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Enterprise Audio Conferencing (Teleconferencing)
  1. How does an Enterprise Conference Call differ from other Conference Calls?
  2. What are Enterprise-level Conference Calls used for?
  3. What equipment do I need for a Conference Call?
  4. How do I prepare for a Conference Call?
  5. How do I start a Conference Call?
  6. How can I improve my Conference Calls?
Enterprise Web Conferencing
  1. How does an Enterprise Web Conference differ from other Web Conferences?
  2. What are Enterprise Web Conferences used for?
  3. How do I prepare for a Web Conference?
  4. What equipment do I need for a Web Conference?
  5. How do I start a Web Conference?
  6. How can I improve my Web Conferences?
Enterprise Video Conferencing
  1. What is Video Conferencing?
  2. What are Video Conferences used for?
  3. How do I prepare for a Video Conference?
  4. What equipment do I need for a Video Conference?
  5. How do I start a Video Conference?
  6. How can I improve my Video Conferences?

Enterprise Audio Conferencing
  1. How does an Enterprise Conference Call differ from other Conference Calls?
    Enterprise Conference Calls may require conference call services that can support large calls, offer red carpet services for important callers, or offer security features like entry announcements and conference locking. In general, Enterprise-level conferencing frequently requires premium services to ensure quality and reliability.
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  2. What are Enterprise-level Conference Calls used for?
    As with all levels of conferencing, Enterprise-level Conference Calls are used for remote business meetings, including international and interoffice meetings, interviews, and presentations and briefings. These collaborative calls come in handy any time knowledge sharing or discussion between multiple parties is necessary, especially when the parties involved are in different locations. Reservationless Conference Calls are quick and easy enough to initiate that they can also be used on the fly, as when small discussions suddenly become more involved, or when an off-site teammate needs to introduce a new idea to the in-office group. Reserved Conference Calls are used for large calls, formal calls, or calls requiring special features beyond those offered by reservationless services.
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  3. What equipment do I need for a Conference Call?
    Any telephone can be used for a conference call, even a cell phone. Some groups use a speaker phone to share the proceedings of an in-office meeting with an offsite party; some users prefer to have a headset-style telephone in order to keep their hands free to take notes and to avoid making noises by tapping or dropping the receiver. A good feature to look for in a conferencing phone is the ability to mute, or stop, your voice transmission so that your background noise won't be heard by all of the participants; many conferencing services, however, offer mute as an IVR (in-call touchtone) feature so that participants can mute themselves regardless of their phones' capabilities.
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  4. How do I prepare for a Conference Call?
    First, find as quiet a location as possible to reduce background noise. Then, prepare just as you would for a normal meeting: review the agenda, gather your note-taking supplies, and make note of any questions or additional points you would like to share during the call. Many people prefer to take notes using pen and paper during a Conference Call, especially if they are not able to mute their phones (typing noise carries very well over the telephone). If you will be using any new or unfamiliar equipment, test it prior to the meeting to be sure that you understand its operation. Join the call at least 5 minutes before its start time to allow yourself time to work out any equipment problems.

    For the Host: It is advisable to send out the call agenda at least one week in advance, along with call instructions, so that participants can prepare accordingly. A participant roster is often a nice inclusion with this email, as it offers an opportunity to highlight key participants and give all of the callers a clear idea of the scope of the meeting. As the Conference Call host, make sure you join the call at least 10 minutes before its scheduled start time since no callers can join until you have begun the call. You, too, will want to have a quiet location from which to call.
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  5. How do I start a Conference Call?
    There are two methods of joining a Conference Call (even for the host). The most familiar is to call a local or toll-free number and enter your conference code (these numbers and codes will be provided by the host). A new, even more convenient way to join a call is by web dial-out: the host enters the participants' telephone numbers (including his own) into an online form, and ConferenceCalls.com automatically dials each participant. Through this method, joining a Conference Call is as simple as answering the phone.
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  6. How can I improve my Conference Calls?
    The best way to improve a Conference Call is to behave as if you are in a face-to-face meeting: come prepared, don't interrupt, and give the call your full attention. The Conference Call environment does differ somewhat from a normal meeting, so here are some expert tips for improving the productivity and success of your Conference Calls:
    • Send the meeting agenda and any relevant documents to participants at least one week in advance to allow time for preparation. Since there will be no "live" visuals to accompany the call, the agenda is even more important than in a regular meeting, as it enables participants to follow along and structure their expectations accordingly. You may also want to remind the participants to arrive early, test their equipment, and to use the mute button; it might not be a bad idea to include a link to these tips to avoid any other Conference Call faux pas.
    • Check the time zones of your participants, and be sure that everyone knows what time zone is used when announcing your scheduled Conference Call start time. Try not to schedule any late-night Conference Calls for international participants or 5 a.m. meetings for those on the West Coast.
    • Test your equipment beforehand, and test it again just prior to the call. No one wants to listen as you fumble for the mute switch, breathe heavily into a maladjusted microphone, or cut in and out over a malfunctioning headset.
    • Arrive early on the day of the call to allow time for equipment concerns, but also to ensure that you don't miss the introductions or, worst of all, the first agenda item; remember that your clock might differ from the host's.
    • For any speaker, but especially if you will be the host, be sure to monitor the speed, volume, and attitude of your speech. Speak at a moderate rate (it is common during Conference Calls for speakers to speak too quickly, either out of habit or because of the lack of accompanying visuals), keep your personal and microphone volume at an appropriate level, and be as vocally engaging as your content allows. Trust us, everyone has participated in a Conference Call that was led by a booming, out-of-breath auctioneer; while this is good lunchroom humor, it does not make for effective communication.
    • Avoid background noise as much as possible. Close the door or use a vacant office, and mute your phone while you are not speaking. Your typing, chewing, instant messaging, side conversation, paper rustling, and coffee-drinking noises will be heard clearly by all of your colleagues.
    • Did we mention to use the mute button? Make sure you know which position is which -- do not make the mistake of assuming that your phone is muted. If your phone does not have mute functionality, the in-call touchtone features also offer a mute option.
    • Do not put the Conference Call on hold -- your hold music will be played for all of the participants.
    • Identify yourself by name (and, if applicable, location) before speaking. Do not assume that your voice will be recognized, even if you are the presenter; many people sound alike over the telephone, and background noise, speaker phones, and cell phones can all distort your voice.
    • Take turns when speaking. Most connections only allow for one speaker at a time, so if you interrupt another speaker, his phrase may be lost entirely. Be sure to allow frequent pauses so that participants can interject their ideas.
    • If you are presenting, call on participants by name. This helps to avoid interruptions, to include all of the callers, and to make sure that no one's attention has wandered.
    • Follow the agenda as closely as you can, and make sure that its scope is appropriate for the call. Most people have a Conference Call attention span of only an hour or two.
    • If your call runs longer than 90 minutes, be considerate and offer a 5-minute "bio break."
    • If you are using a Conference Call along with an in-office meeting, be sure not to forget about your callers. Do not refer to visuals they do not have (consider sending a copy of the presentation just prior to the meeting, or including the callers via Web Conference).
    • Ask the participants for feedback at the end of the call, or send a quick email survey, to learn how you can improve for your next Conference Call. Be sure to ask about pacing, amount of content, and ease of use.
    • Send a follow-up email within a day of the Conference Call to review the key points and highlight any actionable items.
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Enterprise Web Conferencing
  1. How does an Enterprise Web Conference differ from other Web Conferences?
    Enterprise Web Conferences may require conferencing services that can support large groups, offer advanced security options and firewall compatibility, or offer features like an integrated conferencing environment, video conferencing, and advanced collaboration tools. In general, Enterprise-level web conferencing frequently requires premium services to ensure cross-system compatibility and consistency.
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  2. What are Enterprise Web Conferences used for?
    Enterprise Web Conferences, like those at other levels of web conferencing, are currently used for Sales and Marketing presentations, international and multi-site business Meetings, interviews, Training and Education, Webinars, and much more. This method of conferencing is robust enough to be used for any small to medium group communication, and can dramatically reduce or eliminate travel expenses. While Web Conferencing can be used for formal or regularly scheduled meetings, it is quick and easy enough to initiate that it can be used for ad hoc collaboration. Frequently, meeting participants need more than audio to capture their attention; with Web Conferencing, your audio content is accompanied by a visual presentation or demonstration in real time that can help highlight and clarify your key points.
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  3. How do I prepare for a Web Conference?
    Before the Web Conference begins, review the meeting agenda and be sure that you understand the login instructions. Be sure to log in to the conference at least 5 minutes prior to its scheduled start time to allow yourself time to get familiar with the environment. If you will be participating in an accompanying Audio Conference, be sure to review the information above.
    For the Host: It is advisable to send out the Web Conference agenda at least one week in advance, along with login instructions, so that participants can prepare accordingly. If appropriate, a participant roster is often a nice inclusion with this email, as it offers an opportunity to highlight key presenters and give all of the participants a clear idea of the scope of the meeting. As the Web Conference host, make sure you join the conference at least 10 minutes before its scheduled start time since no participants can join until you have begun the call.
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  4. What equipment do I need for a Web Conference?
    All you need to join a Web Conference is a computer with an Internet connection and, if you will be participating in an accompanying Audio Conference, a telephone. While any telephone can be used for an Audio Conference, some additional tips on selecting a phone can be found >above. When simultaneously participating in Web and Audio Conferences, it is highly recommended to use a telephone with a mute capability, as keyboard and mouse noise carries very well (and will be broadcast to all of your fellow callers); application and other computer noise will be broadcast as well, so if you can not mute your telephone, consider turning off your computer's speakers.
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  5. How do I start a Web Conference?
    For detailed assistance in starting your Web Conference, please refer to the resources in the Help section.
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  6. How can I improve my Web Conferences?
    The best way to improve your Web Conference is to behave as if you are in a face-to-face meeting: come prepared, and don't use this time to surf the Web or catch up on email. Since there is no setup or pre-meeting mingling, Web Conferencing is frequently more efficient and productive than in-person meetings. Be sure to take a look at our Audio Conferencing tips to maximize the audio component of your Web Conference. Here are some expert tips on how to keep your Web Conferences productive and successful:
    • Plan ahead, especially if you are the presenter. Know what content needs to be covered, and how; whether you use a presentation, application sharing, chat, or a combination of these features, make sure your content is effective and appropriate for your audience and time constraints. Remember that most Web Conference participants only have an attention span of 1-2 hours.
    • Check the time zones of your participants, and be sure that everyone knows what time zone is used when announcing your scheduled Web Conference start time. Try not to schedule any late-night Web Conferences for international participants or 5 a.m. meetings for those on the West Coast.
    • Test your presentation beforehand, and test your Web Conferencing connection and equipment. While everything should run smoothly, any complications that may arise are better taken care of prior to your meeting, especially if you are presenting to a large group.
    • Arrive at least 5 minutes before the scheduled start time if you are a participant, and at least 10 minutes early if you are the presenter (remember, no one can join your Web Conference until the presenter has signed in). This allows you time to test your Web Conferencing tools and equipment and to ensure that you are well-prepared for the conference.
    • Keep your content simple and engaging. If you are using a PowerPoint presentation, be sure that you are not merely reading your slides to your audience. Try not to narrate any processes that you would not highlight during a face-to-face meeting; for example, if you are using the Remote Control feature to demonstrate an application directly on a participant's desktop, don't belabor the participant's connection speed, settings, or work habits for the benefit of the other participants. While Web Conferences allow for a greater level of collaboration, they also demand concise content and a well-prepared, knowledgeable presenter.
    • If your Web Conference runs longer than 90 minutes, be considerate and offer your participants a brief "bio break."
    • Have any documents that you will be sharing prepared and, if possible, uploaded to your conference in advance.
    • Make use of the available interactive features. You can highlight and add pointers to static slides or documents in order to guide your participants' attention and keep things interesting.
    • Use polls (quizzes) to make sure that your key points are being understood. You can design your polls in advance and offer them as the presentation goes along; you can also create polls to keep track of your participants' interest levels and to encourage participation. Guided questions (e.g. "Are this new feature and its use clear?") are more effective than general questions such as "Are there any questions?" For basic or yes/no questions, participants can simply use the "raise hand" feature to respond.
    • If you will be covering more than one topic, remember that you can pass control of the Web Conference to another participant. You can use this feature to allow experts from other offices or departments to share presenter responsibilities and offer the best available content to your audience.
    • Be prepared for Q&A. It is commonplace to set aside a few minutes after a presentation or meeting to address questions that were not answered during the event. Participants can ask questions directly to the host, and the host can choose to keep it one-on-one or broadcast the answer to the whole group.

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Enterprise Video Conferencing
  1. What is a Video Conference?
    A Video Conference is another type of live meeting that is conducted over the Internet. During a Video Conference, the host and, sometimes optionally, participants are shown in the conference window via streaming video feeds, bringing participants nearly face to face. As during conferences, files and applications can be shared, presentations can be delivered, and participants can communicate via voice or online messaging.

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  2. What are Video Conferences used for?
    Video Conferences are used to bring an even stronger personal or human presence to online Sales and Marketing presentations, international and multi-site business Meetings, interviews, Training and Education, and other online meetings. Some products or presentations may require the additional information that only Video Conferencing can provide.

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  3. How do I prepare for a Video Conference?
    Before the Video Conference begins, review the meeting agenda and be sure that you understand the login instructions and equipment requirements. Be sure to log in to the conference at least 5 minutes prior to its scheduled start time to allow yourself time to get familiar with the environment and test your equipment..

    For the Host: It is advisable to send out the Video Conference agenda at least one week in advance, along with login instructions and equipment requirements, so that participants can prepare accordingly. As the Video Conference host, make sure you join the conference at least 20 minutes before its scheduled start time to allow ample time for participants to log in and test their connections prior to the meeting.

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  4. What equipment do I need for a Video Conference?
    To participate in a video conference as only a viewer (someone who can watch the video but interacts only via the web and audio services), you need no additional equipment beyond what is required for web conferencing: a computer with an Internet connection and a web browser, and possibly a telephone.

    To participate in a video conference via video, web, and audio, you will also need a webcam (web camera) that is capable of streaming video. Many laptops feature built-in cameras that are ideal for video conferences.

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  5. How do I start a Video Conference?
    For detailed assistance in starting your Video Conference, please refer to the resources in the Help section

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  6. How can I improve my Video Conferences?
    The best way to improve your Video Conferences is to behave as if you are in a face-to-face meeting: come prepared, be engaging or participative, and avoid multitasking. Be sure to take a look at our Audio and Web Conferencing tips to maximize the audio and web components of your Video Conference. Here are some expert tips on how to keep your Video Conferences productive and successful:
    • Don't move around more than is necessary; your movement will distract your audience and may lower your video quality.
    • Wear solid, neutral colors to be portrayed most accurately on any video equipment.
    • Show important visuals onscreen rather than via video to ensure that participants can see your documents or other information clearly.
    • Speak slowly and clearly to ensure that your audience can easily comprehend your presentation.
    • Follow the tips for Web and Audio conferencing to improve the structure, content, and pace of your presentation. Be especially sure to test your equipment prior to a video conference - the more equipment you're using, the more chances there ar for unforeseen events.

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