Setting up conference calls can seem daunting. But with this helpful guide, we’ll help you figure out how to set up the perfect conference call in no time.
Let’s be real. Conference calls can be divisive. Everyone in your office probably has an opinion about how to set up a conference call correctly, and most likely, they are jaded about it. But don’t worry about bad attitudes! We’ll walk through step-by-step how to set up an effective conference call that is also time-saving!
Prepare the Perfect Agenda for Your Perfect Conference Call
When thinking about the process of how to set up a conference call, a lot of people put the cart before the horse. It can be tempting to schedule the call and invite participants first, but experienced conference callers will tell you this isn’t the most productive way to use conferencing.
If you are responsible for setting up a conference call, the trick to getting the most out of the call is to actually figure out your objectives and lay out the agenda first. Keep in mind, you can always update an agenda as certain people respond whether or not they can attend the call. But, having a solid plan laid out ahead of time is going to make the entire process easier in the long run.
There is a simple reason why getting an agenda done first is the best way to go about it when you’re learning how to set up a conference call. Knowing what you want to accomplish on the call ahead of time will actually help you determine almost everything else about the call that you need to plan for.
Let’s say you’ve been tasked with setting up a call to review the effectiveness of a recent ad campaign your company did. Are you going to want to talk to the creatives about the effectiveness of their design? Will you your strategy team need to be on the call to review the campaign’s reach? Will finance need to be on the call to discuss how much the campaign cost? Answering questions like these before scheduling the call will determine who gets an invite and, depending on their schedules, when the call can take place.
Plus, having a clear agenda and objectives to include in the invite itself will help participants effectively prepare for the call, ensuring they can maximize their time both ahead of the call and during it.
As you learn how to set up a conference call, it will become clear that the agenda is also key in figuring out how long your conference call should last. Everyone’s time is precious, and folks at work don’t want to spend all day in meetings and on calls. With a clear and precise agenda laid out from the get-go, you can ensure your conference call will last just the right amount of time.
Invite People to Participate on Your Perfect Conference Call
One of the most daunting steps when learning how to set up a conference call is the invitation process. Unless you’re at senior level in your company, asking for people’s time can feel like a burden.
But, with your perfect agenda already laid out, you should have a clear picture of who needs to participate in your perfect conference call. You want to make sure that you don’t over-invite people, because as the number of people on a call increases, the likelihood of coming to an actionable decision decreases.
As you’re learning how to set up a conference call, your agenda will help you determine what kind of meeting the call will be. Meetings and conference calls can essentially be broken down into two larger categories: Decision-making and Brainstorming.
If you look at your objective-driven agenda and see that you need to make some clear decisions on this call, make sure you don’t invite too many people. According to Michael Mankins, who spoke to the Wall Street Journal about corporate time-wasting, for every additional participant over seven, the likelihood of coming to a decision goes down by 10%.
If the purpose of the meeting is, instead, to open brainstorm about a lot of different ideas and possibilities, then it’s most productive to invite 10 to 20 active participants.
Once you’ve figured how what you need to accomplish and who needs to participate on the call, your “how to set up a conference call” journey has finally reached the scheduling stage.
Schedule Your Perfect Conference Call
Scheduling can be truly painful. But if you keep a few things in mind re: scheduling as you’re learning how to set up a conference call, the process will be less painful.
First, make sure you only schedule as much time as you need. Looking at your agenda and the objectives you laid out, only ask participants for the amount of time needed to accomplish those objectives. As a pro-tip, don’t schedule to the nearest 30 minutes. Most objectives can be accomplished on calls lasting 15-20 minutes. If it’s only going to take 5 minutes, schedule the call for 5!
Join Your Perfect Conference Call
The moment has finally come! This is the fun part of the “how to set up a conference call” process where you get to see all your hard work pay off. The biggest thing to note here is that if you scheduled the call, everyone will be looking to you to keep the call moving and organized. Don’t be afraid to jump in and tell participants you need to move on to the next section. Sticking firm to your agenda will increase everyone’s trust in you and force people to pay attention and stay on topic!
One thing to keep in mind when setting up conference calls is the dial-in process. This is where choosing a top-tier service like Branded Bridge Line can really help you out. We included dedicated lines with each of our conference calling plans, which allows for pin-free dial-ins. This feature can be especially helpful if you are scheduling a call with someone you’ve never worked with before. Access codes and host PINs are cumbersome and frequently lead to confusion and calls not starting on time. As you’re learning how to set up a conference call, you should consider a conference call service that makes dialing into calls as simple as possible.
Use Your Perfect Conference Call to Start Getting Stuff Done
It’s time to start getting stuff done. Conference calls are perfect for getting a group of the right people together to accomplish tasks and objectives quickly, effectively, and easily no matter where those people are. With a few tips and tricks from this article, you should have everything you need to know how to setup a conference call!
Dedicated LinesLet’s take a quick Conference Call Joining Journey. It’s an unfortunately common scene – business uses a free conference calling service, which doles out a new random number each time you need to do a conference call. Sound familiar so far? You have a weekly call scheduled with a new client. It’s the second or third week, and few lucky, industrious employees locate the calendar invite, find the new number, and join the call on time and without issue. But there they sit – waiting, ever so impatiently – as literally everyone else who’s supposed to be on the call searches for the new conference line number. Inevitably, texts and emails start pouring in with the fated, “Can someone re-circulate the conference number here pls? Can’t find it anywhere.” After a few direct replies (“One sec, finding it now” or “I think it’s the same as last week?”), some brave soul finally replies-all but accidentally copy-pastes last week’s number instead of this week’s. New emails start flying in correcting the (innocuous, sure) mistake, but only after several unlucky members make multiple attempts to join the wrong call. Just a part of doing business, right? Not with a dedicated line! One of the first things to look for when choosing a conference calling company is whether or not they offer dedicated lines. Having a dedicated number for your conference calls makes scheduling and joining calls so much easier. How? With a dedicated line, you can simply save the conference number to your address book, and employees and clients won’t have to dig through a calendar invite for a new conference line each and every time you have a conference call. Branded Bride Line offers exactly that!
PIN-Free CallingAnother huge advantage of choosing a conference calling company that offers dedicated lines is PIN-free calling. Imagine the scene above, but exacerbated by a pesky PIN! Seriously, though, PINs are frustrating and offer yet another point on the already rocky Conference Call Joining Journey where mistakes can be made. PIN-free conference calling is the most seamless way to conduct conference calls. Dial the number and you’re in. That’s it. No more waiting around for folks to find the right number – no re-entering the wrong PIN. Plus, it feels fancy. Clients get to dial into calls directly with just a phone number.
Conference Calling for the MassesWhen looking at all of the features offered by various conference calling companies, one thing you’ll probably see advertised as a way to differentiate service tiers is the number of people who can join a conference call line. It’s vital to take this into consideration as you compare different conference calling solutions. It’s likely that all the conference calling solutions you’re considering offer some tier of their service that supports large groups of callers. In this day and age, it’s common for conference calling companies to support hundreds to thousands of participants on a single call. But not all large group conference call support is equal. At Branded Bridge Line, we offer conference calling with support for an unlimited number of participants. But we don’t stop there. We work with Tier 1 carriers to ensure crystal clear audio no matter how many people you plan to host on your call. While many conference calling companies support large group calls, few offer the tools to make those calls actually effective. Beyond ensuring clear audio and strong connectivity, we pride ourselves in providing tools that are specific to the needs of large group conference calls. Participants can join by phone or by computer, plus with advanced conference call management and Lecture Mode, you’ll have complete control over screen sharing and changing which lines get muted and unmuted during the course of the call. Plus, all of our plans support an unlimited number of callers. We don’t believe in limiting the size of any calls. Just because you’re a small business this year, doesn’t mean you’ll be a small business next year. We support your growth and want you to have all the tools necessary without having to pay a premium.
The Price Is RightAs always, price is a huge deciding factor when it comes to making any business decision. When looking for a conference calling solution that will fit your company’s needs, we believe that having options goes a long way. No two businesses are exactly alike, which is why we offer many different conference calling options at price points that fit various budgets. No matter which level you choose, though, every single one of our plans comes feature-packed with reliable connectivity, unmatched customer support, and a call management interface that is the simplest and easiest to use on the market. Fundamentally, we believe that you shouldn’t have to pay for top-notch conference calling quality – and, on the flip side, you also shouldn’t have to pay for features your company doesn’t need and won’t use. For example, a small or medium-sized business that regularly hosts small conference calls for a select group of employees – say, 15 or less – shouldn’t be forced to pay more for a bundle of extra numbers. Likewise, a larger company that may need more than one dedicated phone number for simultaneous conferences, but will use more than 1,000 minutes per month, should be able to save on the minutes they won’t use. Take a look at the conference calling pricing options on the Branded Bridge Line Plans and Pricing page to find the right plan for your company. Additionally, if your business has specific needs that aren’t included in one of the listed plans, our team is more than happy to work with you directly to design and price a custom plan made especially for your business.
Choosing the Right Conference Calling CompanyWith so many different conference calling solutions on the market, it can be tough to figure out which one will be the right fit for your business. In the end, it comes down to which features set one conference calling company apart from the rest. Whether you decide it’s:
- Dedicated conference call lines
- PIN-less dial-ins
- Unlimited conference call participants
- Robust conference call management
- or, Price