Even as recently as five years ago, making a conference call was a cumbersome, dreaded task. Professionals did not think of it as a viable option for keeping in touch with clients and employees while out of town because calls were always choppy, and they required at least a laptop and a camera to make things work.
These days, however, smartphone technology makes it easy to take care of business from any place in the world. You can conveniently run conference calls on iPhone or iPad devices with no technical setup other than ensuring you have a good internet connection, and the right app can keep you connected like never before.
Make Sure You are Using the Right App
In a perfect world, all mobile conferencing apps would be created equally, so choosing one would be as quick as closing your eyes and pointing. Unfortunately, many have varying features of varying qualities, and some do not even offer video conferencing at all.
Don’t let yourself get embarrassingly surprised in the middle of a call when you need something your app doesn’t have. Instead, get an app that has all the features you will use in one powerful package.
Integrated Invitation Templates and Simple Join Options
Have you ever been in a meeting where you are waiting for half the other participants to join because it takes a tech wizard to figure out the software? Or they forgot their password for the seventeenth time? Or they need to dial in, but they just cannot get the codes entered right?
This does not have to happen. The first five minutes of your meeting sets the tone for the entire event, so don’t let it be a tone of frustration over wasted time.
An app that integrates with your calendar software, sending pre-composed invitations to any participant in your contacts, saves you time when all you have to do is schedule the meeting and select invitees. If it has one-click joining, it saves your clients or employees time, too.
All they have to do is hit the button, and they are in the meeting, with HD quality video and sound.
In addition to one-click joining, you want an app that makes it easy for anyone who needs to dial in as well. The best iPhone app gives invitees the option within the invitation, to call in using a direct number that takes them right to the meeting.
You can offer them numbers that originate within their country for local calling, or toll-free numbers so they never have to incur a charge for giving you their time.
Intuitive In-Call Controls
Often one of the worst things about the transition from desktop apps to mobile is the loss of functionality on the mobile. This is especially true with online meeting software.
Some services do not have screen or file sharing functionality on the mobile version. Sometimes you cannot manage your controls and see who is in the meeting at the same time.
Make sure you get an app that features all the same powerful tools for mobile as it does for your desktop console. You do not want to get used to being able to share your screen or mute another caller when you’re in the office, then find yourself stuck and unable to do what you need to do when you’re out.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Just because your conference call can be from your iPhone, does not mean that you can cut out your preparation time. As a matter of fact, you may need to prepare even more, in order to maintain the same professional, comprehensive tone to which an office setting is more conducive.
The Guest List
Check through your list and confirm you invited everyone who may have a contribution to your conference. You do not want to get held up because you are missing people who have answers to important questions, or people who are key decision-makers.
Now check through your list and make sure that everyone who is not needed is left out. Conference calls are chaotic enough. You do not want to invite anyone who will just muddle the conversation and keep pulling things off track.
Some people just like to run their meetings without a developed plan. They want to be flexible, and an agenda is too restrictive. This may work for some in-person meetings, but not for conference calls.
You need an agenda to keep everyone organized and on track. It helps participants prepare, and it gives you a more professional appearance.
Sending out an agenda a few days ahead of your conference sets the tone for a productive call that starts on time, flows without interruption or distraction, and ends when it is supposed to end.
Breathe and Smile
If you are nervous, you may be forgetting to breathe. Check-in with yourself and take a few deep breaths before your meeting starts. Don’t forget to also breathe during your meeting. You might be surprised at how much you need oxygen when you are talking.
In addition to breathing enough to avoid passing out, smile! It will make you and everyone else in your call more comfortable.