Traditionally, conference calls were conducted in quiet rooms on the 20th floor of an office building using landline telephones. In the modern world, though, business communication often requires using mobile devices while walking or driving, exacerbating all of the problems associated with using cellular phones, including poor reception, background noise, and other technical limitations.
Hosting a conference call while stuck on a mobile phone, either because the moderator is traveling or working from outside the office, can be effectively done using the following five real-world practical tips that often go overlooked.
1. Schedule with a calendar invite, not an email.
One of the easiest and most efficient ways to schedule a conference call is to use a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook that will automatically e-mail to participants a meeting invite that includes the conference dial-in access number, PIN number, and any other information a moderator may want to give his or her participants so that everyone is ready with what they need and no last-minute e-mails need to be sent to organize the call.
This is also helpful for all other meeting participants, as the conference call access details will pop up in a calendar reminder on their own smartphones as well.
2. Mute when not speaking.
Everyone who has ever had trouble hearing the person on the other end of the line due to wind noise, traffic, or other background distractions will appreciate how important it is to have a clear, noise-free call. Ask mobile participants to mute when not speaking so that background noise is kept to a minimum. If participants fail to mute their own lines, moderators usually have the option of muting all participants. Each participant can then unmute their own line when it’s their turn to speak.
3. Use a headset.
Conference calls tend to be longer than regular phone calls and it’s not comfortable to hold a mobile phone to your ear for an hour at a time. Use a headset for your convenience.
4. Charge up.
Make sure you have enough battery life because conference calls tend to be long. If you can plug into a charger, that would be even better. There’s nothing more irritating than dropping out of a phone conference because of a dead battery.
5. Download the app.
Many conference call services have mobile apps for Blackberry, iPhone, and Android that make scheduling, accessing and even managing conference calls easier. They are usually included in the cost of the service and available from the device brand’s app store.
Glenn Fleischman is the executive Vice president of e-commerce at Arkadin Global Conferencing and is currently heading Arkadin Express, a provider of instant conferencing solutions for small businesses and professionals on the go.