How to Set Up a Conferencing Call

by : Jim Mcdonald

Conference calling is changing the way business is getting done today. Business has always been accomplished through networking. Nothing can replace meeting face-to-face. Whether you are selling to a customer, providing service for client, forging agreements with a partner or training your employees, it's hard to beat the effectiveness of being able to see facial expressions, judge body language or provide product demonstrations. Unfortunately, the high cost and increasing security concerns of business travel in today's global marketplace is making meeting in person more difficult to accomplish.

Fortunately, technology is providing a solution. Conference calling services restore the personal touch of human contact without the need for physically changing your location. The audio conference call has been around for quite a while, but the capabilities, reliability and quality have taken a huge leap forward. Video conferencing has improved because new technology has eliminated the need for specialized equipment. Web conferencing utilizes the power of the Internet and provides a whole new range of capabilities.

There's no question that conference calling can improve your business relationships at a relatively low cost. But if you haven't tried conference calling yet, the whole idea may seem to complicated, difficult and maybe even a little scary. In reality, setting up a conference call has never been easier. New web-based conference calling services make setting up a conferencing call a simple, painless procedure.

One of the easiest ways to set up a conferencing call is to work with an online, reservation-less conference call provider. The first step is to visit their website and sign up for a new account. Setting up a new account can usually be accomplished in just a few minutes. You'll need to enter some basic information about yourself and your business, and you'll have provide and verify your e-mail address. You also need to set up a way to pay the bill for your conference calling services. The easiest way to handle billing is to provide credit card information. As long as you make sure you are dealing with a reputable company, there should be no worries about the security of your information.

Once your new account is set up and activated, you're ready to schedule your first conference call. Some conference calling services require reservations in advance. However, if you set up your account that an automatic, reservation-less company, then they will provide you with a telephone number for participants to call and a pass code that is exclusive to you.

The next step to set up your conference call is to invite the guests or participants that you want on the call. Contact everyone via email and provide the telephone number, the pass code and the time at which they should call.

At the appointed time, everyone will call in. The conference call doesn't actually start until you -- the host -- call in. Before you dial in, guests will be connected to the call, but will likely be listening to music until the call begins. In most cases, guests will not be able to talk to each other until you are connected to the call. This is primarily a security feature. Once you dial into the call, everyone will be connected and the call will begin. Guests who called in after this point will join the conference call in progress.

While the conference call is in progress, there may be a variety of services you can access as the host. By dialing certain combinations you can request operator assistance, take polls, change the call volume, stop and start recording, or even set up sub-conferences.

As the host, you have the power to end the conference call at any time. Once the conference call is complete, you can listen to the recording (if there was one). You may be able to download an immediate invoice for accounting purposes. Other options may be available as well depending on the conference call services you have chosen.

Conference calling truly allows the participants to be in two places at one time. Considering the speed at which today's business is conducted, this capability is sure to give your company an edge in the marketplace.