To hold meetings and coordinate processes, the players involved do not need to come together in person at a specific place. New forms of work such as home office, mobile workflows and internationally distributed sites increasingly demand for the opportunity to also hold shared meetings and conferences over the telephone for many different participants.
What is more, in a moment of crisis this option is absolutely essential: All persons in charge, e.g. the members of a crisis management group, must be able to communicate with one another, irrespective of where they are currently located. Telephone conferences can help make a competent decision quickly.
But how can conferencing over the phone - be it for routine jobs or in an emergency - be conducted as effective as possible?
The answer - DAKS Pro Application Module Conferencing
Use this powerful function module to convene and control Meet-me-, Pre-set-, Adhoc- and Progressive Conferences (especially for emergency conferencing) over the phone or through operators at monitor-based workstations. The user-friendly, intuitive and ad-hoc launch of telephone conferences accelerates your communications and decision-making processes substantially.
Make your telephone conferencing with DAKS particularly effective and safe by following these 10 tips:
1. Prepare your conferees for the conference
Help all participants to your conference prepare in time for the topics you want to discuss. For example, configure an automatic broadcast call sufficiently ahead of time before the actual telephone conference to inform everybody of the planned topics and schedule.
2. Designate a moderator
In conferences with five or more participants, we recommend, for your meeting to be effective, that you designate a moderator who steers the conference. The moderator welcomes everybody and introduces new conferees when needed. The moderator also controls the schedule for best results and keeps a close eye on the clock. In addition, the moderator provides assistance during the conferencing process by granting the right to speak, by actively addressing individual conferees, and by encouraging the conference participants to contribute to the meeting. In between the different topic blocks, the moderator can quickly summarize important results that were already reached. The moderator sees to it that the rules of the conference are adhered to (do not interrupt other speakers, restrict speaking time, stay on topic, ...), and by doing so creates a solution-oriented approach.
3. Configure an introductory announcement for your conference call
Avoid the usual time-consuming questions at the outset of many conferences. Instead, answer all of these questions before the start of the conference in an individual message that you record directly over your phone. In your message, you could e.g. state:
- The name of the conference (e.g. "Morning Briefing")
- The conference rules (e.g. "Please always start your request to speak by
stating your name")
- The name and function of the moderator
- The names and functions of the other conferees
4. Introduce all participants to important technical functions
Take advantage of the introductory announcement to also explain important technical functions that can be of real help during the telephone conference, e.g. the functions to switch to mute or active. Mobile conference members are sometimes located in loud and noisy places and their background noises can disturb the actual conference. As soon as these participants switch themselves to mute, the other conference members are no longer disturbed by the disturbing noises.
5. Start on time
Unfortunately, many planned conferences start late. This is not only very ineffective; it sometimes leads to rather agonizing delays. The conference members are forced to sit and wait for the latecomers while their other jobs are waiting and they need to arrive punctually at their next scheduled meetings and appointments. This strains the cooperation of the conference group as such and is a burden on the work of every affected person.
Avoid aggravating time delays and disruption of meetings due to late arrivals and difficulties in the dial-in process. Take advantage of the broadcast function of DAKS Conferencing and simply let DAKS call all participants to the conference. In this way, you can rest assured that nobody forgets the date or calls in late.
Automatically started DAKS conferences also save you from having to configure each and every new conference. Routinely planned meetings can easily be defined in DAKS in advance. DAKS will then automatically call every conference participant at the right time. You can also predefine in DAKS the participants that are required in emergency conferences, each with several telephone numbers. Especially in a moment of crisis, when every second counts, it is far too difficult to have to plough through various lists to find the right persons in charge to the present incident. The emergency conference configured in DAKS, in contrast, is started user-friendly and quickly at the click of your mouse, by pressing an alarm button or a mere hotkey, and every needed player is automatically called and switched into the conference.
6. Use DAKS Conferencing to avoid interruptions and connection loss
In conferences with mobile participants, telephone connections are frequently lost, e.g. when driving through a tunnel. DAKS automatically reconnects by itself, as often as needed. Mobile members in a conference do not need to deal with dialing back in again themselves, which can be especially tedious and distracting while driving. The conference can be continued again as quickly as possible with all conference participants.
7. Restrict the run-time of your conference
We have all been there: Even though a specific start and end time was planned for the conference, the meeting itself runs overtime and slows down follow-up appointments or other scheduled activities. This is annoying and ineffective. Especially when conferences are held on a regular basis, e.g. a daily briefing, a restricted run-time of the conference can help avoid these delays. A customizable voice message in DAKS, played to all participants in defined intervals before the planned end of the conference, helps everyone stick to the schedule, get to the point and bring about more effective conferencing. If an important subject matter spontaneously requires extra conference time, the operator can extend the conference right at his telephone.
8. Grant the right to speak
Some meetings are first and foremost designed to provide information. In this case, the right to speak can only be granted to specific participants. Everyone else in the conference listens only. This helps you avoid delays caused by unexpected questions from conference members.
9. Make the access to confidential conference safer and more secure
When you need to discuss sensitive issues, assign unique security codes in addition to entry PINs with DAKS. This makes sure that no unauthorized persons enter into your conference. What is more, DAKS monitors during the entire conference the call numbers and connection statuses of all participants.
10. Log your conferences
Recordings of calls help you ensure that no important information is lost and to capture the results of your discussion. Upon request, DAKS can also include recording devices to your conferences. In addition, the automatic DAKS report logs all technical data of a conference, e.g. who entered when into the meeting, at what phone number was the person reached, as well as the times and the length of the calls. For example, in crisis or emergency conferences, these log files can serve as reliable proof.
This blog was written by our Senior Voice Engineer, Mick Grimes. If you wish to learn more on how PFH can assist you with Telephone Conferencing or wish to to speak to Mick directly, please contact us here.