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If you’re looking for some help in mastering the art of conference calls on an iPhone, then you’ve come to the right place. This guide covers everything you need to know about the modern-day conference call that comes with more convenience than ever. Follow along for quick tips and long-term strategies that will help you get the hang of this type of conference call.
Why Conference Calls on iPhone Are So Important
Over the last year, the idea of what work looks like has changed. Now, going into the office Monday through Friday is no longer a necessity. Some people work from home a couple of days a week while others are now working remotely full-time.
This means your work setup has changed. You likely have rearranged your home to create space for a desk and a chair to make your own “office” at home. You may not have all the bells and whistles you had at the office, but you get to work from the comfort of your own home.
Another thing that looks very different when working from home is conference calls. Your team no longer gathers around a conference table in the office to take these types of calls.
Instead, you may find yourself taking conference calls from your office at home via your iPhone.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? The same level of efficiency and ability with your calls but without the need to go into the office.
You may also find that learning how to conduct conference calls via your iPhone comes in handy when you are traveling. Again, you can’t be at a conference table in your office with others to be on the call. Rather, you are somewhere else with just your iPhone in hand.
But trust us–your iPhone is all you need to make a conference call that is just as good as the ones you used to take from your office.
One excellent example is AlphaStaff. The company quickly outgrew its office in Boca Raton, Florida, and found itself needing to figure out how to make more of its employees able to work remotely. One of the key areas of this switch to remote work was ensuring that there was business continuity in case of hurricanes, which are quite common in the area. As a company that deals with payroll for its nearly 40,000 customers, they could not risk having a system shutdown.
Thus, they implemented a Voice over IP system (VoIP) that allowed employees to choose the device to work from, such as a home phone or a cell phone, and then utilized that phone number as a regular office extension.
This choice allowed AlphaStaff employees to chat with customers and colleagues via conference call using their iPhone.
As a result of this VoIP addition to the company, AlphaStaff saw great benefits. For one, the company saved a great deal of money. Second, it also gained the security of disaster recovery in case of an emergency.
Quick Tips to Improve Conference Calls on iPhone Today
Now that you know conference calling from your iPhone is possible, here are some tips and tricks to make your conference calls on your smartphone a success without any hiccups (or with as few as possible).
Here are some of our tips for improving your conference calls on an iPhone.
Get a Conference Call Service
Though you can make conference calls on your iPhone without any additional apps or services, you run the risk of the call dropping or other issues. You are also limited to just a few people in your call when using your iPhone’s built-in capabilities.
However, if your team is primarily remote or your conference calls involve more than a few people, you’ll want a full-scale conference call service. Services like this come with advanced features such as call recording, video conferencing, internal communication, and more.
There are loads of different conference call services on the market, but the one we recommend the most is RingCentral. This service works well for most companies, and we are willing to bet that it will work for you.
With this software, you get access to messaging, video, and phone services and its wide range of features. However, if you’re only interested in conference calls, you can get just that with RingCentral.
Another reason we love this service is that they offer a no-risk free plan that works for up to 100 participants. This is more than just a free trial period–it is a pass to try RingCentral for as long as you’d like before deciding which paid plan works best for you.
There are three different premium plans with RingCentral:
- For messages, video, and phone
- Business phone or toll-free numbers
- Unlimited calls within the U.S. and Canada
- Visual voicemail and voicemail-to-email
- Team messaging
- Video meetings with up to 100 participants
- Up to 24-hour meeting duration
- Unlimited audio conferencing
- 24/7 support
- $20 per user per month
- For messages, video, and phone
- Everything in the Core plans, plus:
- Unlimited internet fax
- Automatic call recording
- Hot desking
- Advanced call handling, including whisper, barge, and more
- Popular integrations including Google, Slack, Office 365, and more
- Popular CRM integrations with Salesforce, Zendesk, and more
- Industry-specific integrations with VMWare, Canvas, Smarsh, and more
- $25 per user per month
- For messages, video, phone, and open API
- Everything in the Advanced plan, plus:
- End-to-end encryption for video and messaging
- Unlimited storage for files, messaging, and recordings
- Video meetings with up to 200 participants
- Real-time analytics
- $35 per user per month
If you are looking to host calls with less than 100 participants, you can do that easily with RingCentral, for free. If you need more business communication tools, take advantage of the different plans that provide all sorts of extra features that can improve communication across your business.
Even if you have a conference call with just three people, there can be a lot of background noise. And with each person added, the opportunity for background noise to disrupt the call gets proportionally higher.
There is even more truth to this when taking your conference call from home. Our homes-turned-offices may be great, but they aren’t always as soundproof as we want them to be, especially if you have roommates, kids, dogs, or any other thing around you that makes noise you can’t always control.
Enter: the mute button. Muting yourself allows you to cancel the sound on your end while still hearing what other people say.
All you have to do is push the mute button when you’re ready to listen. Just don’t forget to un-mute yourself when it’s time to contribute to the call.
Did you know that you can speak privately to someone in the conference call without everyone else hearing it?
That is possible when using an iPhone during your conference call. To enjoy this private conversation, simply tap the “i” icon and tap Private next to the person you want to have a separate, private conversation with.
The call will take you to another place where the two of you can speak privately and when you’re finished, tap Merge Calls to go back to the conference call with the others.
Disconnect a Caller
Though we hope this doesn’t happen to you, there may be a conference call at some point in your career where you need to eject someone from the conversation. This could be for several different reasons but know that you have the power to do so if necessary.
You may also need to disconnect a caller simply because the part of the conversation that pertains to them is over, but the rest of the team needs to continue chatting about other things.
Whichever one of the above situations you find yourself in, disconnecting an individual caller from your conference call is easy.
Next to each number and name on your iPhone call, there is a button that says End. By pushing that button, the person is booted from the call immediately.
You may find that an important call comes in while you are on your conference call, which necessitates answering. You don’t have to completely exit the conference call to take this incoming call on your iPhone.
When the call comes in, you will see an option pop up on your iPhone call menu that says Swap Calls. This essentially puts the conference call on hold while you speak to whoever is calling in.
When you’re ready to return to the conference call, hit the Swap Calls button again, and you’ll find yourself back with everyone else.
Long-Term Strategies for Conference Calls on iPhone
While most of using your iPhone for conference calls can be done quickly and easily by following the above tips, there are also some long-term strategies you may want to consider.
These strategies may help you make better time and use your conference calls, which will make them more effective for you and your team.
Create a Calendar Event
Did you know that it may be possible for you to integrate your calendar on your iPhone with your conference call service? When you opt for RingCentral, this is an option. You can sync the RingCentral app with your mobile device’s calendar, which automatically updates events in the calendar list.
With one click, you can join a RingCentral meeting from your iPhone calendar.
You simply enable calendars for the email account you use for work and then log in to your RingCentral Mobile App. Tap the three-dot icon for more options, then tap Join Now, and it shows you all the meetings for the day.
Just click on a meeting from the Join Now screen to get in.
Prepare Ahead of Time
You never want to be that person that organizes a conference call that could have been an email. To ensure that you don’t waste peoples’ time and make sure that this conference call is truly necessary, you need to prepare for it.
This means creating an agenda of all the things you want to be covered and all the topics you want to discuss. Include in this agenda ways to keep the participants engaged throughout the conversation, especially if it is a long one.
Listening to people talk for an hour can get pretty boring, so find ways to keep people awake.
In addition to creating the agenda, you want to prepare material ahead of time that helps you with the call. Efficiency is key with conference calls, so keep that in mind.
Expand Calls to More Than Just Voice
You may find that voice conference calls aren’t always enough for your team and that video may be better.
With a conference call service like RingCentral, you can take advantage of video options that make your conference calls feel more personal and more interactive. This can be especially important when you have remote teams that still want to feel a sense of company culture.
It’s good to see a friendly face when working from home alone all day, and video conference calls are a great way to do this.
You may have a lot on the plan you want to cover and share with others on your conference call, but it is important to remember that this call is for everyone. So, let everyone participate.
Engage others by asking questions. The more you talk, the more likely the participants are to tune out, and then the call becomes a waste of everyone’s time.
Instead, find ways to keep people engaged, such as questions or polls, asking specific people for feedback on ideas, or asking other participants to be part of the presentation.
Once you hang up the phone, it does not end there. Though the call is over, you still have some work you need to do.
One of the most important things to do is to summarize the main points from the call and any action items for each person. This is key to do right before everyone leaves the call and as a follow-up email post-call.
You should do this in the form of an email after the call ends. A lot is said in a meeting such as this, and by sending an email with the key points and actionable items, you know that everyone has a clear understanding of what needs to be done and what you hope to achieve as a result of the call.
To learn more about what you can gain from RingCentral’s video services, check out our review of the video software here.
And to see all of our top picks for conference call services, check out this article.