Nothing can affect the productivity of conference calls more than a bad connection, background noise, or a video call that keeps freezing (leaving behind an awkward image of the presenter). As teams have become more dispersed across locations and time zones, having the right tools to connect them is even more important.
As executive assistants, we play a key role in working out these details, so the executives and teams we support can make the most efficient use of their time.
The best conference calls allow a team to connect, collaborate, and create, even when on the go. With the right tools, you can make this happen! Here are 4 conference call tools that are consistently reliable, work across a variety of different platforms, and are easy to use.
If, for example, the team you support needs to have a brainstorming session on a new media campaign, a tool that allows for visual collaboration is the way to go.
Zoom is a great collaborative tool with a consistently reliable video service. It offers a robust set of tools that include screen sharing options, annotation and white-boarding capabilities, and break out rooms when more focused collaboration is needed.
Even better, Zoom offers a free plan that includes most of these premium features, making this tool a great choice for a smaller company or start-up that needs an affordable option. The free version also includes the capability to host calls with up to 100 participants and allows unlimited calls (as long as they don’t go over 40 minutes).
GoToMeeting is also popular for its video conferencing service, but unlike Zoom, it does not offer a free version with premium features. If you support a larger organization that regularly hosts larger groups (think major corporations hosting a webinar) or that has frequent meetings that need to be recorded, GoToMeeting is a great choice.
Two standout features that make GoToMeeting a great tool for larger groups are that it does not have minimum host requirements and it provides unlimited cloud recordings, transcripts, and storage at its mid-level Pro plan.
GoToMeeting is also a great choice if participants are more likely to call in by phone, with its Call Me audio conferencing feature. Call Me is a toll-free service that the meeting organizer pays per minute, per attendee, providing a very simple, free way for participants to join a call by phone.
Join.me is another popular video conferencing app that is a great option when a quick, easy-to-use choice is needed for a video conference when your executive or team is on the go.
Join.me does not require any downloads for participants to join a call; users just need to click the “start” button to initiate a call or “join” to enter one. The free version allows up to 3 participants and has simple screen-sharing and file transfer capabilities.
A really helpful feature included in the free version is the virtual whiteboard that can be pulled up on a mobile device (iOS only) to sketch ideas and stream them on the call.
UberConference is a popular audio conferencing tool that is a great solution for hosting conference meetings on the phone, web browser, or mobile app. The free service allows up to 10 participants for unlimited, 45-minute calls, and includes premium features such as screen and document sharing and call recording.
Upgrading to the Business plan is affordable, at just $10/per user per month and is a great solution when international call-in options are needed. The Business plan includes international access for over 50 countries. One of the best features in the UberConference Business plan is its “Conference Dial Out” option. Instead of relying on attendees to call in, the “Conference Dial Out” feature will call all participants at a scheduled time.
Conference calls are notorious for wasting time, but with the right tools, you can make sure these meetings are productive and efficient. Conference calls that are done well will have a significant impact in helping your team build relationships, push boundaries, and meet their goals.