Connect with us

Management

Business Conference Call Solutions: The Complete Guide

telephone

telephoneDo you need a business conference call solution?

The business world has changed with more entrepreneurs being location independent and employees working from home. In fact, The New York Times has reported that up to 43% of workers have worked remotely.

The world has gotten smaller, too. Customers could be across the country or around the world.

The changing world has increased the need for businesses to adopt technologies so they can stay in touch with employees and clients.

Conference calls make it easier to stay connected and be more productive.

If you’re considering a business conference call solution for your business, keep reading. You’ll learn what the different solutions are, why you need them and how to make the most of them.

Benefits of Business Conference Calls

The benefits of conference calls are numerous. The primary benefit is cost savings. Your team doesn’t have to travel to a meeting location.

Time savings is another major benefit. Let’s say you picked a central meeting location for your team to have a meeting. Let’s assume that it takes about 20 minutes for everyone to get to the meeting.

They’ll drive back to their respective locations. That’s 40 minutes out of the workday that could have been spent on an important project.

Not only that, but you won’t be stressed out from sitting in traffic and your company’s carbon footprint will be smaller, thanks to fuel savings.

A business conference call is a great way to have a problem solved quickly. If you have a sales rep that needs to talk to you for a few minutes, it may be difficult to schedule an in-person meeting.

Instead, they can book a brief conference call and have their questions and concerns addressed immediately.

That can help them be more productive employees because they’re not waiting on you for an answer.

Some employees might find it easier to resort to email or instant message. Those methods can be effective, but you have to wait for someone to respond to those messages. Email and instant message are less personal than communicating via phone or video.

Types of Business Conference Call Solutions

Conference calls are ideal for any type of business. They’re not limited to Fortune 500 multinational corporations.

For example, network marketing businesses can use conference calls for presentations and training. Conference Town has this article which covers the topic in-depth.

What kind of conference call technology is right for your business? We’ll take a look at the most common ones.

Free vs. Paid Conference Calls

Out of the conference call options, businesses will have to decide if they should go for a paid solution or a free one.

For bootstrapping companies, the free option would seem to make the most sense. After all, it’s free. These companies make money somehow, so while they appear to be free, they probably aren’t.

Some of these services are ad-supported. You may have ads running during your call. If you’re using one of these services for an important meeting or presentation, you could be creating the wrong impression for your brand.

Mobile phone carriers consider some of these call-in numbers provided by free conference call providers to be out of the plan. T-Mobile, for instance, charges 1 cent a minute for such calls.

That may not seem like a lot, but those numbers can add up quickly.

Paid conference call providers usually don’t have this issue.

If you’re an international organization, you may have to go with a paid solution, as free conference call providers don’t have an international reach.

The level of service and collaboration options tend to be more robust with paid conference call solutions, too.

Video Conference Call

Businesses are also embracing video to have a business conference call.

Video is great because it’s more personal. You can see people face to face and you can see body language and facial expressions, which makes up about 55% of communication.

The downside to video is that you and your meeting participants need to be a little tech savvy.

Plus, if someone is using an older device or has a slow internet connection, there will be a lag in the conversation.

Business Conference Call Success

No matter what technology you decide to use, it’s important to remember that it’s only as good as the person using it.

In a face to face meeting, it’s easy to keep tabs on the room to see who’s paying attention or drifting off.

On video calls, participants have the choice to turn the camera off, so you may not be able to see everything they’re doing. A study by conference call provider InterCall, attendees are doing anything but paying attention during conference calls.

Most are doing other work, some are hiking, and some are even going to the bathroom. As a business conference call organizer, your job is to keep people engaged throughout the call.

Here are a few ways you can make your conference calls run smoothly.

Have an Agenda

You must have a meeting agenda and stick with it. Nothing wastes more time than people going off on unrelated tangents.

You need to be a sergeant at arms, whose job it is to keep the meeting short, on time, and on track.

Engage the Participants

If you know that participants are likely going to drift off during a call, you must keep them engaged. Ask participants questions during the call.

You can ask for feedback on certain topics or just ask individuals for their opinions. The Socratic style of teaching and presenting will keep people on their toes.

Business Conference Calls Will Help Your Business Thrive

With employees and clients scattered all over the country and the world, businesses are embracing conference call technology to have meetings and make informed decisions.

There are numerous technologies from voice to video that can help businesses thrive.

Like any tool, its usefulness will depend on the user. That’s why it’s important to have an agenda and be clear about the outcomes you want to have from the conference call.

That will make sure you get the most from a business conference call.

Do you want other tips to help your business and employees thrive? Check out our blog posts about business management.

Management

4 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating in the Workplace

food

foodA healthier workforce is a more engaged and productive one. A lot of people overlook the impact eating habits can have on cognitive functions, mood, and concentration. But by making a few adjustments to your workplace and company culture, you could help your employees make healthier food choices.

Here are a few simple ways you could encourage healthy eating in the workplace.

Use Snack Services

There are plenty of snack services out there that will allow you to provide snacks to your employees for cheap. They allow you to buy various snacks in bulk so you can save on total costs. They’re also a great way to show that you actually care about your employees’ wellbeing.

However, not all of them are created equal and some might be healthier than others. While an office snack service like Naturebox will be focused mainly on providing healthy office snacks like dried fruits, nuts, and low-calorie options, others won’t have as wide a selection and will offer your usual run-of-the-mill snacks with a few “healthy” options. If you want to know more about snack services and which one would be best for you, Bevi has a great article about them. Bevi also supplies beverages for the office, including water dispensers.

Incentivize your Employees

There are plenty of ways you could make things easier for your employees and incentivize healthy eating. Some companies, for instance, will have free fruit around the office or will allow their employees to have access to mineral water. If you have vending machines, make sure that you stock them up with healthy foods as well as the usual snacks. And make sure that healthy options are much cheaper as well.

Do not Neglect Break Time

You have to institute a culture in your business where your employees feel free to enjoy a full lunch break and sufficient screen break time as well. This will encourage healthy eating habits and reduce stress as well. Make sure that they don’t eat at their desk and consider giving flexible break hours so they can get out and stretch their legs. A lunch hour should be long enough to let them go out and enjoy a healthy meal if they want to. Enjoying fresh air will also leave them invigorated for the second half of the day.

Make Sure that it’s a Clear Part of your Company Culture

If you want your employees to truly dedicate themselves to healthy eating, it has to be part of your company’s mission and put down in writing. Make sure that your commitment to healthy eating and overall health is part of the staff handbook. You should also make it clear to your staff that your mission will translate into actual policy. Let them know that healthy eating options will be subsidized or completely free of charge. Also, make sure that you consider adopting a corporate food plan if you have a cafeteria.

Conclusion

Making sure that your employees adopt healthy eating habits is not only an investment in their well-being but in your business as well. If you want to enjoy a happier and healthier workforce that will run on all cylinders, make sure to make healthy eating a must in your workplace.

Continue Reading

Management

How to Make Money from Home as a Freelance Writer

self publish a book

how to overcome writer's blockIf you have ever considered becoming a freelance writer your first and biggest question is probably “how do I begin making money as a freelance writer”? Knowing where and how to look for jobs is the first step in your freelance writing career.

There are plenty of ways to get paid but in this article, we give you 5 of the best methods for getting work as a beginner freelance writer.

Enter Writing Contests

Writing contests are a great option for freelance writers of any experience level because they do not differentiate between beginner writers and established professionals. Winning of these would be a great achievement for any resume and are sure to spruce up portfolios.

There are many competitions open to the public so do your research and see what opportunities are available to you. Prizes range from small cash payments to publications of your written works. Many of these competitions are free to enter so take the opportunity and submit your works today.

Job Boards

There are many ways for freelancers to make money online, you can find out more here. However, a common beginning point for freelance writers looking to get their first clients is to pitch for jobs on job boards. It is as simple as registering for an account and filling out applications or bidding on jobs. There are a ton of wiring jobs available on these boards and the clients are looking for people with a base level writing ability and a strong work ethic.

Start a Blog

Every writer needs a blog and these days bloggers are monetizing their blog through affiliate marketing. Running a blog can benefit you as a writer in many ways including contributing to your portfolio, creating lead generation, build up your credibility and give you confidence as a writer. Your blog will help you develop your style and target audience. The goal to successfully monetizing your blog is to pick a successful niche and developing a strong social media presence.

Guest Post

As a writer you should be following and supporting other bloggers and their sites. Consider pitching a guest post to your favorite authors. Most blogs accept guest posts and a lot of them are willing to pay for quality content from their guests. Before you send your pitch make sure you take the time to research the blog extensively. What is the style of writing? What is the niche? Develop a pitch that fits in nicely with site you are hoping to guest post for.

Self-Publish your Own Books

Amazon Direct Publishing has made it easy for writers of all experience levels to self-publish paperbacks and ebooks. The best part is that it is free to publish through KDP. Al you have to do is upload your book and wait for people to start purchasing it. Write about your book in your blog and post it all over your social media accounts to help gain some traffic and awareness. With KDP you can earn up to 70% in royalties, keep control of the rights, set your own prices and make changes to the book at any time.

Continue Reading

Management

4 Tools That Will Help You Keep Focus in Meetings

stress ball

stress ball

Keeping everybody focused on any kind of meeting can be quite a challenge. People are easily distracted and they get bored, especially in long meetings that drone on. However, there are some tools that can help keep focus during a meeting.

Did you know that whiteboards are a critical part of meetings nowadays? It’s one of the focus tools we will look at today.

Visuals

One big help when it comes to the meeting is anything visual. There is a reason why people use tools like PowerPoint, graphs, images, and other types of visuals in meetings – because they help keep focus much better than words alone.

Have you ever been in a meeting, or maybe listening to a school presentation, where a person drones on? It can get boring if a person relies solely on words to get a point across. It can become boring and hard to focus on.

However, when you add snazzy visuals and colorful graphs into the mix, it helps to catch the eyes of those watching and listening. It also helps provide a minor break from word-only presentations that are hard to focus on.

Visuals always help with presentations, not to mention that they are great for getting across points and hammering them home, points out that words alone have trouble getting across.

Recording Device

One of the tools that can be used to help keep focus in meetings is a recording device of sorts. This could be anything; as long as it allows you to record a meeting, it should work fine. This could be an old-school tape recorder, a phone, tablet, or anything else that can record voice.

The point here is that during meetings, people often try and jot down notes and write down what the speaker is saying.

However, this actually distracts from the task at hand, because when people are writing notes, they are n’t listening or taking in additional information. It is actually pretty hard to take a new point in when you are also writing the last point down.

Therefore, a recording device to record all things said in a meeting can come in handy.

Instead of having people write down notes and lightning speed and not absorb information; people can actually listen to what is being said. Then, instead of referring to notes for reference, they can simply listen to the recording.

Stress Ball

This might seem like an odd tool when it comes to helping people keep focus in meetings, but it does work. Some people probably wouldn’t qualify stress balls as being tools, but in reality, they are.

Stress balls are those little softballs which people have in their hands and squeeze to relieve stress. They might be stress relief tools, but this is exactly why they can help people focus.

People don’t listen well when they are stressed out, and a stress ball helps to combat this. Furthermore, many people have to be doing something with their hands, which is why they invented those fidget spinners that were a big deal last year. It’s hard to focus on a meeting when you are constantly looking for something for your hands to do.

A stress ball in your hands can solve both of these problems quite adequately. Make sure you don’t get a noisy one, or else everybody else in the meeting room will not be happy with you.

Whiteboard

When it comes down to it, one of the most useful tools to help keep people focused during a meeting is undoubtedly the whiteboard. This has to do with our first point – that visuals help to keep attention.

Whiteboards are pretty big, they have great contrast between the surface and the colored markers, and they allow for great organization.

Whoever is leading the meeting can use various colors of markers to jot down the most important ideas, which are easy for everybody to see.

Whiteboards are also highly portable, so they can be moved from one meeting room to another. If you did not already know, whiteboards are becoming a staple of every meeting room and classroom out there today.

Conclusion

These 4 items or tools that we have discussed here today are fantastic for helping you and others keep their focus during meetings. It can be hard to keep focus, especially in a long meeting and in a room full of people. Hopefully, you can put these items to good use to increase focus and productivity.

Continue Reading

Trending