If you’re working as part of a team or running a business today, chances are you’re doing a ton of work directly in your inbox.
Tools like Outlook can be a game-changer for busy workers looking to manage not only their emails, but also their schedules—while communicating with their team and clients.
For example, let’s say you want to put together a video meeting or conduct a conference call with your coworkers. With Outlook, you can actually set one up really easily in a matter of seconds.
(No need to play email tag or ask everyone what their schedules look like, either.)
Let’s look at two different ways to set up a conference call in Outlook: a newer/faster way, and the old-fashioned way. If you just want the old way, you can skip ahead:
- How to set up a conference call in Outlook the faster way using your conferencing platform’s integration
- How to set up a conference call in Outlook manually
🎧 Are you set up with the right headset for your next conference call? What should you look out for when shopping for a new conference call headset?
In most cases, you can set up conference calls in Outlook more quickly if your video conferencing platform integrates with Outlook. We’ll show you how with an example, using RingCentral Video’s Outlook integration.
The app has a ton of awesome productivity features for keeping touch with your colleagues without having to leave your Outlook inbox. For example, the dialpad is built into Outlook so you can quickly start a call or video chat directly from your inbox:
Meanwhile, you can also call or text your colleagues right from Outlook threads:
Oh, and the RingCentral integration also does most of the manual work in setting up Outlook conference calls by auto-populating your attendees’ contact details and meeting links. No more copying and pasting meeting IDs and passwords manually.
Setting up an Outlook conference call this way pretty much involves the same steps as Option #2—this way’s just faster.
If you’re already using RingCentral, go ahead and install the free conference call Outlook plugin if you haven’t already. Once it’s good to go, select the RingCentral tab in the top bar of your screen:
This will automatically pop up a sidebar with call details that you can customize—and if you want an audio-only call, it only takes one click to specify:
From here, you can fill out your meeting details as you normally would with the plugin. The added bonus of using RingCentral is that your contacts will automatically sync, as will your meeting ID. You also have the option to customize your video settings, mute attendee audio, and add a password that’s required to join the meeting.
Once you’re done, just hit “Add Meeting,” and your invitation and message will populate itself in your email body. Review the details, hit “Send”, and that’s that!
🕹️ Get a hands-on look at how easy it is to schedule conference calls (and do other neat stuff) in Outlook using the RingCentral integration by booking a product tour:
You can also use this calculator to see roughly how much your business could save by using RingCentral to support your team’s communication with each other—and clients.
To kick things off, let’s say you’re only using Outlook at the moment—no other apps or software—and you want to set up a simple conference without any bells and whistles.
Start by selecting “New Meeting” in the upper left-hand corner of your screen. Note that you can access this menu from anywhere in Outlook, including your calendar or inbox:
From here, you’ll be prompted to craft your conference invitation. Take a moment to plug in some key details of your conference, such as:
- A meeting title (for example, “Quarterly Review” or “Monthly Check-In”)
- Required or optional participants (based on their email addresses)
- An appropriate time and duration of your meeting (30 minutes versus an hour and so on)
If you and your coworkers all work out of Microsoft 365 and have your calendars synced, you can use the “Scheduling Assistant” (next to the “Meeting” tab) to double-check your colleagues’ schedules. Otherwise, put in a pre-arranged meeting time or be prepared to hash out the details once your invitation is sent.
You can also leave “Location” blank if the call is being done remotely. If you’re conducting your call in the office, assign the right huddle room or conference room. Alternatively, you can use your virtual meeting or conferencing solution meeting ID as your stated location.
Keep in mind that if you leave “Location” blank, you’ll be prompted by Outlook to double-check it before scheduling, but you don’t have to fill it in.
In your email body, make sure to include some sort of brief meeting agenda. You don’t have to go into too much detail here. Just mention general talking points, expectations, and “homework” your attendees might need to do before the meeting (such as reviewing a report or bringing a document to present).
And most importantly, don’t forget to include a meeting ID or number for your attendees to call in to! The link or phone number you’ll use depends on your conferencing calling solution.
The benefit of Option 1, where you’re using something that integrates with Outlook, is that these numbers get populated automatically instead of you having to manually copy and paste, which can lead to human error.
Here’s a conference call invitation email example:
Then, hit “Send” and you’re good to go! Once your invitation is pending, you can track responses and the status of your upcoming conference call in your Outlook Calendar.
Now you know how to set up a conference call in Outlook!
Congrats on leveling up your conference-scheduling skills! Either option works for getting your Outlook meetings set up fast.
That said, RingCentral can seriously speed things up and likewise makes sure that there’s less room for error when it comes to scheduling, managing attendees, and organizing your meeting links.
So, check out the plugin next time you need to put together a virtual meeting via Outlook!
Originally published Oct 22, 2020, updated Jun 01, 2021