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What Is a Teleconference Call?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 01 October 2014
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A teleconference call is a meeting method used in business when all, or some, of the meeting participants are in different physical locations. Each participant in a teleconference call will likely be asked to dial in to a central location, either on a pre-set, toll-free conference phone number, or just to a number within the business. This type of teleconference meeting is becoming more and more common now that telecommuting is a popular practice, as well as among businesses with various nationwide or international locations.

There is a lot of flexibility associated with a teleconference call. For instance, each participant in the call my remain at his or her own desk without needing to spend the day in a conference room. In addition, the call can be planned based around everyone's schedule, though this may be slightly more complicated if meeting participants live in different time zones.

Generally, a conference call like this takes place over the phone, without any face-to-face time, but some businesses may have webcams or meeting software installed on their employees' computers. This may allow some face-to-face communication, or at least allow everyone to view the same screen on the computer. In general, a teleconference meeting will simply begin when everyone has called in. There will generally be a leader of the call who arrives before everyone else, and who may assist in making introductions as others arrive.

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The leader will then generally manage the teleconference call, bringing up individual talking points and issues that need to be discussed. He or she should also encourage everyone to talk, and ask questions if anyone seems silent or appears to be distracted from the call; i.e., checking email. If the teleconference call lasts more than an hour or two, it is the leader who should state that there will be a brief break from the call for people to visit the restroom or get a beverage.

Though some consider a teleconference call to be less effective and accomplish less than a traditional meeting, there is no doubt that it is less expensive and more convenient for businesses. If the teleconference calls are kept relatively small, and everyone is able to be engaged and interested in the call, they can accomplish quite a lot. It might be helpful to have a planned structure, with different speakers and presenters throughout the call to avoid boredom, as well as to have everyone announce their name before they begin speaking to prevent confusion, which can cause people to lose interest.

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LisaLou
Post 6

I have been the leader of a lot of teleconference calls. While I recognize the benefit of them, sometimes I wonder if they accomplish as much as I hope they do.

It usually depends on the level of interaction I get from the participants. If I feel like the callers are using this time to engage in other activities, and not fully participating in the call, this is very frustrating.

It is my responsibility to make sure the call is effective and insightful. I have also had my share of technical problems when conducting some conference calls.

This is always frustrating for everyone involved, but is something that can easily happen with technology.

Even though there have been a lot of aggravating situations, most of the time, the advantages out weight the disadvantages. I see companies continue to use this type of communication for a long time to come.

SarahSon
Post 5

We are living in such a mobile society, that call conferencing is very common. I work from home most of the time, but once a week I have a teleconference call with people in the office.

This call also includes others who are telecommuting. This is much more convenient than driving in to the office just for a meeting.

Even if you are on the road and not at home, it is easy to call in and be on the conference call.

It is becoming easier and easier to conduct business from just about anywhere, and teleconference calls can play a big part in this.

John57
Post 4

@turkay1 - There are some free conference calling services available, as well as paid ones. The free service that I am familiar with does not provide you with a toll free number.

This means for most people who dial in, they may be calling a long distance phone number to attend the teleconference call. In order to have a free teleconference call, you would need to have a toll free number for all participants to use.

Most of these services are fairly simple to set up and have clear instructions. They are very helpful when it comes to connecting with people from all different parts of the country or world.

candyquilt
Post 3

It hasn't been that long since teleconference calls first came out but it seems to be widely used now. I think it really has many advantages, or it wouldn't have been so successful.

I've been a part of several teleconference calls as well, mainly as part of phone interviews for jobs. There was one job that I applied for which had offices in California. The interview had several stages and in the first two stages, I was interviewed through a teleconference call.

I've always been the person who is called to be a part of a telephone conference but I've never had to set up one myself. Is it hard?

I think there are teleconference call services that you can pay a monthly fee to if you want to have the service available all the time. Are these expensive? Is it possible to have it set up for free?

burcinc
Post 2

I actually took a course through a telephone conference call a couple of years ago. There was a course at a distant University that I really wanted to take. But it was too far away and I didn't have a car to drive back and forth. The University gave me the option of attending through a teleconference call.

Every week during class time, I called in to the phone number that they provided me which connected me to a teleconference machine in the classroom. I would listen to the lecture through my phone. The teacher would check on me and several other people who were also attending the course this way once in a while during the hour. I also had the chance to ask questions to the lecturer at the end of the session.

This was the most interesting but also the most practical course I ever took. The course didn't have any exams or anything like that though and it only lasted for five weeks. It might have been more difficult if it had more requirements than this. But I was really happy with this setup overall.

turquoise
Post 1

In our office, we have a weekly meeting where we discuss all of the important issues for that week. We have one person who joins our meeting through an online video conference call since he is currently working from a distance. We don't need to have him here in person because he does work for our website which he can easily do remotely and he is also doing a PhD for which he is doing research in Europe.

This would have never been possible a decade ago, but thanks to technology, communication is so much easier. It's also really nice to have a camera attached to the call because we can see him and he can see us and we all hear each other. So it is very much like face-to-face interaction. We just look at the computer screen instead.

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