Bringing Full Audio/Visual Support to Conference Calling

Conference calls are an essential business tool. As companies expand, workers and clients find themselves increasingly further apart. Technology is meeting the need for virtual meetings through recent advancements, including video playback in conference calls. Companies like OnConference have added this feature to allow presenters to include full video clips. In the past, dynamic tools were limited to slide show presentations, which can be helpful, but work best for meeting minutes or topic overviews. Video implementation is ideal for presentations by marketing, creative or advertising departments, but it can also be used to show customer testimonials or product demonstrations.

By eliminating the need to access a separate link or download software, video playback streamlines communication and reduces the odds of client frustration. Many businesses already use it as part of conference calls in an effort to create the atmosphere of a webinar.

This development ties in with a growing trend of conference calls being held online through Voice over IP, or VoIP. Not only does this allow for the inclusion of video and visual media, it makes accommodations for salespeople on the road, who may not have a landline or phone connection available. Of course, it also avoids tying up a phone line in the office. However, traditional conference calling still has its place.

People uncomfortable with technology or computers will have no problem dialing in. If wireless connections are spotty, a landline or cell phone may be more reliable. Both options have the opportunity to record calls for later discussion. It’s always a good policy to have multiple options available for customers, instead of asking them to adjust to your standards, and both options allow for virtual meetings across a global platform.

The advent of conference calls has cut company costs by allowing people to work from home or skip costly business trips. However, a change of venue brings with it a change in company etiquette. We know not to stand up in the middle of a presentation or text during a meeting, but the rules change when dialing in from home or the road. It’s not always clear when people are joining a call, though many services do offer a notification, so it’s a good idea to give your name and a quick greeting as soon as possible after dialing in.

Conference calls also offer the added benefit of being available from your home. Once you’re on the call, in order to simulate an in-office, professional environment, try to keep children and pets at a distance. Obviously, the television and radio should also be switched off. Noise-cancelling headphones may help you focus, but they also leave you oblivious to background noise on your end of the line, so make sure to get to a quiet place before putting them on if you need them.

Understand the technology and use the mute and hold buttons correctly; a mix-up could mean everyone hears smooth jazz or an awkward silence or worse — a comment that was supposed to be private. Finally, keep your voice at a professional level. It’s never appropriate to talk over a co-worker in an effort to be heard.

As an inevitable part of day-to-day business relationships, conference calls and video conferencing technology should be understood and not avoided. Technology will adapt to make these meetings smoother and easier for everyone involved. By having a good grasp of the skills needed, the options available and the expected behavior, you’ll be better prepared and make yourself an integral part of the team.

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