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Google Voice is a cost-effective way for growing businesses to host conference calls. However, what’s the importance of conference calls these days? And how can you improve your conference calls? We dive deeper into this and everything you need to know below.
Why Google Voice Conference Calls Are So Important
Conference calling is just a fancy term for group calls where everyone can tune in through a regular phone or an internet connection. Once on the call, anyone can chime in whenever they want while everyone else listens in on the call.
Now, it’s pretty self-evident why being able to do this can be such a valuable asset for businesses. It makes it easier for teams to communicate even when team members aren’t in the same physical location.
Conference calls through Google Voice have been a saving grace for our team in the past whenever it’s time to run our periodic meetings with remote team members. Google Voice makes the process that much easier as it’s a tool everyone already has access to.
All we need is to ensure that everyone has an internet connection and a device to connect through, whether that’s a laptop, smartphone, or desktop computer. From there, it’s a matter of broadcasting a call time and date. We get more into all of this and more below.
Quick Tips to Improve Google Voice Conference Calls Today
Google Voice makes it super easy to stay connected without having to spend tons on fancy software. Though Google Voice isn’t primarily conference calling software, here’s what you can do to make the process easier.
Make Sure Everyone Has A Google Voice Account
The last thing you want is to set up a conference call where nobody’s ready to join in when the time arrives. If you’ve decided that Google Voice will be your conference call tool, you’ll want to make sure you and your team members are all signed up and ready to go beforehand.
Why? Because it takes a few steps to get everything set up (even if you already have a Gmail account).
Here’s how to open a Personal Google Voice account:
- Visit voice.google.com
- On the homepage, choose For personal use.
- If you choose Personal, you’ll see a few choices once you click on it. You can select Voice for Android, iOS, or Web.
- Hit Continue, then look for an available number by city or area and select your preferred number from the drop-down menu options.
- Click Verify. Then you’ll be prompted to enter your existing phone number. This way, all calls made through your new Google Voice number will be routed to your current number.
- Finish the verification process by entering the code sent to your phone number.
- Click Finish, and you’re all set!
Here’s how to open a Business Google Voice account:
- Visit voice.google.com
- On the homepage, choose For business.
- Once you click on it, you’ll be prompted to sign up with your Google/Gmail email address.
- Select the appropriate pricing tier for your business. Take note that the most affordable pricing tier at $10 per month has a 10 user limit.
In short, taking the time to set up your corresponding Google Voice account will help you (and your team) be more prepared come conference call time.
It also helps to test out your tools beforehand to make sure everything is connected correctly. Make a test call to a coworker and verify your microphone works, you know where the mute button is located, how to start and end a call, and that there isn’t any odd echoing or interference.
Make Sure Everyone’s On The Same Page
One of the easiest ways to ensure your conference calls go smoothly is to make sure everyone has the necessary information to join in when it’s time.
The beauty of it is that you don’t have to be fancy about it. You can simply send a broadcast email or even a text letting everyone that’s supposed to attend your call know that you’ll be hosting a conference call through Google Voice. However, make sure you include the Google Voice number they’re supposed to call as well as the date and time.
To do this, you’ll first need a Google Voice account. Whether you sign up for a Google Voice business account or personal account is up to you. There are pros and cons to each, and your decision will largely depend on how big your team is.
A smaller team could probably get away with a personal Google account. However, a bigger team might need to sign up for a business account to get access to additional tools.
Once you’ve signed up for Google Voice, it’s a matter of:
- Starting your voice call with the first person that calls
- Waiting until you get an incoming call notification and then accepting it by pressing 5
- Repeating step two until everyone’s joined in on the call
Incorporate Conference Call Guidelines
Conferencing calling best practices, though the term can sound uptight and stuffy, are actually pretty helpful in making sure your conference calls run smoothly. These can be general guidelines like:
- Require everyone to take turns introducing themselves at the beginning (especially if it is a large group or with new people).
- Use the mute button (if possible) when someone else is talking to avoid interruptions, extra noise, and distractions.
- Let everyone know whether the conference call will be recorded at the very beginning of the meeting.
- Let everyone know what the agenda for the conference call is and if there are any general rules to abide by as you interact.
- Be clear about who the conference call host is to avoid confusion.
- Send a post-conference call summary (if it makes sense) to both attendants and those who weren’t able to make it to reiterate takeaways. You can also include the call recording and any slides or reference materials in this follow-up email.
Conference calls seem like a pretty straightforward thing to do. But as your calls get bigger with more team members tuning in, you’ll want to approach conference calls with a more methodical approach.
Try some of the above conference calling tips and see how much smoother your conference calls go.
Record Your Calls
With Google Voice, you can easily record your calls for future reference. This can come in handy when you conduct a call with valuable information or feedback that you’ll need to refer back to.
To record your Google Voice calls:
- Log into your Google Voice account.
- Click the gear icon to open settings.
- Then, click Calls.
- Turn on the incoming calls option.
- Once you’re on a call and everyone’s joined in, press the number 4 to start recording. Everyone on the call will receive an announcement letting them know you’ve started recording.
- When you want to stop recording, press the number 4 again.
You’ll find your call recording in your Voicemail tab for future reference.
Prepare Your Questions and Set A Time Limit
You can easily avoid fumbling through your conference call if you take the time to prepare some questions before it starts. The general trend here, whether you’re running a phone conference, video conference, or mixture of both, is that you take ample time to prepare before the actual call happens.
This helps make sure you aren’t wasting time, that you’re getting to the point promptly, and that you’re having fruitful conversations.
Setting a time limit beforehand can also help. Knowing there’s a time constraint can help you streamline the meeting process. A conference call without a clear end time leads to a less focused meeting that takes more time than it needs to.
Since not everyone runs on the same schedule, setting a predetermined time to wrap things up will help you keep conference calls concise without having them become a burdensome task on your team member’s to-do list.
Long-Term Strategies for Better Google Voice Conference Calls
These tips will work for you regardless of whether you’re using Google Voice as your conference calling tool of choice or not.
Try Google Duo For Video Conferencing
Do you know about Google Duo? It’s a part of the Google Workspace family and can be a useful alternative for conferencing. With it, you can quickly start video conferencing calls with up to 32 people for free. The video quality is top-notch, and you can use tablets, iPhones, Android phones, computers, and smart displays to run your video calls. On smartphones, users can download the Google Duo app or go through a browser.
Duo also uses end-to-end encryption so that your video calls stay private and are only viewable to the people joining the call. Once logged in, you can easily leave video and voice messages as well as written notes.
To try Duo, you’ll have to sign in with one of your Google accounts. Best of all, it’s free to use, and it comes with a 25-hour call time limit. Chances are, your conference calls aren’t going to run that long, which makes Google Duo a viable video conferencing option for just about any small team.
Google Hangouts As Yet Another Video Call Option
Instead of running a voice call, it might be easier for your team to run a conference call through Google Hangouts. It easily integrates with Google Voice and is part of the Google Workspace suite of tools.
To start, it’s as easy as:
- Go to hangouts.google.com or opening the app from your existing Gmail account.
- From there, click on New conversation and then Add group.
- Click Video Call.
- Then click Send so the team members you added to the group get a link to join the call.
- Wait for everyone to connect to start your video conference.
Video conferencing can be a great way to host a call where everyone can see everyone else’s body language while catching inferences and voice inflections. As you’re probably aware, this helps the communication process go smoother than just hosting a call where all you hear are voices.
However, there are conference calling tools that help you run world-class conference calls that go beyond the basics. It’s what we dive into next.
Take Conference Calling Beyond Google Voice
If you’ve made it this far, you already know Google Voice is a great option for smaller conference calls because of how cost-effective and accessible it is. However, you might hit a point where you outgrow the limited tools Google Voice offers for conference calling.
The bigger and more frequent your conference calls, the more likely you’ll need access to more specific tools built specifically for a smoother conference call experience.
Thankfully, we’ve done most of the legwork for you in that department. If you’re using Google Voice but are looking for other reliable alternatives at different price points, here’s a quick recap of our guide to the best conference calling services:
- RingCentral – Best conference call service for most
- GoToMeeting – Best for keeping your remote team cohesive
- Grasshopper – Best mobile virtual phone system
- ClickMeeting – Best for webinars and conference calls
- Zoom – Best for hosting video conference calls
- Vast Conference – Best for instant conference calls
- FreeConferenceCall.com – Best free conference call service
If you’ve made it this far, you’re armed with the knowledge to conduct a conference call with Google Voice and make it work for you and your team. For small businesses looking for a cost-effective way to run group calls, it’s one of the best options out there.
However, it takes more than getting one piece of the puzzle right to make it all an operational success in business. To help, we’ve also written guides on ways to create your own project management system, so your team is better equipped to tackle and deliver their projects.
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