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Knowing how to successfully set up a conference call saves you time and sets you up for success when communicating with customers and stakeholders. While it might sound like an involved process, it really isn’t once you have the right tools to bring it all together. Below, we get into what you need to get started, as well as the steps you need to take to learn to set up a conference call like it’s second nature.
Why Learning To Set Up Conference Calls is Worth It
Are you working with a team that’s constantly needing to communicate with other team members or stakeholders? When you realize that not everyone can hop on a video call because they’re out of the office, their hours are different from yours, or they’re a remote team member tuning in from halfway across the world, you start to understand the importance of conference calls.
Conference calls allow large groups of people to meet either through video or voice calls. Not everyone is always able to tune in through an online connection. Conference calling facilitates the meeting process regardless of how team members are able to connect.
As far as communication goes, this can be a huge advantage, especially if your team is large and scattered around different locations. Below, we go deeper into everything you need to make conference calling a reality for you.
The Investment Needed to Set Up Conference Calls
What exactly do you need to set up and run conference calls whenever you need? If you want to set up a conference call with ease, you’ll want to use a reliable conference calling solution like RingCentral. While you could try doing it yourself from scratch by cobbling together many different tools, RingCentral is tailor-made specifically for businesses to run conference calls and video meetings.
You’ll need to set aside some time to learn the ins and outs of using RingCentral once you’ve checked it out and chosen a plan that works for your business. From there, you’ll want to make sure you have updated hardware that’s reliable and ready to host your conference.
Once you’ve ensured you have both the hardware and software, in this case, RingCentral and a computer (or phone), you’re ready to start setting up your conference calling system. Once you do it the first time, it gets easier to do from there on out. But you must get down a few essential pointers first.
6 Steps to Set Up Your First Conference Call
Let’s dive right into the step-by-step process of setting up a conference call with RingCentral.
#1 – Sign Up For RingCentral
In our eggspert’s estimation, RingCentral is one of the leaders in the space as far as conference calling features are concerned. Its conference calling tools make it easy to connect with your team no matter where they are in the world or what hardware they have access to.
Let’s take a brief look at the various pricing tiers:
- Essentials – $19.99 per user per month
- Standard – $24.99 per user per month
- Premium – $34.99 per user per month
- Ultimate – $49.99 per user per month
Its most popular Premium plan, at $34.99 per user per month, comes with access to tools like video meetings with up to 200 participants, custom integrations, and automatic call recording. RingCentral also offers rental options for conference phones if you’re interested in those.
Keep in mind that RingCentral isn’t only good for running conference calls. It’s also a great tool to host regular video meetings, manage calls, and even be a robust solution for call center needs. It’s a triple threat of sorts. So it can easily cover multiple business needs.
Once you’ve decided which plan you want and sign up, you’ll be ready to access the dashboard where you can start scheduling your future conferences.
#2 – Gather Your Meeting Information
All signed up? Good. Next, you’ll want to gather your meeting information. Once you’re logged in to your RingCentral dashboard, you’ll want to grab your dial-in number as well as all your participant codes.
What exactly is a dial-in number? It’s simply a specific conference call number that lets more than one person join in on a call at once. This is what makes it possible for more than one person to speak at the same time.
A participant code is what your conference call participants will use to make sure they’re joining the right conference call. The last thing you want is for your conference call participants to join in on the wrong conference call. RingCentral makes this an easy task by assigning a specific dial-in number to your business once you’re signed up.
From there, each employee on your plan gets their own set of both participant and host codes in case they either want to participate in a conference call or host one themselves. Easy, right? Next, you’ll send your call invitations.
#3 – Set Your Conference Details and Send Your Invites
Setting your conference call details is a pretty straightforward task. You’ll select the dates and check off whether the scheduled conference call is a recurring meeting or a one-time thing. You can even set the color you want the meeting to show up on your calendar.
From there, you can also add details like whether you want to send out a conference call reminder ten minutes before it’s to start. Then you can edit the messaging within your email and revise your settings before sending out your conference call invites.
With RingCentral, there are two ways to send your conference call invites. Neither is better than the other. You’ll simply want to use the one that works best for you.
The first option is to simply send out a conference call link to all that will be involved. The second option is to send out your conference call dial-in number and additional information through text message, email, or chat.
RingCentral lets you make conference calls whenever you want, or you can schedule them ahead of time. One awesome conference calling hack is integrating RingCentral with tools like Google Calendar and Outlook.
When you email conference call invites and your participants agree, it gets automatically added to their calendar at a time that’s consistent with their time zone. This helps your conference participants automate the scheduling process, resulting in fewer missed calls.
#4 – Dial It In
It’s conference call day. You’ll want to dial in a few minutes before it’s set to start if you’re the host to make sure you iron out any last-minute kinks.
Here’s where you need to use your host code to enter the conference call. This ensures that you get access to host tools that help you successfully man the call as it goes on.
Using the host code gives you complete power over the call. You can choose what tools you want to use, who you allow into the call, mute specific people, and start and end the call for everyone.
#5 – Start The Meeting Once Everyone Has Joined In
And voila! You’re all ready to start the meeting once you see all participants have joined and are ready to go.
Every participant will be able to join in with their unique access code, whether that’s through calling in or video. Next, we’ll get into how you can set up and run a conference call right from your phone.
#6 – How To Run A Conference Call Through Your Phone
The beauty of conference calling is that you don’t need special equipment or even a desktop computer. You can easily create and host one through your phone. RingCentral makes this easy.
First, you’ll want to download RingCentral’s mobile app. Once you’re logged in, you pretty much go through the same steps you take when setting up your conference call from a desktop computer.
Once you’re ready to share your conference call details, you can send them either through email or SMS. Come call time, users can join you through their own smart devices, computer, or landline.
Some Conference Calling Best Practice Tips and Tricks
This conference calling guide couldn’t be complete if we didn’t include some conference call best practices. If it’s your first time setting up a conference call, you’ll probably want to brush up on some conference calling dos and don’ts.
One of the first things to remember when you’re hosting a conference call is that having an organized approach to the whole situation will bear better results than approaching it in an unstructured manner.
Does every conference call member know each other? If not, it might be worth it to take some time in the beginning for each participant to introduce themselves.
Granted, this might be harder the bigger your conference call gets. But going around and having everyone introduce themselves can be valuable, especially for the callers who are tuning in through voice call only without any visuals that help them add context to the situation.
Next, you’ll want to make any important announcements, set any general rules for the meeting, and let participants know the agenda for the call. You also want to be transparent and let participants know whether this meeting and everything said in it will be recorded and what that recording will be used for.
How will participants know when it’s appropriate to chime in and speak their mind or make any suggestions? These are the kinds of things you want to think about before the meeting occurs, so you know you’re approaching the conference call with clear expectations and rules that’ll make the meeting as fruitful as possible.
From there, as the host, you’re the one responsible for setting the course for the meeting and making sure people aren’t getting off track. Is there a checklist of topics to discuss? Is there an agenda of issues and plans that need to be finalized?
Steering your conference meetings the way you want them to go is the best way to ensure you aren’t wasting anyone’s time. Once you finalize your conference agenda and everyone signs off, it’s good practice to send everyone who attended (and maybe even those who couldn’t make it) a brief summary of the most important points and a copy of the recording (if you plan to share it with them).
As you can see, the technical setup of a conference call is only half the battle. Thankfully, software like RingCentral makes it easy to manage.
The other half of successfully conducting conference calls, especially with large teams, is managing participation and ensuring your meeting stays on track.
You now know the step-by-step process of setting up a meeting with a reliable calling solution like RingCentral. However, RingCentral might not be your best choice. We get it.
That’s why we’ve spent hours comparing some of the best conference calling software out there to bring you an in-depth list of the best options for you, depending on your specific needs. Check out our full list of top picks right here.
Learning to create and manage conference calls can be great. But that’s not all there is to know. Are you looking for project management tools that help you get a handle on all your team’s projects? Read our guide to the best project management tools.
If you want to learn about the VoIP phone service options out there, here’s where you should get started.
And finally, if you’re a service-based business, you’ll want to check out our in-depth guide to the best appointment scheduling software on the market to automate your appointment scheduling efforts and have increase your appointment attendance rate.