A conference call is a telephone call in which the calling party wishes to have more than one called party listen in to the audio portion of the call. The conference calls may be designed to allow the called party to participate during the call, or the call may be set up so that the called party merely listens into the call and cannot speak. It is sometimes called ATC (Audio Tele-Conference).
Conference calls can be designed so that the calling party calls the other participants and adds them to the call; however, participants are usually able to call into the conference call themselves by dialing a telephone number that connects to a "conference bridge" (a specialized type of equipment that links telephone lines).
Companies commonly use a specialized service provider who maintains the conference bridge, or who provides the phone numbers and PIN codes that participants dial to access the meeting or conference call.
The more limited Three-way calling is available (usually at an extra charge) on home or office phone lines. For a three-way call, the first called party is dialed. Then the Hook flash button (or recall button) is pressed and the other called party's phone number is dialed. While it is ringing, flash / recall is pressed again to connect the three people together. This option allows callers to add a second outgoing call to an already connected call.
Face-to-face business meetings have been carried out for centuries, but telephone conferencing is the new, exciting kid on the block. With the medium still being fairly new some people are still fairly unfamiliar with conference calling, and the ins and outs of this fantastic and efficient means of communication.
A conference call is a meeting, conducted over the phone using audio, between two or more people and usually for the purposes of discussing a particular topic. There are many different terms used other than “conference call” which mean the same thing, such as teleconference, telephone conferencing, telephone meeting, voice conference, audio conference, or conferencing call. Although you can use a landline telephone to hold a Powwownow conference call, you can also use a mobile phone or a computer with an internet connection and Skype.
Businesses use conference calls instead of face-to-face meetings for a variety of reasons.
Voice calls are often used for purely practical reasons such as trying to save on time and money by keeping staff in the office or at home rather than travelling to meetings, dealing with international clients who they cannot meet face-to-face, and increasing efficiency by conducting focused discussions. However, audio conferencing and web conferencing are also frequently used to hold press conferences, make company-wide announcements, conduct focus groups, provide technical support to customers and colleagues, and for staff training purposes. Charities also use them to connect their aid workers during times of crisis and for training up staff in remote locations, so it’s not just businesses that can benefit from teleconferences! There are all sorts of reasons you might choose to use conference calling over a face-to-face meeting. So no matter what business you’re in, or who you need to communicate with, having access to a great free conference call service will always be a significant advantage!