HOLDING A SUCCESSFUL AUDIOCONFERENCE

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Dr. S. Ann Earon, President

Telemanagement Resources International Inc. (TRI)

609-597-6334 phone

www.IMCCA.org | www.TRIInc.com | Email: AnnEaron@AOL.COM

The workhorse of the conferencing industry, audioconferencing is the most widely used form of teleconferencing technology. The growth in conference calling has been meteoric and users need to be better prepared to hold effective calls. Gone are the days when the only conference phones available were microphones inside telephones or stand-alone, "squawkboxes" and push-to-talk microphones, basic conference units whose quality left much to be desired. In their place are sophisticated, yet easy to use conference units that make the audio seem as though the individuals are in the room with you. Today, the audioconference is the most used, easiest, and most transparent of teleconferencing technologies. It is so simple that, in many cases, it is taken for granted and not always used as effectively as possible. Following are useful suggestions for making audioconferencing successful.

PLANNING

The first step to effective audioconferencing is planning. This is especially important when the conference involves many sites. The following steps make the process easier:

Determine Need: What problems can be resolved using audioconferencing? How can audioconferencing effectively speed-up the work process

Target Objectives: What do you wish to accomplish as a result of holding an audioconference? Can the results be measured? What kind of performance is expected by the individuals attending? How will you know when the objectives have been met

Identify Resources: Who should participate? What support materials are needed

Set Constraints: What factors might have a negative impact on the success of the audioconference? Will enough time be allotted to prepare for and hold the conference? Is funding available for equipment and conference calling services?

Develop a Project Plan: Develop a project plan to meet your objectives, resources, and constraints.

Implement the Plan: Manage the audioconference and the project plan.

Evaluate the Experience: Conduct a brief survey to determine if the audioconference was successful in helping to meet the objectives of the meeting.

CALL PREPARATION

Once proper planning has taken place, preparation should be made for the conference call to ensure the correct equipment, timing, and location for the conference. The following tips support the call preparation effort:

MODERATOR TIPS

A moderator should be identified for the audioconference. This individual will act as the focal point for conducting the call and ensuring its smooth operation.

The tips below are provided as suggestions to support the moderatorís efforts.

PARTICIPANT TIPS

Effective audioconfererncing means that participants also have an important role to play and can learn from the experience of others. The following suggestions apply to audioconference participants.

Following the above steps will make an audioconference more comfortable and productive for all.