The worst part about the results is that all the frustrations that were identified are so easy to solve if you have an account with a quality teleconferencing provider.
Any quality conferencing provider allows the host of the conference to control their meeting in a way that means they can easily eliminate these issues.
For example, there should be various keypad shortcuts the host can use to control their conference. I have included the keypad shortcuts that would apply with a Eureka account, but another conferencing provider may have different shortcuts. Just make sure that whichever provider you use offers you all these solutions.
Issue #1: Multiple people talking at the same time
The best way to avoid people talking over each other is to have everyone on mute during the conference. The host can action this by dialling 250# and can then either unmute everybody at once by dialling 200# or direct particular guests who need to contribute to unmute themselves by pressing *6 on their keypad.
You could also hold an operator-assisted question and answer session at the end of the meeting. Once the meeting has concluded, the operator will ask all the guests if they want to ask a question. Anybody who wants to ask a question presses *1 on their phone keypad. The operator then queues up everybody who has indicated that they would like to ask a question and the Q&A session proceeds with decorum and clarity.
Issue #2: Excessive background noise
Again, the best way to combat this problem is by keeping everyone on mute as much as possible.
If there is one particular line causing problems (such as somebody's dog barking in the background) and they're unable to mute themselves for any reason, you can dial *0*0 while in conference and an operator will isolate and mute the offending phone line for you.
Issue #3: Attendees not paying attention
While you can't force your guests to pay attention to your conference, there are a few things you can do to create a presentation that is engaging, insightful and beneficial for your audience.
One great way of doing this is to include a visual element by using web conferencing in conjunction with your teleconference. Visual information is processed faster and retained more than anything else, so incorporating videos and infographics will help ensure your audience stays engaged.
Issue #4: Attendees thinking they're talking when they're on mute
This one's a bit harder to control, but if you can't hear someone that's supposed to be speaking, simply advise them that they can dial *6 to unmute themselves.
If you're on mute yourself and can't be heard, don't forget you can also make use of the chat function to communicate with the other people in the conference.
Issue #5: Attendees putting the call on hold (and prompting hold music)
Yet again, the best way to fix this is to keep everyone on mute unless they are required to speak. This means you won't hear any noise from any of the guests in the conference. Even if they put the conference on hold, you won't hear their hold music.
Eureka also offers other keypad shortcuts to make sure your conferences run smoothly every time. These include the ability to conduct a participant count, lock the conference, record the conference and terminate the conference.
There are also additional features we offer to take your conferencing to the next level, such as participant name announcements, PINs and project codes. A full list of our conferencing features is available on our website.
A properly-run conference call can be productive, efficient and engaging. Don't forget to adhere to conference call etiquette. "It's tempting to let your guard down on conference calls because participants can't see you, but basic meeting rules still apply," said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. "To get the most out of these discussions, join on time, offer your undivided attention and be respectful of other attendees."