Ever tried to organise an in-person conference for business partners, industry leaders, colleagues, managers or clients? It’s no mean feat! In fact, it’s often a logistical nightmare. The resources required, both financial and human, are often an impediment for many businesses.
People and businesses need to collaborate. Teams need to converge in order to accelerate learning and innovation. So what’s the solution for those businesses for which a physical conference is impractical? The ideal solution is to host a teleconference.
What is a teleconference?
A teleconference is where three or more geographically-separated people use phones to communicate with each other at the same time. The people might be in different cities, states or even countries. The teleconference can be interactive, where all participants can speak freely, or it might be a one-way presentation or training program. Regardless of the size of your group, teleconferencing is the most cost-effective way to bring everyone together from anywhere in the world.
If the call involves a small number of people, it can be conducted like a normal meeting, except that the callers can't see each other. If the call involves a larger number of people, particular controls can be used so the meeting doesn’t become chaotic.
Using a quality conferencing provider means that the conference host will have access to meeting controls such as muting (where participants will be able to hear the call but not speak), participant announcements (where each new participant’s name will be announced as they enter and leave the call) and security options (e.g you can lock the conference so no new people can enter). These controls help to ensure that the meeting runs without interruption, sensitive information is guarded and only appropriate people are on the call.
There are also other types of virtual meetings you can hold. For example, if you want to add a visual element to your meeting, a web conference will allow you to achieve this.
What is a web conference?
In a web conference, groups of widely-dispersed individuals can interact using both an audio and visual connection.
Web conferencing services allow the transmission of sound, pictures and files all at once so that participants can see and hear each other, as well as view documents and presentations. Some systems also allow for remote access to the presenter’s computer screen so users from different locations can amend and collaborate on the same document. These kinds of conferences can be accessed from anywhere, as long as the user has a computer with an internet connection, a webcam and a microphone.
What is a video conference?
A video conference is another way to hold a visual meeting between two or more participants in separate locations. Each participant or group of participants must have a computer, television screen (to display the other webcam feeds), camera, sound system and microphone to hold a successful video conference. This equipment is usually set up in a dedicated boardroom or meeting room. As it's difficult to move this hardware around, video conferences are not as flexible as web conferences, which only need a computer. Even a webcam is optional in a web conference.
Each of these options are appropriate for different types of meetings, depending on their purpose and the type of collaboration needed.