Should you hold a conference call instead of your next meeting?

Conference calling is ever growing in popularity, constantly becoming easier and easier to use, and even, with some conference bridges, free. It’s really likely that you’re coming across it more and more in your working life. But every time you’re starting to plan a meeting, maybe you should ask yourself whether a conference call might be a better option.

So when is teleconferencing the right option? High up in the list of considerations should be how easy it is for everybody you need at the meeting to get there. If somebody is very far away, has young children or dependent family members, or is unwell, a conference call may be the better option. You can save participants discomfort, money and difficult planning, which will make them less resentful of the meeting and put them in a more productive mood, thus making the conference all the more successful. If people have busy schedules, it may be much easier for them to fit in a conference call from wherever they may be than to find time to travel to and from a meeting.

Moreover, if you’re going over intricate details, or making formal agreements with people, a teleconference can offer the ideal way to keep a detailed record of what has been said. Several conference bridges allow you to record the call as it takes place, and listen back to the recording later. This can be extremely helpful to your business in legal situations, as well as help ensure you remember instructions that have been given out or issues that have been raised.

But there are undeniably times when a meeting may be more appropriate. For example, you may choose to hold the initial stages of an interviewing process via conference call. The follow up, however, may be more usefully carried out with a face to face meeting, as this will give you a better feel of the type of person you may be employing, and how well they are likely to integrate into your team. Similarly, conference calling is a great option during early stages of a business deal, but as you get closer to signing a deal, meeting physically is normally necessary. It’s important for teams to meet up in order for them to create professional bonds, which will help them to work together and improve productivity in the long run.

If your participants are already familiar with one another, or don’t particularly need to be so, teleconferencing can be ideal. Whether it’s a quick update or a long preparation session, consider a conference call before you ask people to attend a meeting in the office. It could make everyone’s life easier, and mean higher efficiency overall.

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