How to Set Up Conference Calls

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Conference calls provide a convenient solution for getting your team together to discuss a project, receive updated information, and gain consensus. Many companies have contracted conference service companies, and these companies can provide dedicated telephone numbers and access codes for personnel, along with a web utility that schedules and notifies teleconference meetings. An assigned teleconference number provides flexibility in holding conference calls at any time, and meeting notifications can be e-mailed to participants. Budget or free conference call services for small companies assign a teleconference number at the time of scheduling, so scheduling a meeting online requires minimal planning.

Dedicated Conference Line

Open a new e-mail message or a meeting request (if your e-mail application has this feature, such as Microsoft Outlook). Type the attendees' e-mail addresses in the "To" or "Participants" section. Type the topic of the meeting in the "Subject" line.

Type the following information in the body of the e-mail or use the automatic fields in the meeting request: Meeting date Meeting start time (include time zone) Meeting end time (include time zone) Call-in number (your dedicated conference telephone number) Conference code (if applicable, for attendees to access the conference)

Open the meeting request scheduling section and use the drop-down menu next to each participant to designate whether they are required or optional attendees (most programs have attendees defaulted as required). If schedules are available online, check that your required attendees are available during the desired time frame and date.

Attach an agenda or meeting materials by clicking the "Attachment" button on your e-mail tool bar. If desired, type a message in the body of your e-mail, after the conference call details. Click the "Send" button to transmit your meeting notice.

Schedule a Conference Call Using the Web Utility

Log onto your conference service account, such as Premiere Conferencing, Go To Meeting or Free Conference.

Click the "Schedule Conference" option. Select your meeting date, start time and end time (or duration) and the expected number of attendees. Type the subject of your meeting in the "Topic" field. Select the type of conference call by clicking the "Toll-free conference" or "Direct dial conference" option.

Review the accuracy of the information and click the "Schedule" button. Print the confirmation page for conference call details, or save the information to your computer.

Click the option to send an e-mail notification to your attendees. Type the attendees' names and e-mail addresses in the corresponding fields. Click the "Send" button to transmit a notification to your attendees with dial-in instructions and a confirmation to your e-mail address.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ask attendees to confirm that they will be joining the conference call--they can reply back affirmatively to your e-mail message or click the "Accept" button in your meeting request notification. Send a reminder e-mail and any supplemental information the day before your meeting. When scheduling a conference call using the web tool, extend the duration or end time and allocate one or two more attendees than planned, to give yourself flexibility. The conference service will usually charge you only for the number of attendees and the actual number of minutes used.
  • Avoid confusion by checking the meeting details before sending your notification. Some e-mail applications log all meeting requests in the calendar and conflicting or updated meetings are added (not replacing the outdated appointment).

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