Conference calls are nothing but telephone calls between three or more people at the same time. You can start a voice conference by one person calling up all the other members and adding them to the call. Telephone conferencing facilities are incredibly easy to use. The equipment and technology are with the teleconferencing service provider. You don’t need to own any expensive equipment; all you need is an ordinary telephone line.
Conference call service providers host a conference bridge which is basically a sophisticated server that has the capability to link to multiple telephone lines simultaneously. To start phone conferencing, participants dial into the bridge and key in a pass code given by the service provider. This will connect them to the relevant teleconference.
Conferencing services are extensively used by businesses because it drastically cuts down on the travel expenses involved for face to face meetings between participants located in different parts of the globe. But teleconferencing is not just for businesses, it is also for ordinary individuals who may want to speak to many friends or family members at the same time. The technology is highly sophisticated but the prices are very reasonable; conferencing solutions are available to fit any budget or any nature of communication requirement.
You may use conferencing facilities to make sales presentations, project meetings, regular team updates, training sessions and to communicate with employees who work in different geographical locations.
Call conferencing is seen as the primary means of minimising travel costs, saving time and allowing employees to be more productive by not having to travel often for meetings.
There are mainly three different types of conferencing solutions – audio, video and web conferencing.
Audio conference is just an extended telephone call. On a normal phone call communication happens between two people, whereas a conference call allows more than two people to communicate simultaneously. Service providers also offer add on features such as call recording, audience poll and survey facility. For regular team meetings where participants don’t need to see each other, this is ideal.
A video conference allows people to see each other on a big screen. When it is necessary to watch the facial expressions and body language of participants, video conferencing is the best option.
Web conferencing allows participants to see and hear each other along with sharing documents and files in real time via the Internet.
Depending on your specific needs, you may choose the option that is most appealing to you. Conference calling is the most cost effective way of communication for modern businesses.