How to Make a Conference Call

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With the latest conferencing systems, it's easy to host a group chat that feels like you're all in the same room. There are so many software platforms to choose from, and each one can offer something special for your growing business. In this walkthrough, we've shared how to make a conference call using a dedicated telephone line or UC software.

By the end of this deep dive, you'll be a master at scheduling and initiating conferences on a professional level.
 

Scheduling Conference Calls

Before we explain how to make calls using videoconferencing platforms, it's important to learn the basics of hosting a professional conference. Here are some common-sense tips when scheduling an official business call with other teams:
 
  • Collect all the details that conference participants need to join the call. Some platforms just require calling a number, while others will have a special password for security purposes. If this is your first time using a conferencing platform, we recommend doing a test call at least 24 hours before the actual conference.
 
  • Before setting the conference in stone, you may want to poll participants to find the best possible time for everyone. We recommend sending a preliminary email with a few different dates and times, so that team members can share their schedules and let you know if they can't make it.
 
  • Draft an agenda for the conference, with major topics that you want to cover. You should also consider any concerns that team members will have, and come up with thoughtful answers in advance. This is also a great time to reach out to individual members about their responsibilities, so that everyone's on the same page before the conference.  
 
  • Send a reminder the day before the conference, with any important documents that team members will need for the meeting.
 
  • Make sure that your conferencing environment is quiet, with as little background noise as possible.
 
  • If your conferencing platform allows it, start the conference call at least 10 minutes before the scheduled time. This will ensure that other team members can log in early and chat before everyone arrives.
 

Conference Line vs UC Software

Today's digital conferencing tools are much more flexible than a traditional landline setup. Depending on your needs, these UC ("Unified Communications") software platforms allow for dozens of simultaneous users on a secure feed, using the latest in A/V technology. There's a UC service provider for virtually any business, with various features and service tiers. For example, some providers charge per conference call, while others offer a monthly subscription for unlimited service.

Of course, you'll need a high-speed Internet connection to take advantage of these UC platforms, but most businesses are wired and ready to go. Before deciding on a conferencing service, we suggest making a list of the features that are vital to your business. Do you need a toll-free number for conferences? Will you be viewing and screen-sharing documents during calls? On average, how many conferences will you be hosting a month, and how many people will be calling in?

Knowing your business needs will make it much easier to decide between software like Highfive, Vidyo, Skype for Business, BlueJeans, and Zoom. It's clear that video conferencing is the future of business communication, and these UC platforms are leading the charge. Once you've found your ideal conferencing service, it's time to make some calls.
 

Making a Call with a Conference Line

Before diving into conferencing software, let's look at how to make a call using a mobile device. iOS and Android devices have similar methods for merging calls into a conference, which can be useful for a last-minute gathering. When used in tandem with a Bluetooth speakerphone, you can replicate the pro conferencing experience. If you don’t have a dedicated conference line to call into, there are still ways to have a conference call. Here's how to start a conference using your iPhone:
 
  1. Make a normal call. Then, tap "Hold" and "Add Call" to start a new call.
  2. Once you're on the line with a new person, tap "Merge Calls" to bring the two calls together.
  3. Repeat the first two steps if needed. Currently, you can add up to five callers on the same line.
 

Making a Call with Software

When you're ready to take your conference calls to the next level, it's time to incorporate video into your office rig. For example, the CS-700 sound bar combines an ultra-wide angle camera, beamforming microphone array, and ultra-wideband audio in a slim unit. It works seamlessly with all major UC software platforms, so you don't have to spend hours making tweaks.

Video conferencing can elevate your meetings in so many ways, and with a quality system like the CS-700, you can integrate audio and video in a seamless fashion. Likewise, UC software offers tremendous power and flexibility when hosting conferences. For instance, here's how to launch a basic conference call using Skype for Business:
 
  1. In the main window, find your Contacts list and check to see who is currently online. Hold down Cmd/Ctrl and click on any contacts that you'd like to invite to the conference.
  2. When you've finished selecting guests, right-click on any name and choose "Start a Conference Call" > "Skype Call".
  3. Now, all of your contacts will get a notification about the call, and they can accept or decline the invitation. During the call, you can add more people by dragging their names directly into the conference window. You can also go to the Participants pane, choose "Invite More People", and select people from the list.
Most platforms will also let you incorporate a link in your scheduled invite. In those cases, you would simply go into the calendar invite and launch the meeting by clicking on the link.

Ready to invest in your conference room with some cutting-edge communication tools? Use our Product Finder to discover the best unified communications technology for your needs.

Questions? We’d love to help