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Setting Up a Conference Call is as Easy as...

Some days getting up and getting to work on time feels like one of the most difficult things to do in the entire universe. Here's the Beatles' take on it.

"Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head.Found my way downstairs and drank a cup, and looking up, I noticed I was late.Found my coat and grabbed my hat, made the bus in seconds flat."  - A Day in the Life. Lennon - McCartney 1968

I guess it depends on what you were up to the night before. The funny thing is that we actually do pull off the Herculean feat of getting our corporeal bodies from Dreamland to gainful employment almost every day.

Millions of conference calls get scheduled every year, too, but until people have actually set one up for themselves they sometimes feel that setting up group calls is hard. The reasoning goes: "Given how much a conference call can accomplish, and how many people are involved, how can it be simple?" Yet simple it is.

Setting up a conference call is easier than getting to work on time, but the secret of success is pretty much the same as it is for our morning pilgrimage to the office; simple routines.

1. "Woke up, fell out of bed"

The first stage of getting to work on time is of course, actually waking up. Most humans don't leave this to Fate. They use an alarm clock. Scheduling conference calls is similarly best left to adding an event reminder in your work calendar. "Setup conference call for weekly staff meeting, 1pm Monday.” That's all it takes.

2. "Dragged a comb, across my head"

When the call comes up in your calendar, the next step is choosing what kind of call. Either you want to go cheap and cheerful with a free call, or lay on something a little more upscale by offering your callers personalized greetings or a courtesy 1-800 number to make their life easy.

Compare that to choosing your clothes in the morning. For me, meeting with the boss at 3:00 means "suit", Freaky Friday means my Hawaiian shirt that I'm embarrassed to mention I even own. By the time I throw in "matching socks" and some grievous lamentation of my own laundry habits, clicking a mouse once to choose between "Free Call" or "1-800 Number" is looking good.

3. "Habit-forming office procedures"

The secret to arriving at work on time is an amazing little feature in the human brain known as Autopilot. In humans, the Autopilot feature can even kick in before we add coffee. Autopilot is, in fact, how we get the coffee into us in the first place! has an Autopilot too, called Quick Scheduler, where you can select any previously scheduled conference, input your new date and time, and watch as Santa's Elves duplicate your attendees, organizer code, access code, subject, agenda and invitees. Want to make changes? Go right ahead, add a few invitees from a drop down menu, or change the length of the call.

Changing your conference details is as easy as deciding to take the scenic route to work for a change, but takes a whole lot less time to do.

4. Deluxe special features

Some people have to make those tough choices of whether to have more fun getting to work in the Porsche 911, or settling for the utility of the Lexus. Maybe they're pressed for vacation time and have to take the helicopter from the cottage.

Setting up conference calls involves a few "special feature" choices too. Each one can be selected in moments.

FreeConference Desktop Sharing with IBM Sametime keeps everyone on the same page, literally.

Call Record allows you to record your conference call into an MP3 file so you can archive it as a Podcast, email it as minutes, or get it transcribed into raw material for a book or procedural manual.

Did you know many churches are using Call Record to "broadcast" sermons live over the phone so their congregation can keep in touch while on vacation? Conference calls are so much more now than just a pure communication tool that saves time.

But save time they do.

5. "Made the bus, in seconds flat"

Or not! The trek across town to work is time we can never get back. It is an incontrovertible fact of life, like death and taxes.

The single most efficient and beautiful thing about teleconferencing is that it completely eliminates the wasted staff time getting to and from meetings.

Teleconferencing might just be the best way to have effective meetings between remote teams scattered across the planet, but it is also remarkably effective at streamlining staff meetings in the same city, or even building.

Everyone just picks up the phone at their desk at the same time and starts talking.

Setting up a conference call really is easier than getting to work on time, just be careful, group calls can become a "habit forming office procedure."

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