Conference Call FAQs
Learning how to set up a conference call is one thing. But if you're going to utilize the technology to effectively communicate with your entire team, you're going to need to know the ins and outs of it. We've answered a some of the most important frequently asked questions here.
How many people can join my conference call?
Depends on your software. Most free services allow between 10-25 participants in conference call meetings, whereas paid services will typically allow between 100-250 participants. Some services, like Webex, have enterprise plan options, which allow up to 1000 participants for company-wide meetings or webinars, but this comes at an additional price.
What happens if my guests dial in too early? Or too late?
Whether your conference guests dial in too early or too late, it shouldn't cause any issue with the overall meeting. Guests that dial in early often simply wait in the virtual meeting room, sometimes treated to hold music provided by the software. If the guest is unusually early, some software prompts users to check the time of their meeting after a period of no activity, or gives the date and time of the next meeting, in case it was changed without the guest's knowledge.
Conference meeting guests that dial in late similarly have nothing to worry about. They'll simply be dropped into the meeting with everyone else. If you are late though, your tardy presence will be felt, as most services will announce the name or provide a notification when someone enters a meeting.
Does it cost money to dial into a conference call?
Very rarely will you have to pay to dial into a conference call, with any service. You'll almost always be provided with a free PIN code or URL that should take you directly to the meeting in question.
The only time you might be asked to pay for access to a meeting is through a free service, and that's only if the host asks you to split the costs. But if you're holding a smaller meeting, there should be no reason to pay an additional fee.
What about international guests dialing in from other countries?
If your conference call services uses the internet to connect guests, there should be no difference between local and international conference calls. However, some services require guests to dial in with a local number, which can complicate international meetings. Fortunately, most services will provide alternative local numbers for international users to avoid long distances fees.
Why should I pay for conference call software when some services are free?
Excellent question. While free services get the job done, they leave a lot to be desired, particularly with larger companies across large distances. Free services forego added features like polling and annotating, which makes effectively communicating a bit more of a hassle.
Additionally, paid services provide higher quality audio and video, so it feels like you're actually in the room, rather than talking through a garbled connection. You'll be able to actually communicate with your team, and isn't that the point?
Are conference call discussions, screen sharing and recordings secure?
Conference calling is typically a very secure business. Even the free services provide thorough encryption of sessions, with PIN codes or unique URLs, which makes it hard for anyone to hack them. Conference call features like recording and screen sharing don't hinder these security measures, so use them as you see fit.
How do I stop conference call echo or unwanted feedback?
If you've been in a conference call before, this has no doubt happened to you. Fortunately, there is an easy solution to this common problem: turn your volume down!
Unwanted echo or feedback often happens when one participant's volume is too loud, and it's feeding back into the microphone. If adjusting the volume doesn't help, insist that all conference guests mute their microphones when they aren't talking. It's a bit of a hassle, but so is listening to that horrible echo.
Do conference call providers offer free trials?
Depending on the service, you should be able to try out a conference call system for free for at least a few weeks. With free trials ranging from 14 days to a whole month, you'll be able to see which service works best for you, before shelling out the big bucks.