How to set up a basic conference call

As more and more employees are offered the chance to work from home – the latest figures from the Conferderation of British Industry (CBI) show 96% of employers now offer at least one form of flexible working – so there is a growing demand for conference calling as a way to keep work colleagues in touch with one another.

And there are now numerous ways to make conference calls, from video conferencing facilities offered by the likes of Skype and Google Hangouts, to mobile conference calling using things like Apple’s ‘Facetime’ facility – but here we’ll be concentrating on how to make a conference call from a good, old-fashioned landline.

So here is a step-by-step guide on how to set up a basic conference call.

Get together all of your conference call details

The first thing you’ll need to do is pull together all of the details of the conference call, including the number of participants, each of their email addresses, each of their mobile numbers, as well as the date and time of the conference call, the subject and the complete agenda.

Find a suitable conference call provider

A quick online search reveals there is a myriad of conference call providers out there, so how do you go about finding the best one to meet your needs?

The first thing to do is work out how many people will be involved in the call, then find a provider who can handle the necessary amount of conference callers. Another thing to consider early on is whether you will need a provider that can offer international conference call facilities.

When comparing conference call providers, you will come across some that offer the facility to pay per conference call, while others will require you pay a flat rate service whereby you can make unlimited conference calls for a fixed monthly cost – so you need to work out how often you’ll be conference calling.

Some providers will also require that you register with them, and maybe even buy some specific hardware, while others won’t require any form of sign-up and will allow you to just use your existing landline – so you need to decide what sort of service works best for you.

For the purposes of making a basic conference call, we’ll assume you are just using your standard landline. So what next?

Invite participants to the conference call

After choosing your provider, you’ll most likely be given a dial-in number and a PIN code that each participant must use to take part in the conference.

Once you have these, you need contact each participant and give them the details – the best way to do this is to send them all an email containing the date, time and subject of the call, the dial-in number and PIN code, and possibly the agenda or anything the participants will need to read before the call.

Some providers will offer an email template you can send to each participant, and you may also be offered a free reminder service that will send each member of the call a text message reminder around 15 minutes before the call.

Making the conference call

When everyone knows when, how and why they’re making the conference call, they then need to dial the number at the agreed time and enter the PIN to join the conference.

The only thing to consider then, is whether everyone knows how to handle a conference call, for more on that follow these three top tips for conference call etiquette.

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