Business teleconferencing features
Conducting a meeting over the phone creates specific difficulties, primarily because participants are not face to face. Most reputable teleconferencing services offer a set of features to address some of the problems of business conferencing.
Web conferencing is the newest, and probably most widely adopted, conferencing feature available through many conferencing providers. Web conferencing allows you to deliver presentations online, adding a visual element to complement the conference call. This can involve showing a simple set of Microsoft PowerPoint slides, navigating through a web site, or demonstrating how a software program works.
From a presenter's perspective, one of the tool's primary advantages is that you can control what your meeting participants see and when they see it. Read our Web Conferencing Buyer's Guide or request a quote for web conferencing services.
In a meeting room, it is relatively easy to control the tempo and flow of conversation. However, control is more difficult to establish in a teleconference. These features give conference organizers the flexibility to manage a teleconference in much the same way they would face to face.
Call monitoring ensures that an operator is available at all times for the conference. This allows participants to be added in the middle of the discussion, or for other features to be accessed.
Faxing allows a chairperson to distribute materials as they become relevant in a meeting. The service maintains a group of relevant documents, which are then faxed to participants on cue.
Roll call lets everyone know who is connected into the conference. An operator conducts roll call, asking each participant for his or her name.
Subconferencing allows designated participants to communicate privately within the call. Subconference attendees can later return to the main conference. In most cases, many subconferences can be established within any one call.
Additional features include translation services, call recording and call transcription. These services typically carry additional per-call costs.
Many business conferencing services can handle conferences of more than 3,000 people. However, the demands of large conferences require additional features to allow for orderly discussion. In many cases, these features are used for large meetings where only a few designated people are expected to speak.
Broadcasting mutes the majority of the participants and only allows certain participants to speak to the rest. This relieves conferences of the inevitable background buzz coming from many participants.
Question and answer creates an orderly exchange of information by allowing participants to signal via phone when they have questions. The operator then calls on specific participants for their input.
Polling allows participants to vote on particular issues. By pushing a touch-tone button, participants can accept or reject proposals in the conference. The operator tallies votes in real time for the chairperson and can provide a printed summary if required.