How to Promote Good Leadership with Teleconferencing

Using direct communication to build trust and loyalty

When Martin Luther King had a dream and he wanted to inspire everyone to share it, he didn’t just fire off a few emails. He got in front of as many people as he could, and he shared that dream directly.

But sometimes, getting the leaders and the people together in one room isn’t so easy, and this is where conference calls and group online meetings can help foster great communication. In a Forbes online post on communication secrets of great leaders, contributor Mike Myatt identified the key communication techniques leaders use to inspire people. Every single one of them, from creating trust to active listening, is something that conference calls are perfect for. Group calling really excels at helping leaders reach out to every single person in an organization, and break down the barriers between the corner office and the shop floor. Too often, company leaders only move in the same limited pathways of upper management.

Unfortunately, vital information can have trouble filtering up to leadership, and inspiration can have trouble filtering down.

A group online meeting really knits an organization together like nothing else.

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Teleconferencing Services make hiring easier and more efficient

Teleconferencing Services help with pre-hiring interviews. You could find “Mr or Ms Right”

Finding a good employee can be almost as difficult as finding the right spouse, and the consequences of a bad choice are almost as drastic.

The more information you can gather first the better, but time for hiring processes is short in most organizations. Conference calls make hiring easier and better by saving money and staff time, so you can cast a wider net and do better “due diligence” on prospective employees.

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4 Tips for Effective FreeConference Calls

The most effective conference calls

are just like a good party.

Who knew?

We all know that when a team wants to collaborate, surfing a FreeConference call is way better than riding a dusty email trail, because sharing a moment in time is the best way to maintain a human connection, and it’s human connections that drive business forward.

There’s no better place to connect than a party, and that is exactly how you should approach setting up an effective FreeConference call.

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Grow Your Business with Free Teleconferencing

Conference Calls Cut Travel Costs

Why are people trying to cut their travel costs the hard way?

A conference call can be set up for free, and a whole year’s worth of deluxe teleconferencing features like desktop sharing and courtesy international long distance will cost you less than one business trip.

Cutting travel costs isn’t the only advantage of teleconferencing. Grow your business with conference calls by keeping customer relationships warm, and snapping up opportunities that you couldn’t afford to fly to.

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6 Tips for a Successful Free Conference Call

Holding a successful and productive free conference call, like many other things, is a matter of preparation, common sense and a little creativity thrown in for good measure.

  1. Even if you’ve done it a hundred times before, be the first person to arrive for your conference. You’ll be better organized to start the meeting and you can personally welcome everyone.
  2. Remind everyone put their phones on mute during the call, and to not put their phones on hold during the free conference call. On-hold music or beeping from their phone might be picked up by the conference.
  3. Ask everyone on the call to preface any comment or question with their name so everyone know who’s talking.
  4. For scheduled meetings, distribute the dial-in information ahead of time along with any background material necessary to the call.
  5. Work from a quiet place. As much as I love them, my budgies get moved from my home office before a conference. Along the same lines, turn off radios, mute other phones and close your office door to eliminate background noise.
  6. Recording your conference call is an excellent idea, even when someone is taking notes. When you are recording a call, let everyone know about it.

Using Free Conference Calls to Benefit from the Rise of Two-Way Business Communications

On their homepage, leading Customer Relationship Management (CRM) providers Salesforce claim that on average, when their clients use the Cloud to maintain interactive client relationships with their customers, they experience a:

+27% increase in sales revenues +32% increase in lead conversion

+56% faster deployment, +34% increase in customer satisfaction.

See https://www.salesforce.com/crm/comparison/ to learn more about Salesforce CRM.

Customer satisfaction is what drives success in modern business, and you can use free conference calls to increase customer satisfaction through direct two-way business communication and gathering customer feedback. Direct communication is everything now, but it wasn’t always this way. To better understand why interactive client relationships are so important, let’s take a quick look at how the Internet revolutionized customer relationships.

Interactive customer relationships come of age

In the 1950 post-war consumer boom, “customers were to be billed and not heard”, and marketing was based on the four Ps: Product, Price, Place and Promotion.

Back in the day, the Product was Coke. The Price was “affordable”. The Place was “in every corner store”. Promotion meant; “print Coke on every bottle, cooler, truck side and billboard in North America”. Note the frisky addition of the words “ice cold”, and the rather bossy imperative “DRINK” above the product name. Yes sir!

Marketing was one-way traffic, and the only customer feedback loop was sales. For Coke, their “Customer Relationship Management Technology” was the Coke cooler. Here’s how it worked:

  • Store: “The cooler’s gettin’ empty, Hank, can you order some more Coke?”
  • Factory: “Orders are up a little this month, let’s make a few extra truckloads.”

It all looks so primitive now, as integrated product families launch globally on corporate Facebook pages with videos from breaking indie musicians.

How did we get here from there?

The change began in the 1980’s, with the rise of service-based businesses, which rely on strong customer relationships. “Relationship Marketing” began to focus on:

  • understanding customer segments
  • delivering ongoing quality service
  • nurturing brand loyalty through maintaining customer satisfaction

It all started with listening.

Listening led to problem solving, which led businesses and customers into a two-way business communication street. Fledgling 80’s marketing technology featured “snail mail” sent by groups of fans writing to television networks to beg for their favorite show not to be cancelled, and companies inviting “focus groups” to give them customer feedback on products.

Relationship marketing finally came of age with the advent of the computer and the Internet, exploding into a limitless, directionless, instantaneous information highway. Interactive client relationships evolved another step with the smart phone, which allows customers to post reviews of restaurants before dessert even arrives.

Businesses need to maintain positive two-way business communication
with their clients more and more each passing day.

Free Conference calls pre-date Coke coolers, but they are still one of the best ways to build customer satisfaction. Let’s look at modern CRM, and see how teleconferencing still has something over it’s modern internet marketing strategies: the truly personal touch.

Successful modern customer relationship management (CRM)

Amazon.com built their success through digital interactive client relationships.

Here’s how they work:

  • You don’t just buy something from Amazon; you sign up, become a member, and Log In to “Your Amazon”. Welcome home, honey!
  • You build a customer profile, update your preferences, and set your settings. You are the boss. Amazon is listening to you!
  • You write product reviews. You are an expert, and your opinion is valued. Customer feedback is automatic.
  • Meanwhile, your every move is logged and tracked. To facilitate internal knowledge sharing, Amazon has very few internal information silos. Every Amazon employee you deal with knows your entire history; they “know” you. In industry talk, this is called “One Face”.
  • Amazon’s CRM software becomes your personal butler, suggesting purchases based on your history, because they “know you”, and keeping track of your every whim and desire, with a shopping cart, and a wish list.

Notice how much of this you are doing. Notice also how they try and make it feel as personal as possible, even if you never actually speak to a human being. The whole system is wonderfully automated, because it is cheaper for huge companies to manage their interactive customer relationships with software than with people. But not all of us have millions of customers.

While any business can benefit from using automated CRM software,
unless you are as big as Amazon,
you should add direct personal communication to
build the your interactive client relationships.

People durning sundown

Why free conference calls are such good two-way business communication

The absolute best way to get a sense of your customer’s needs and feelings regarding your product or service is direct personal communication. But some days, we can’t all get to the beach and meet…

The reason free conference calls are so effective:

  1. Free Conference calls are so much easier to set up than physical meetings; we actually get around to having them.
  2. Free Conference calls cut through all the email clutter and get attended.
  3. Once a free conference call starts, people turn off their notifications and distractions and focus on the task at hand.
  4. The clear audio signal of a free conference call gives you the tiny human clues you need to truly listen to your customers. TIP: avoid “Skype echo” and use your own phone, it sounds best.
  5. The interactive nature of free conference calls means you are collaborating with your customers. Customer feedback loop is instantaneous, and can be instantly upgraded to customer solutions.

If you can’t get to the beach, pick up the phone!

Customer satisfaction is what drives any business. The key to customer satisfaction is good two-way business communication.
Free Conference calls are an excellent tool to build interactive client relationships.


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How to Successfully Host A Large or Event-Sized Conference Call

More often than not, large conference calls are important. There are plenty of people tuning in and plenty can go wrong. There are many stressors that come with managing conference calls and events, but technical difficulties shouldn’t be among them. Here at FreeConference we have the skills and know- how to help you pull off the perfect, important call flawlessly with the best video conferencing software. But if you’re still feeling nervous, check out our top 5 tips for successfully planning a large conference call.

Make Sure Everyone is on the Same Page:

Send out invites to everyone you expect to be on the call. Don’t forget to send along an agenda for the meeting, particularly if there are multiple speakers, so that everyone knows and understands the order of business. If you have set the date of the meeting well in advance, follow up with a reminder a day or two before the call. FreeConference offers a simple and effective way to send invites and reminders with a few clicks of a button.

Make a Plan:

Beyond figuring out the proceedings for your upcoming conference call, you should let your service provider know the number of people you expect to join you on the call. Services, like FreeConference, are equipped with a dedicated staff that will do whatever it takes to ensure the best possible connection for all your participants. Depending on the number of people you would like on the call, it’s best to connect with support staff in the days leading up to the event, so you can work with them to smooth out any foreseeable kinks.

Call in Reinforcements:

Managing conference calls and events is a tough job, so; don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re the primary presenter as well as the host for a large audience conference call, enlist the help of a facilitator. That way you have an extra set of hands to assist with any technical issues your attendees may experience while you’re mid-spiel. A facilitator can also monitor the moderator controls and make note of any participants who may have a pressing question via the Hand-Raise feature.

Play it Back:

If you are hosting a lengthy presentation or a meeting that covers rather dense subject matter, consider spending a little extra money to make MP3 recordings of the meeting available to your audience. It’s also a great way to keep track of any verbal agreements or plans for follow- up meetings, so you’ll always look like you’re on top of things.

Pop a Question:

Large conference calls tend to run on the long side. Never forget where your attendees are. There are plenty distractions available to them depending on the location they are calling from. Keep things moving and hold your attendees’ attention by posing specific questions throughout the meeting, best achieved by selecting Q&A Mode available through FreeConference’s moderator controls. If you are hosting other speakers, encourage them to open up the floor for questions. FreeConference allows you to transfer moderator controls to other attendees, so each of your speakers can feel in control of their own question periods. Should a question occur to any of your attendees during a presentation, encourage them to make use of the Hand-raise feature. This will place an icon next to their name, so the speaker is aware of who has a question;they can address it at their discretion. FreeConference.com offers the best video conferencing software.

6 Rules for an Engaging and Successful Web Conference or Presentation

Board room with Conference in progress, going over tips for a successful web conference

As more and more organizations move online, web conferences and presentations are turning increasingly popular. Although conferencing software is becoming more sophisticated everyday, a virtual meeting or presentation will always be different from an in-person powwow. That’s not to say that virtual meetings are inferior to the more traditional model. Web conferences have several advantages over in-person talks, but they carry their own unique requirements. To help you put together a captivating, memorable virtual presentation or meeting, we’ve compiled a list of 6 golden rules for making web conferences engaging. Just remember: a successful web conference takes real work!

1. Be Prepared For A Successful Web Conference:

Preparation is invaluable to success in almost every facet of life, but when it comes to creating a likable virtual presentation, it is even more vital. In the week leading up to the meeting be sure to send an agenda to all the attendees, which is particularly important if you’re hosting a number of speakers. Visuals, such as slides or videos, should be sent ahead of the meeting as well. This will give your team a chance to familiarize themselves with the content. Also, be sure to send login information (access codes, URLs, and call-in numbers) at least one day in advance so participants can update their software if necessary. Always provide each participant with a way to reach you offline in the event they experience technical difficulties.

2. Don’t Sacrifice Chit Chat and Ice Breakers:

When hosting a virtual meeting it is tempting to launch directly into the agenda the moment the last person logs in. Fight this temptation! In-person meetings are rarely structured this way. There is often a bit of small talk and light mingling before getting down to brass tacks. This is vital to building a positive relationship with your team, which will ease collaboration in the future. Integrate a social element into your virtual event by starting with an icebreaker. Simply ask each team member what he or she did on the weekend or a similar question before getting to the task at hand.

3. Keep it Quiet, and minimize background noise:

Car alarms, noisy radiators, and wayward cell phones can disrupt the flow of any presentation, but this is especially true if you’re hosting a web conference. FreeConference offers a host of useful moderator controls such as Presentation Mode, which mutes all of the call’s participants except for the speaker, limiting the background noise in each participant’s location. For more tips on how to maintain your call’s audio quality, see How to Keep Conference Lines Clear & Interruption Free.

4. Keep it Quick and stick to your conference call meeting minutes:

When it comes to laying out the presentation itself, it’s important to be aware of the limitations of a virtual meeting versus an in-person talk. Bear in mind each member of your audience is sitting in front of their computer for a long stretch of time. To have a successful web conference, it is best to cut to the chase. Inform your audience but don’t overload them. Create a strong theme for your presentation. Consider what your audience is looking for from that presentation and then attempt to deliver it in the most concise way possible. If it is vital that you cover a lot of ground make sure you give participants an opportunity to stretch their legs or grab a coffee. Try your best not to stray from the meeting’s agenda; you want your audience to have a realistic idea of how long the presentation will be.

5. Keep your audience’s attention by staying interesting:

Never forget that the attendees at your virtual meeting are sitting at their computer, generally unmonitored. This means you’re competing with an Internet’s worth of cat memes. Keep your audience engaged by posing questions frequently. FreeConference’s Hand-Raise feature makes it easy to pin point who has an answer and keeps the entire group from speaking at once. Q&A Mode allows participants to mute and unmute themselves. This feature is particularly useful when you’d like to crowd source ideas from your team members. Don’t forget to open up the floor for questions following each presentation, and remember to move at a slightly slower pace than you would at a typical in-person meeting. Most communication systems have a two to three-second delay,; so don’t forget to pause for longer than usual when you’re awaiting a response.

6. Keep it Pretty — use presentation visuals:

Beyond asking questions, there are other things you can do to keep your audience engaged. Adding a strong visual element to your presentation is key to making a web conference interesting. Visuals can enhance the presentation’s take- home points and, in some cases, even add an element of humor or entertainment to an otherwise dry presentation. If you’re using slides, be sure to keep them simple and uncluttered. Each slide should be limited to one idea and should contain only the most vital information. This will keep your slides moving and give your presentation momentum, and help you to have a successful web conference.

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6 Ways to Keep Conference Lines Clear & Interruption Free

Bad conference call habits can make a conference less pleasant and less productive

From echo cancellation to snacking responsibly, here are our top tips on keeping your line clear!

Technology has changed the way we communicate, organize and do business. Now, there’s no need to hop a plane if you want to woo a client in Brussels, or grant a moving bonus if the talent you want is in Vermont. But even life-altering technology needs a little help to perform at its peak. When it comes to virtual presentations and meetings, a crystal clear line for all participants is essential. Getting and maintaining a clear line is not a just matter of luck. There are, in fact, a few things you can do to ensure superior audio quality on each and every one of your conference calls.

  1. Improve/Optimize your Speakerphone Situation:

In most instances, poorly manufactured equipment is the culprit behind a buzzing line. Avoid using a cheap phone to join the call and be wary of speakerphones or second-rate headsets. If you must use a speakerphone, ensure that it is placed away from any air ducts and avoid putting the unit on a metal surface. You can alleviate most audio difficulties by placing a speakerphone on a wooden surface, but if you experience any further choppiness simply slide a mouse pad underneath the unit. Also, it is common courtesy when using devices like this to mute yourself when you are not speaking. Depending on the conference call service you’re using, the chair of the meeting may have the moderator controls required to do this for you.

  1. Eliminate the Echo:

Echoes are usually the first thing people complain about when it comes to conference calls. But take heart, because in most instances, echo cancellation is not difficult to achieve. In fact, fixing echo during conference calls is incredibly simple: Simply turn your volume down at least halfway. Most of the time an echo is caused by the mic picking up the sound from your speakers, so the best etiquette is to mute yourself when you’re not talking. If you notice an echo and realize members of your team have forgotten to mute themselves, simply use FreeConference’s Moderator Controls to pinpoint the source and mute them, or switch into Presentation Mode to mute everyone on the line.

  1. Be conscious of your snacking etiquette:

Keeping water close by while you’re on a conference call is just good sense, but cracking open a can of soda while your colleague is outlining your team’s progress is downright distracting. Be wary of chip bags, plastic wrap, and overly crunchy snacks. If that sandwich on your desk can’t be ignored, mute yourself before indulging.

  1. Keep Your Notes Where You Can See ‘Em:

Whether you have a few cue cards or a 10-page report, lay your notes out on your desk. The sound of shuffling paper over a mic can be very loud and distracting. Keeping your notes where you can see them will save you the hassle of digging for that perfect statistic when the pressure’s on, sparing your listeners a cacophony of crackle.

  1. Find a Quiet Location:

If you have an incoming conference call, avoid setting yourself up in a room where there is a television, other people talking, typing or generally milling about. Once you select your ideal location, ensure that the windows are closed to minimize the sounds of street traffic. Remember, the hallway outside your office can be just as bustling as the street below, so make sure to keep your door closed during the call.

  1. Wait for Backup:

If you do have a problem with the audio quality on your call, do not hang up. Your preferred service provider can only identify and address the specific problem if the call stays in progress. Once the wayward sound is identified, most services can either fix the problem or suggest some simple solutions to you within forty-five seconds. Yes, it requires a little patience, but it will ultimately spare you the possibility of encountering the same problem on a future call.