Conferencing With Others Online When You’re Out of the Office
One of the biggest revolutions in the modern age is the creation of video chatting programs. Through these tools, people can chat with friends and coworkers face-to-face, even when they’re miles apart. This has led to the advent of teleconferencing, which has allowed businesses to work and communicate with clients from all around the country.
With more people working from home, teleconferencing has become a vital tool for businesses and office workers. If you don’t know how to set up a teleconference, we invite you to read through this guide and learn how.
Tech You Need for Teleconferencing
In order to conduct a teleconference, there are a few things you’ll need. The most important of these are a microphone and a headset that you can use to speak with everyone in the meeting. You can video conference right from your computer, so you just need to hook these two things up.
It isn’t required, but a webcam is helpful to have if you want everyone to be able to see you. From there, make sure your internet connection is up to snuff so you don’t disconnect during the meeting. Depending on the service you end up using, you might be able to connect in with your phone, so keep one handy. This can be helpful if the internet starts getting spotty.
Selecting a Service to Use
Before you can plan a teleconference with your coworkers or a client, you need to figure out which service to use. There’s a wide selection of communication services you can use to connect with others while you’re at home. Here are a few notable examples you should look into; some are free, and others offer free trials before a payment is required:
Zoom: A new, easy-to-use communication service that allows you to send meeting invites to others, even if they don’t have an account. Its built-in collaboration tools make it easy for people to work together, even if they’re miles apart.
GoToMeeting: A handy online service that’s compatible across a wide range of devices, and offers several helpful tools, including screen sharing. A 14-day trial is available, but you will need to be charged to continue using it after. Users can call in by phone.
Join.me: This conferencing tool can be used for voice and video conferences and allows you to invite people through your own personal URL. Screen sharing functionality helps keep everyone in tune with what’s being discussed. The service costs $10 a month after a trial.
UberConference: A free tool for voice calls that allows employees and clients to jump into a conference using their computers or a phone. It supports up to 10 people at a time, but more can be added by applying for the premium service.
Skype: A free video and chat service that anyone can download. It doesn’t offer all the functionality of the other services, but as an immediate solution it gets the job done.
When selecting a service to use, try to pick one that offers multiple methods for joining, just in case someone is having internet issues.
Planning Out a Teleconference
Now that you have all the tools you need to host a teleconference; you need to plan everything out before going live. Like a regular meeting, you need to plan the agenda ahead of time, so you know what needs to be discussed and which topics are most important. This ensures that crucial topics aren’t skipped over, and that lesser ones can be skipped if time is running short.
Next, you need to plan a time and date for the meeting. Reach out to all the participants and try to determine a time that everyone can meet at. Once a date has been finalized, send out a calendar invite so everyone has a reminder of when the meeting will take place.
Keep in touch with all the participants, because nothing can be perfectly set in stone when working with people who are miles apart. If someone says they’re unable to get attend on that date, make sure you notify all the participants so you can work out a new date.
Conducting the Meeting Without Any Hitches
Once the teleconference is under way, there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure that it runs smoothly. If this is your first time participating in a teleconference, work with a friend to test the service so you know how it works. Try to get to the meeting a few minutes early so you can set yourself up before everyone else arrives.
Set yourself up in a place where there’s no noise that could distract yourself and other participants. If you can’t keep background noise out, mute your microphone when you aren’t speaking so you don’t distract the person who is talking. Take as many notes as you can so you don’t have to go back and ask more questions after the meeting concludes.
If you’re speaking with a client, be sure to send a follow-up email to thank the client for their time when the meeting is done. With the notes you’ve taken, craft a review email for all the participants discussing all the information that was covered.
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