The rise of the mobile workforce has created incredible flexibility for modern businesses and their employees. People work from home, on the road, and even while on vacation through laptops and mobile devices. However, this does make team communication considerably more complicated. Meeting participants are frequently spread all over the country. While chat can achieve a certain amount of collaboration, eventually, you find yourself needing a conference call.
This brings us to the familiar conference call blues. Even with the best intentions and technology in the business in the room, teams are always getting disconnected from one team member or another. Worse still are the constant testing of mics and asking "Can you hear me?" The resounding echoes of "Yeah I can hear you" and "Wait, I can't hear anything. Let me change headphones."
Today we're here to reveal the secrets of how to never hear "Can you hear me?" during a critical conference meeting again.
Invest in High-Speed InternetInternet phones have become the new normal. In part, this is because so many modern mobile professionals, contractors, and freelancers choose internet phone numbers as a way to turn one laptop into an entire mobile office. This means you will be getting calls from internet phone users. This means you will need a high-speed internet connection for your office even if you still use landline phones.
Fortunately, most businesses already rely on high-speed internet to run the office and provide customer services that this infrastructure is likely to already be in place. Bandwidth has become vital to communication quality in the mobile workforce.
Integrate a Business-Class VOIPIf your office hasn't already, consider upgrading to one of the business-class VOIP upgrades. VOIP is voice communication software that works over the internet. With modern software and mobile technology, this means that business VOIP can offer all the traditional features as well as a whole new collection of software perks. These upgrades will bring many of your most challenging conference call activities under one integrated phone program.
Traditional business phones come with many outdated practices such as individual (desk) lines, phone trees and hold lines. VOIP features, such as one business number on any device (called Find Me Follow Me), call or voicemail to email transcription, CRM integrations and screen sharing options provide much more future-facing possibilities for the modern business, while at the same time solving many of the problems that come with traditional business phones.
Work With Skilled and Dedicated Technicians to Install Conference Room Phones
There are many ways to set up a modern business communication system, such as VOIP and/or management platforms. However, whatever you decide to go with, make sure to work with dedicated and highly skilled technicians when setting up your desk and conference room phones. Many of the common technical difficulties in conference-call meetings occur because the technology either was clumsily set up or not well understood.
After the room is set up, work with the technicians to train the first group of managers and then put together a handbook for every future employee on how to use the system. Merely having this handbook available can prevent a lot of technical problems during meetings in the future. You can look up answers without having to do the guesswork, based on what the original installing technicians explained and demonstrated.
Prioritise Conference Call BandwidthOur next tip is on how you manage your internet bandwidth. Your internet connection provides a certain amount of data flow, or bandwidth, based on the actual cable size or data line. However, how you use the bandwidth can be determined by your routers and routing software. Talk to your network admins and make sure that conference calls and VOIP, in general, are prioritised in the bandwidth allocation. This means that during important calls with clients, company Google searches might take a few more microseconds, but not a second of the call is dropped when it matters most.
Test Each Connection Before Conference MeetingsThen before each meeting, it is highly beneficial to go through technical checks with each remote connection. Ask your remote attendees to check in at a specific time before the meeting to make sure they can hear, that they can be heard and that there is no interfering background noise on either side. If you are working with video chat, also take this time to ensure your call-in team members can be seen and that they can see the entire conference room from their remote devices. This step alone will save you dozens of "Can you hear me?" and "Oh, hold on" in the middle of an essential and fast-paced meeting.
From there, special consideration should be given to anyone who has a presentation, screen sharing, or who needs to transfer files during the scheduled meeting. They will need to double-check with the meeting hosts that the technology is communicating correctly. Just like preparing for an in-person meeting, run remote team members through the technical half of giving their presentation before the meeting starts. This will make sure that you don't have to sit through flashing screens and presentations that don't project during the scheduled meeting time where everyone's time is at a premium.
Stick to the PlanThe final piece of the hassle-free conference meeting is to stick to your agenda when it comes to attendees, presentations, and shared activities. Adding a new person to the call or trying to do something untested with the system is a quick way to get you right back into the "Can you hear me?" experience. If you want meetings with in-office and remote team members to go off without a hitch, it's vital that the meeting technicians have a chance to 'clear the path' and ensure that every connection and feature you plan to use is ready to go.
Even with cutting edge technology, conference calls and remote team meetings are still one of the biggest challenges that mobile workforce companies face. However, the traditional hassle is hardly necessary. With the right infrastructure and preparation steps before each meeting, you can make sure that you and your team never have to hear "Can you hear me?" in the middle of a conference meeting ever again.
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