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How tech is improving conference calling

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With remote work becoming the norm for the way we do business as the coronavirus spreads, conference calling is essential to efficient and effective communication. Useful as they are, however, conference calls have developed a bad name for their lack of user-friendliness, and their inconsistent audio quality.

Almost everyone seems to dread conference call days, and many feel like their time is wasted when they have to attend an online meeting.

The remedy to these complaints is in the hardware and software we use to do business. In order to make the most of modern technology’s reach and capabilities, you need the best tools at your disposal.

Here, we will examine what to look for in your conference calling software, and which headsets support the best audio experience, so you can always be confident your online meetings are productive, and your communication is effective.

What to look for in your conference calling software

Though there are tons of conference calling services out there, not all software is created equally. Some systems have undependable sound and video quality, and they are complicated to set up and difficult to use. Have you ever spent the first several minutes of your meeting just trying to help everyone join?

How about talking for what feels like an hour only to realize no one has been able to hear you for the last five minutes? Investing in the right software will save you time and frustration, getting you closer to closing the deal with a smile.

Find software that offers easy options for participants to join your meeting. Services like Vast Conference streamline the process by integrating with your Google Calendar, Outlook Plugin, or Office 365, so you can schedule meetings and send invitations right from your calendar.

When you schedule a conference, the service automatically creates template meeting invites with the meeting and joining information included. All you have to do is select invitees. Participants join your meeting simply by clicking on the link provided, or by calling the number in your invitation.

In addition to conference calling software that makes it easy to join your meetings, look for high-quality HD video and sound, so you can be sure your message is always heard. When you come across crystal clear to your clients and remote employees, you instill trust that you have it together and know what you are doing. Don’t let technical difficulties kill your confidence.

The final element of good conference calling software is full sharing and meeting flow control capabilities. You want your points to pop to your clients, and you want to get your remote workers all on the same page.

Sharing your screen and files in real-time to run a demo or enhance your presentation brings down the learning curve, boosting comprehension and retention.

Meeting flow controls help you minimize productivity-killers, by allowing you full control of who speaks and when. You can either let participants mute and unmute themselves, or you can be in charge, in order to cut down on interruptions.

You can manage multiple presenters, send and receive private messages from participants, and get operator assistance for the most important calls.

The best headsets for your conference calls

If you don’t already know that you need a headset for better conference calls, this section is about to change your life. The built-in microphone in the device you use for your call—even if it’s a mobile—distorts your voice so that you do not sound like you.

It picks up distracting background noise, and it may even result in an echo or tinny quality to the sound on the other end of the line.

Your clients and coworkers want to hear your voice without distractions or special effects, and a simple investment in a quality headset should take care of the problem. Here are the best headsets BusinessWomanMedia has reviewed to upgrade your conference calls to the next level — with one in each price range:

1. Jabra Engage Series $370 – $450

While on the more expensive side as headsets are concerned, this is truly the best headset you can buy for your conference calls. The powerful noise cancellation feature contributes to a flawless call, where meeting participants can hear your true voice as if you were there.

  • Battery life: Up to 13 hours
  • 330 – 490 ft wireless range
  • Connect 2 – 5 devices
  • Multiple Wearing Styles
  • Control call from base or headset
  • Some come with 2-directional microphone
  • Quick Charge
  • 1-year warranty

2. Plantronics 700 Series $103 – $150

In the mid-price range, this is an excellent selection for when you have occasional conference calls, but they are not a daily necessity. The Bluetooth-enabled device comes in a wired option as well, and it features smart-sensor technology that answers calls when you put the headset on.

  • Noise-canceling technology
  • Flexible microphone
  • Connect multiple devices
  • Hi-fi stereo sound
  • Up to 10 hours of talk time

3. Microsoft LifeChat LX-6000 $35 – $55

Inexpensive and comfortable, the Microsoft Lifechat is an excellent choice for when you are just getting started with conference calls. Be aware that this headset only connects to your PC with Windows installed, and it is wired.

  • Inline volume control
  • Noise-canceling
  • Flexible microphone

About Peta McGrath

Peta McGrath is an accomplished marketing and career advisor, specialising in helping women develop their best possible strategies for career and business advancement.

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