"… According to the Travel Industry Association, average domestic air fares actually dropped 1.3 percent in August compared with August 2006. But other factors, especially a 6.5% rise in average hotel rates, drove up overall travel costs by 2.4 percent for the month."
From the New York Times 10/2/07 "Conference Calling as Plan A, With Flying as a Backup"
Travel costs are rising and so are travel headaches. Not only do busy executives have to hassle with longer lines at airline checkins, long flight delays, and security check headaches, but add a 6.5% increase in the average cost of a hotel room. There just isn’t a better time for executives to be looking for a cost efficient alternative to travel for some business needs.
Conference Calling is just one of the solutions that top executives routinely implement as a cost saving measure to improve the bottom-line. With travel expenses up nearly 2.4% for September alone, the squeeze to find replacements to business travel is top priority for concerned business owners.
It used to be that the technology that drove conference Calling and Web conferencing was expensive, hard to use, and spotty in stability, but with new advances and new technology this has certainly changed. Conference Calling is a truly viable consideration in light of the overall increases in the cost of business travel.
Conference calling gives you "Star Power". Well, maybe not the Britney Spears variety, but the power to use * key plus a command on your phone keypad to interact with your conference call attendees.
Here are a few "Star Power" commands to get you started:
- Use *1 to dial out of your conference call and then dial a new phone number to check with someone else on fact and figures. Your other parties will not hear this personal call.
- Use *2 to return to your conference call with a new participant. You can do this command after you have done *1.
- Use *3 to return to your conference call in progress without a new participant. You may have needed to check a date with your secretary before you got back into the call use *3 to stop the call from using *1 initially.
- Use *2 anytime during a conference call to start conference call recording. To be compliant with law, all participants will hear a message that the call is now being recorded.
These are just a few of the * key commands that can enhance your conference call. We have nine * key commands in all. When you set up your account with us we’ll even send you a laminated wallet card for easy reference.
Our "Star Power" using the * key will really work to enhance your conference call and put you in control of your conference call with one or two easy keystrokes.
Conference calling knows no bounds when it comes to connected people and getting the job done. No matter what your field may be, there is a way to use teleconferencing to your advantage. There are so many ways to use technology to meet your needs.
Here is one surprising example: The Finger Lakes Wine Alliance recently held a tele-winetasting as a way to promote a certain kind of wine. You may wonder just how an organization can hold a conference call event to push a product such as wine, but is quite possible.
The wines were shipped to participants in advance. Participants were responsible for chilling the wines and having them on hand at the appointed time. Those involved included the wine producers, food writers, and a wine consultant. These are professionals who are very interested in the product, so they knew how to prepare themselves and the wine to ensure that the tele-winetasting went off without a hitch.
During the event the participants tasted wines and compared notes -all without having to leave their homes or offices. The Finger Lakes Wine Alliance was able to accomplish their goal of publicizing certain wines without having to arrange for key persons to travel and meet in one location.
You want to schedule a conference call, what is the best day and time to call? Most of this depends on your business and the time zone that you are calling, but there are a few common sense guidelines that will help you to choose the day that may work best for you.
Stay away from Monday morning. Monday morning is usually reserved for putting out fires from the weekend or for tasking staff members for the week. If you need to phone on Monday do it after 2:00 PM when most of the heavy work load is out of the way.
Stay away from Friday afternoon. Some people will leave early on Friday or are working a compressed week work schedule and are off every other Friday, so it is best to steer clear of this day. If you must phone on Friday, do it in the morning around 10:00; after the morning crush, but not so late as to interfere with the plans of the day.
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday may simply be best for your needs. If the teleconference is about tasking, Tuesday will be best so as to allow team members time to complete tasks for the week. If the teleconference is about accountability Thursday may be better as you will have more data from the week to review.
Wednesday is great for training, communications, reviews, and new directions or brainstorming sessions. People are in the swing of things on Wednesday and feeling more relaxed. They still have time to take on a new project before the end of the work week. Wednesday mornings seem to be better on this day than afternoons, but that may simply be from our experience.
Which ever day you choose, understand that the best day for you is most likely a personal choice driven by the needs of your business and your personal schedule. The best idea is at your first teleconference decide as a group the best day for your next call. You may find that the middle of the week will simply be the best for your team too.
This is not just a comment, but is a "truth". All teleconferencing service providers are not created equal. As you evaluate which teleconferencing provider you are considering using, take strongly into account your very first interaction with the firm. It has been said that first impressions are lasting impressions and in this case I think that you will agree they can also be indicative of the long term service commitment that will impact you as a customer with that firm.
As you evaluate your choices take a look at the website. Is it professional? Does it give you pricing and information or does it hide the prices and make them nearly impossible to find.
Call their 1-800 sales line, check out the experience. How long did you wait for someone to answer your call? Was the customer service representative courteous? Were they knowledgeable? Did they take time to fully answer your questions or did you feel like you were intruding on their other calls
We think that when you evaluate AccuConference you will not only find a website that is transparent in regards to pricing and services, but that your experience with our customer service representatives will leave a highly favorable impression with you. So we invite you to check us out, run us through our paces, and see why we are the friendliest, best service value, and best overall teleconferencing provider you can choose.
The National Investor Relations Institute has a lot of good advice on their website on earnings calls and webcasts and what you can and should not do. Their advice is something you should take to heart if you are thinking of initiating or fine tuning your present earnings conference calls.
In setting up any kind of earnings teleconference, the thing that should be first and foremost on your mind is how to get the word on your corporation out to as many interested parties as possible. Although there is no one way to do this, there are certainly best practices.
If you are planning to hold an earnings teleconference, the best thing is to issue a press release to one or more of the major Internet corporate news sites. Of course, you should also post the date in a position of prominence on your company’s website and if you have a news letter, mention it in that as well. Although you might want to email investors who have asked for information about the company, do not think this is a substitute for a news release.
Information should be provided on the date and time of the call and how it can be accessed. Be sure to contact a service provider, like us, who can simultaneously connect hundreds of callers to your teleconference for this type of meeting.
In terms of other information, if you are going to be presenting financial information in the presentation, be sure the material is posted somewhere on your website or included in the webcast which should be archived on the website as well.
At some point the business traveler who spends countless hours waiting in airports or on runways has to wonder if it is really worth it.
There are times when you really do need to appear at a meeting or event, but there are just as many cases where you find that the expense and hassle of travel may not have been worth it after all.
After the travel arrangements have been made, you are whisked to the airport, you go through security, walk through the terminal to your gate, wait for your flight, return phone calls, spend the flight time reviewing notes—all this before you are arrive at your destination. You may feel as though you already completed a day’s work although your work has yet to begin,
This is where teleconferencing comes in because it allows you to accomplish your communication goals without having to hail one taxi.
When you choose to conduct business by teleconference, you will avoid the hassles of travel. You’ll be more alert and ready for discussion in familiar surroundings. By choosing to teleconference, you can be certain that you have all the up-to-the- minute information you need because you will be in your own office.
You may want to consider the value and importance of copyrighting you audio, video, and PowerPoint conference materials, especially if they are available online for anyone to access. Putting your presentation in PowerPoint rather than word makes it harder to copy and steal (adapt). You can also make your documents permission based, read-only so they cannot be edited. Be sure to include a copyright symbol on the bottom of the page, and at the beginning and end of every recording.
If you are amenable to sharing the information, as long as you or your organization is cited as the source, you can state that policy also.
The point is you want to retain control of your content and your concepts. You may even want to register a copy of your presentation with the Library of Congress (www.loc.gov) in advance, so that if anyone tries to copy or repurpose it, that you will have protection under the Copyright Act. While every document you create IS copyrighted at its inception, filing the copyright gives you protection if you have to mount a lawsuit.
By the same token, if you are using anyone else's content in your presentation, you should call, email, or write them and ask for permission to use their content. If you are just using a sentence or two, you can simply cite it with the proper attribution or website, and you are sufficiently covered.
Be smart. Be honest. Better to be safe than sorry.
Agencies that provide health care can use teleconferencing to confer with and counsel patients.
A network of mental health agencies in Ohio has used teleconferencing technology since the 1990s. They faced several hurdles in training staff and reaching patients, especially in rural areas. Teleconferencing provided a way for them to keep staff up-to-date and communicate with patients who lacked transportation.
At the Woodland Centers there were some questions about how patients would handle talking to a screen, but they found that the technology was a boon to their operations.
In addition to the challenges the agencies faced in instructing their own staff, it was also difficult to find qualified psychiatric staff. They were able to find the staff they needed by offering a teleconferencing option.
For example, a psychiatrist can have patient records sent to a computer in a home office. This file transfer can take place while the professional is teleconferencing with a patient. This way doctors can cut down on travel time to medical facilities.
Continual improvements to technology mean that medical professionals and patients who communicate through teleconferencing can see and hear each other much better than in the past.
Using teleconferencing can benefit health care providers and communities they serve.
For students at community colleges with multiple campuses, it can be a big hassle to travel from campus to campus, sometimes hours away from each other. Thanks to teleconferencing technology, students from any campus can be taught by one teacher in one "virtual classroom." This increases the availability of students to be able to take the course, as well as decreasing the need for multiple teachers a college has to hire to teach one specific course.
This amazing technology makes classroom teaching more educationally efficient, by being able to share pictures, slides, and video, virtually anywhere and to anyone. This idea is also very fuel efficient, as it cuts down on travel for both students and faculty.
Most community colleges in the United States are taking advantage of this astounding breakthrough in the world of virtual interaction. Teleconferencing can be great for almost any subject, especially the sciences, math, liberal arts, history, foreign languages, business, economics, human resources and anything else that involves a great deal of talking and visual learning. With special microphones built into each of the screens, teleconferencing can also be a practical tool for class discussions.
Teleconferencing has changed the traditional classroom into a worldwide network of educational possibilities.