Since working from home is more accepted and encouraged, conference calls have become a necessity to keep processes moving. Beyond the convenience of working at home, conference calling provides opportunities for collaboration, communication across long-distance, and can save you serious time and money.
But before you sign up for the wrong service, it’s important to know what features you need to get the most out of your plan.
A conference call is a web-based solution where several people can join the meeting and talk at the same time, and many versions include both audio and video calling. Participants call in using a phone number provided by the conferencing call service and shared by the host.
With so many video conferencing apps available, you’ve probably joined meetings before or used it before without realizing, like with Skype or FaceTime to chat with friends and family. And with the surge of remote work, video chatting has grown to be just as beneficial for businesses.
This type of software is, of course, used for online meetings, but most options give you the ability to share screens and share editing privileges for real-time collaboration, chat functions, file sharing, and live streaming, the ability to record meetings, among many, many others.
There are several types of conferencing calls, each with their own benefits and features, depending on what your needs are.
For example, the RingCentral App lets you do video conferencing, team messaging—and even make phone calls.
Making a conference call is incredibly easy, both if you’re scheduling future calls and doing on-the-spot instant conference calls.
Step 1: Log on to the site that will be hosting your conference call
Step 2: Click on “Host a conference call”
Step 3: Enter the call’s details
Step 4: Click “Confirm”
Step 5: An email should go out to you and your participants with instructions on how to join the meeting and start your call and any phone numbers or access codes associated with the meeting
If you’re joining someone else’s meeting, it’s even easier. Simply visit the conference calling service’s website and click on “Join meeting,” which is usually located next to “Host a conference call”.
Most services provide both free and paid versions. Free versions typically limit how many participants call in, duration of the call, conference call recording ability, among other things, so it’s always good to check out what the paid plans offer.
A free conference call service is a great option if you have a relatively small team, won’t need international conferencing capabilities, or if you want to try a service out before deciding to pay for a plan. The most popular conferencing solutions include Google Hangouts, FreeConferenceCall, Skype, and Zoom. If you’re looking for basic tools with no add-ons that you’ll never use, then free tools will be okay.
With paid plans, you’ll get access to more conferencing features and better customer/operator assistance, if you are ever having trouble. Many of them also offer video tours, so you can get a look at the app in action before committing.
Conference calling provides a huge benefit for productivity, communication, and collaboration. And as more parts of your business are transitioning to digital, a conference call makes it’s even easier to keep your company growing. Here are a few perks:
Our recommendations below are what we think every paid plan should have, since free plans with these features will be harder to come by.
Nice to haves:
The key to a successful conference call is organization. Coordinate with everyone who’s attending to find the best date (unless there are a lot of people, then maybe only reach out to senior-level executives). Once you’ve got a date figured out, schedule the meeting immediately—give everyone as much time as possible to get it on their calendars or prepare.
And don’t forget to send out a reminder with a link to the online meeting, access code (if it has one), and dial-in number (don’t forget to include international dial-in numbers). We recommend sending it a week prior and the day before. Don’t worry about annoying people, they’ll be more annoyed if you don’t remind them.
Conference calling provides a convenient, centralized place for communicating and collaborating from anywhere in the world, but, like many things in life, there are dos and don’ts you should follow. Before you start your calls, refer back to these tips to help keep your meetings effective and enjoyable.
When deciding to sign up for a conferencing call solution, you have a ton of options to choose from, each with their own conferencing features and price points. RingCentral is a great solution with unique features—and you can take it for a spin with the free trial, too.
Our basic plan offers unlimited conferences for up to 100 participants and sharing calls between the desktop app and mobile app. Upgrading gives you unlimited group conferences, reporting, and 24/7, phone support, as well as advanced team messaging that provides task management and convenient access to video meetings and screen sharing.
If you’re ready to open up new opportunities for collaboration and communication, while saving you time and money, check out our plans to find the best one for you.
And if you’re still deciding, sign up for a full product demo to see everything RingCentral can do for you and your business.