if you’re not lying, no one ever really remembers where anyone is anyway so it probably won’t matter.

5. Ask if you can share your screen, then say it’s not working

Tell everyone that you have something important to share that might help the conversation, then make everyone wait for 5 minutes while you try to get it to work. Give up after about 7 minutes and say you’ll share it through email after the meeting. This will let you go back to what’s really on your screen (E! News).

6. ‘Accidentally’ mute yourself

Accidentally mute yourself, then start going on and on about something. They can’t hear you so you could be talking about last night’s episode of Homeland or how you really feel about Twitter, it doesn’t matter. After about a minute, pretend to realize that you were on mute, unmute yourself, then say that you were just echoing what the last person said.

7. Pretend to freeze

 

how to act smart in a video conference call

It may sound like a game, and it is. Pretending to freeze as result of a poor connection will completely derail the meeting and give you an opportunity to silently enjoy the chaos. Observe how everyone stops, tries in vain to make you aware of your frozenness, and talks about you like you’re not there, complaining that you work from home too much.

Re-animate whenever they fully resume the meeting without you, which will once again throw them off.

8. Get your kids or pet on the call

Giving everyone a glimpse of your busy home life will make them appreciate your contributions all the more. Hold your baby while on the call, or feed your dog a snack. The adorable little distraction will make you seem authentic, like you really care.

9. Play around with video effects

While the notes are being reviewed aloud, don a clown face or fancy top hat. This will give everyone a case of uncontrollable giggles, and drive the time-nazis and note-takers crazy. But if anyone else decides to do the same thing, scold them for wasting time.

10. Suggest a follow up when everyone’s in the same place

Nothing makes everyone feel more like the meeting was worth it, than ending by saying it would be good to follow up when everyone’s in the same place. Thank everyone for their time and wave goodbye as you take a last bite of your salad.

Originally published at thecooperreview.com. Follow Sarah at @sarahcpr

 

Paying high for video conferencing?  Contact us now to save up to 80%.  Get a FREE Cost Analysis.

Have something to add to this article? Post your comments below. Follow us on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook and Google +.

24 Myths In Conference Calling: The Complete List

There’s a lot of myths out there about conference calling and how it can benefit you.  We’ve compiled a complete list to show you what all of those myths are.  Be sure to look through them so you can get the best for your business.

Take note this article has gone through minor changes for editorial purposes.   Teleconferencing providers across the country have taken the time to debunk some of the most popular myths in conference calling and while some may be biased or questionable, we leave that up to you to decide.  Let us know what you think in the comments.

 

(via Sound-Connect.com)

1) Don’t I need expensive equipment?

Conference Call Myths

Absolutely not!  Web conferencing has come a long way from the large conference rooms that used to be required to join a video conference.  There are several conferencing products available that are cloud based, which means that the only thing you need is a headset or phone and an internet connection!  Products such as Globalmeet and Adobe Connect are flashed based, so all you need to do to connect to your video conference is enter your meeting URL into your web browser.

2) But won’t my meeting invitees have to download software to use the conferencing product?

Conference Call Myths - No Downloading

Conferencing companies have designed their products to run off of your internet browser with no extra downloads required.  As was mentioned above, several products are flash based which means no matter the age or make of your PC, you can join a virtual conference room instantly without jumping through any hoops.  This means that you can avoid any connectivity issues when inviting a large number of individuals, so you can rest easy knowing that as long as they have an internet connection, they can easily connect to your web conference.

3) Video Conferencing is impersonal and isn’t comparable to meeting face to face.

While video conferencing isn’t literally face to face, it is the next best thing.  With advances in technology you can enjoy video conferences in 1080p high definition video with unmatched audio quality, and with your meeting running through a cloud server you can rest assured that you will enjoy a lag free high quality meeting.  Web conferencing also gives you the flexibility to meet a variety of needs and requirements from your clients.  You can join conference calls from the office, from home and even on the road using your mobile phone!  Web conferencing allows you to better meet the needs and time constraints of your clients while cutting travel costs.

Conference Call Myths - Impersonal

4) Web conferencing is too expensive, there is no room in our budget!

The web conferencing industry has growth exponentially, and because of this pricing has never been more competitive!  Host unlimited meetings in your personal meeting room for as low as $35 per month!  The product can pay for itself even if it eliminates one trip across town or one tank of gas.  For $1 per day you can host as many meeting as you’d like for up to 125 participants, it is a value that cannot be beat!

5) Web conferencing requires more bandwidth than we can provide!

Conference Call Myths - More Bandwith

With the advances in web conferencing technology and ability for the product to run off of the cloud server the majority of organizations can run the majority of web conferencing products with no problem.  If you can watch a youtube video, you can seamlessly run a smooth, high quality video conference.  And with total audio integration with a conferencing bridge hosted off premise you can be assured that you will have a high quality audio conference as well.

Video and Web Conferencing can provide significant benefits to your organization.

Conferencing is easy and efficient and is designed to make your work day as easy and efficient as possible.  Improve your overall communication with clients and customers while enjoying the flexibility that web conferencing brings by being able to connect no matter where you are.  Contact us today to learn more about our web conferencing products and to see which is the best fit for your business.

(via freeconference.com)

Myth #1: Free conference calling services are complicated and difficult to use.

Fact: When you use easy-to-use web apps setup by some free conference calling services, you can painlessly start impromptu conference calls or schedule them for a later date. You can even make your Friday 10am pow-wow a standing appointment using the easy-to-use dashboard. Once in the call, you can monitor the names and numbers of those participating in the call. You can also keep track of when each participant dialed in and how long they stayed, so you know at a glance who’s playing hooky or ducking out early. And, perhaps best of all, you can monitor who is speaking at any given time, sparing you the embarrassment of asking.

Myth #2: Free conference calling services have hidden long distance charges.

Fact: There are free conference calling services that offer free international dial-ins that enable you to connect with colleagues and clients in Germany, Belgium, Australia and the United States, with no access fees or monthly payments. If you need to conduct business outside these areas, FreeConference has toll-free dial-in numbers available for a small fee. You can access these numbers at anytime, with or without a reservation, so your colleague in France can add their two cents at a moment’s notice.

Myth #3: Free conference calling services are unreliable when it comes to the quality of the connection.

Fact: Free conference calling services boast incredible uptime on all its calls, so humming, buzzing or a sudden loss of connection won’t hamper your team’s creativity. Services like FreeConference also ensure crystal clear audio quality by offering an in-browser web conferencing tool, powered by WebRTC. WebRTC, or Web Real Time Communications, is an open source code that allows browsers to communicate directly with one another. This lets you easily share files, audio or video with your clients and colleagues with minimal fuss. WebRTC delivers reliable audio quality that is superior to VoIP (voice over IP) services, such as Skype.

Myth #4: Free conference calling services offer little-to-no customer support and don’t guarantee proper functionality.

Fact: Whether you’re looking for clarification on a particular feature or you’re experiencing technical difficulties, a lot of free conference calling services are fully staffed with a dedicated group of customer support reps ready, willing and able to help you with all your conferencing needs. As for guaranteeing proper functionality, they take pride in their products and strives to deliver the very best service possible every single time.

Myth #5: A free conference calling service may save you money, but it will make your organization look cheap in front of prospective clients.

Fact: While it is true that a free conference calling service can save you money, it is certainly not true that it will make you look cheap. For all the reasons stated above, a lot of free conference calling services offer all the features, support and reliable audio quality that make you look awesome in front of your superiors, peers and prospective clients.

 

(via vyopta.com)

#1 Video conferencing is difficult to set up

 

Conference Call Myths - Difficult to Setup

While this may have been true in the past, there are so many options today for video that are literally a click away. WebRTC and a dozen other innovations over the last 3-5 years have drastically reduced the barrier to entry for video. Today we have more advanced codecs and software to support more users behind the scenes as well as simpler interfaces, so if you haven’t had a video call with your grandmother yet, then shame on you.

#2 Video conferencing is expensive

Yes, video is more expensive than audio and text messaging, but that is because it’s so much more valuable! Think about what type of interaction you get with video as opposed to audio. In the grand scheme of things, video is not unreasonable on any budget. Look at Skype, which is now making it’s way into the business world by taking over for Microsoft Lync. You can join a Skype without paying a single dime.

#3 Video is difficult to Support

Video is as easy or difficult as you make it, just like audio. It comes with hardware, software and a service agreement. Get proactive about the way you support your video network by using some nice cloud-based management and analytics tools.  Automating some tasks gives you more time to focus on increasing adoption and quality of experience for your users.

#4 Video puts a strain on the network

While it is true that video traffic can be difficult because it requires low latency, low jitter, low packet loss with non-deterministic packet length, and high bandwidth, it is also true that this ain’t the same internet as it was 5 years ago. If you can do video calls over a lossy network like 4G/LTE on a cell phone, you should easily be able to do video over a WAN or land line.

#5 Video takes more time to start and join than it is worth

Actually, joining a web conference can be more difficult in my experience. At least with SIP addressing and video links, all you do is put something like “sip:video@vyopta.com” in an email signature or a conference invite and anyone can join. No need for passcodes or meeting numbers or any of that if your video devices are registered correctly to the network.

At Vyopta we have about 8x more video calls than audio calls, and I have never had to enter in a passcode to join. Our video scheduling service works wonders with meeting invites so anyone can join via nearly any device.

#6 Special Infrastructure is required

Not true. Today you can use virtualized servers or even video over the web like WebRTC. There are some great new companies offering video collaboration through the cloud like Bluejeans or High Five, so you don’t have to worry too much about expensive infrastructure if you don’t want to. However, there is definitely a point where having your own infrastructure becomes much more cost effective.

#7 I can be just as productive on audio

Really? In addition to the obvious difference that video forces you to pay attention to the call because everyone can see if you are doing something else, 55% of all communication is nonverbal. This means you are operating at less than half the possible human bandwidth by being on an audio call. How can people maximize productivity on half the bandwidth?

#8 Video call doesn’t actually replace travel

 

Conference Call Myths - Video Call and Traveling

It is true that 1 video call does not replace 1 trip for 1 person every time. It IS true that the word telepresence literally means remote presence, as in – I can be in two places at once. Did Emperor Palpatine go to the Death Star every time he wanted to have a chat with Darth Vader? No, he only came when it was crucial to the plot and he felt it was necessary. But he did make those trips.

#9 Nobody wants to see me on video

Well, I highly doubt that is true (See point #1). While I cannot argue that there can be a bit of awkwardness the first few times you use video (is that what I sound like and look like on others?), you get over it pretty quick. My tip: turn off the self-view feature that comes with most video call products after you make sure that your background is ok and you are the center of view. It is just distracting and you want to focus on the people you are talking to anyways.

#10 You are just trying to sell me more gadgets and services

I will admit, I am selling you something, but only because I know it is valuable. Actually, we are trying to solve a problem that makes companies more competitive. Over 80% of users who use video frequently say that the main reason they do it is because it makes them use their time more effectively, not because it replaces travel or saves the company money.

Here at Vyopta, we use video 8x more often than audio calls because it is our natural operating state now. We get more out of it and it makes us faster, more agile, and improves our relationships with customers, suppliers, and partners. There is no question about it. Also, my hardware endpoint functions as an excellent second monitor and a mirror when I need it.

 

(via starleaf.com)

  1. Video conferencing? You mean Skype, right?

No we really don’t. Let’s get this clear from the start. The differences between business-grade video conferencing and free video calling software could not be more pronounced.  And if you’ve ever tried to use the latter across your organization, you will have run into issues with quality, security and (lack of) support.  The limitations of free calling software become even more apparent when trying to equip a meeting room with video.  A group of colleagues huddled around a laptop, all vying to be seen and heard, does not a video conference make. Most modern video conferencing and calling systems address all of these issues, so when you are looking for a solution for your business, make sure it not only offers HD audio and video, secure end-to-end encryption, and has a dedicated support line, but also allows you to connect meeting rooms to desktops to mobile workers – to anyone in fact.

  1. The cost of video conferencing is too high to roll it out to an entire workforce.

Traditionally, yes. Video conferencing and calling did have a limited value for the majority of an organization because it was once just too expensive to deploy across an entire business. Clunky, expensive video hardware, high maintenance and usage costs, plus a need for expert human resources, meant that deploying video across your entire organization just didn’t make sense financially. Thankfully, those days are behind us and today’s cloud-managed video conferencing and calling is completely scalable.  The best video conferencing providers deliver a sleek and simple user experience with no cost-per-minute charges.   What’s more, being able to provision anyone anywhere with enterprise quality video calling software at no additional cost, means that video conferencing and calling has truly become a cost-effective way to keep your colleagues and clients connected.

  1. I need a qualified engineer/brain surgeon/rocket scientist on-hand just to make a video call.

Well, you can if you want the company, but really any video conferencing and calling systems you choose should be easy to deploy, install and manage.  Some video conferencing providers still charge a premium for a proprietarily ‘certified’ engineer to install and manage your video conferencing system, but thankfully they are very much a dying breed.  This means there are now plenty of user-friendly video conferencing options available, many with smartphone-like user interfaces, that are intuitive and require little to no training or resource to get up and running.  What’s more, a few video conferencing providers offer a central portal so that internal administrators, or even your video conferencing supplier, can provision, add and remove endpoints and users themselves, with no need for additional external resource.

  1. I already have a video conferencing system in place, upgrading it will mean ripping and replacing all our existing equipment.

A video conferencing and calling system is an investment, there is no doubt about that. And like all good investments, it should withstand the test of time. Now, more than ever, we expect to be able to integrate our existing technologies; video conferencing and calling is no exception. Longevity is key here. Ideally, a video conferencing solution should interoperate seamlessly with whatever you already have in place and also allow you to call anyone on any other system. Even better if you can then manage both deployments from one central location and not worry about who is calling whom from what.  As for worrying about the longevity of the technology itself, the beauty of cloud video conferencing systems is that any software upgrades are rolled out automatically, so you can be sure that you are always using the latest (and greatest) version and are not left stuck with obsolete infrastructure.

 

So there we have it. Video conferencing myths well and truly busted. If you’re ready to get your organization connected and collaborating, contact us today to arrange a demo and see video conferencing and calling that just works in action.  Save up to 80% on conference calling services.

Have something to add to this article? Post your comments below. Follow us on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook and Google +.