Dealing With the Ups and Downs of Conference Calls

1 - Dealing With the Ups and Downs of Conference Calls
2 - Check Under the Hood
3 - If You're On Time, You're Late
4 - Proper Prior Planning
5 - Get a Backup Ready
6 - Know Your Options When Choosing a Service
7 - Roll With the Glitches
8 - Don't Forget to Have a Plan B
9 - Retreat and Fight Another Day
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Dealing With the Ups and Downs of Conference Calls

The conference call plays a central role at firms, but things will go wrong. Here are tips for making sure the conference call goes well, despite of glitches.

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Check Under the Hood

If using a conferencing service, make sure the provider has the tools that are needed: redundancy by using multiple network providers, the ability to link multiple bridges at once and operators who can help with problems that arise.

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If You're On Time, You're Late

If you're the call's host or leader, you should get on early to set up and test the equipment. According to an InterCall study, 10 percent of employees dial into a meeting right as it's starting, and another 55 percent come on one to three minutes early.

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Proper Prior Planning

Take a look to make sure everything is in order. If your computer needs rebooting, do it before the meeting starts. Shut down applications that aren't needed, and use a wired line when possible. They're better for use than wireless connections.

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Get a Backup Ready

If your plan is to share big files with others on the call, send them to another person before the call and promote that person to presenter status when the meeting starts. That way, if there is a technical problem with your computer, someone else has the files to present.

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Know Your Options When Choosing a Service

Free conferencing services offer a low-cost way of connecting with other people, which may be the way to go if cost is a key consideration. However, not all free services have the same enterprise-level capabilities—such as high levels of security, enterprise-class support or the ability to support multiple numbers—that paid services offer.

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Roll With the Glitches

There often will be irritations that crop up on conference calls, such as the beeps that are heard when a person arrives or departs. Try to ignore those. If the problems make running the call difficult, apologize for the issues and try to find a workaround, such as switching from video to audio. Have the contact number of tech support on hand, and if possible, keep talking while the problems are being fixed.

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Don't Forget to Have a Plan B

If problems keep you from being able to connect as originally planned, have another option ready, such as using a landline.

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Retreat and Fight Another Day

If issues force you to abandon the call, make sure you don't abandon the other participants. Follow up with them with apologies and details about what the next steps are, such as whether you will reschedule or switch to an email discussion.

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