There is a difference between a conference call and an in-house call where a home telephone is used to call three to four other people, and the difference really is one of quality, not quantity.
When using a home telephone to call a small number of people, the caller will generally tend to experience some audio disturbances when the number of participants rises to 4 or more and so the call becomes inaudible.
With professional service providers, each call is routed through a “bridge” which is sophisticated equipment that receives and improves the quality of the signal through separate electronic lines by evening out the volume level so that the listener receives the electronic voice signal clearly.
The strength of the signal is such that it can be likened to a one on one voice conversation even when there are hundreds of people connected to a single call.
Different Types of Calling Conference Rates
Calling Conference rates are derived based on two separate parameters which are the cost of using the bridge and the cost of making a long distance call to the bridge. So most service providers will offer two or more separate calling conference rates which the user can choose from, based on their individual needs.
There is the pay per minute call rate in which the caller dials a toll-free 800 number without incurring any expense but the caller has to pay by the minute and in this plan the host bears the cost of calling into the bridge as well as for using the bridge.
The second plan is one where the host bears only the cost of using the bridge and thus, his or her costs are cut drastically, because all the participants bear their own cost of long distance calling. The costs are thus spread evenly between the host, who pays for use of the bridge and the participants who pay for the long distance calls.
Large companies such as AT&T are more expensive when providing services and the calling conference rate they charge for a typical conference call may be more than US$200 for 10 callers for a 30-minute call.
In comparison, some service provider calling conference rates may amount to just US$50 for a similar call and so it is necessary to research and choose a service provider who will provide an economical calling conference rate.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Conference Calls
To get the best out of your conference call and to economize on calling conference rates it is necessary to firstly have appropriate equipment because hard-wired phones give better audio quality as compared to cell phones, cordless phones or speakerphones tend to pick up too much background noise.
It is also advisable to disable call waiting, introduce yourself on the phone (as people may not recognize your voice) and, in addition, make sure you do not put your phone on hold or get distracted into doing some other task while conducting a conference call.
Finally, do not dilly-dally and end the call clearly so that all participants know that you are signing off.