3 awesome tweets about conference calls

Posted by Vivienne New

10-Feb-2015 09:28:00

It's no secret that conference calls aren't most people's favourite thing to do. If they're not conducted correctly they can be very unproductive. These 3 amusing tweets show how conference calls can be unappreciated by their participants.

express virtual meetings

But this doesn't have to be the case! If you follow these simple tips, you have the best chance of ensuring that your participants engage with the discussion.

  1. Limit attendees

    Only invite people who are relevant to the agenda. If you plan your meeting agenda in advance and stick to it, you can even invite particular people just for the part of the meeting that concerns them. 

  2. Understand the technology you're using

    There's nothing more irritating than wasting the first 20 minutes of a meeting because somebody is having issues joining the conference. Take some time before the call to make sure you understand how to use your technology.

  3. Don't abuse the technology

    Just because you can join a conference call from a train station, doesn't mean you should. All that noise is going to disrupt the meeting and nobody will thank you for it. Be respectful of your colleagues.

  4. Keep the meeting brief and stick to the schedule

    So many people these days are time poor and will not appreciate being kept in a meeting longer than necessary. Make sure you know what the point of the meeting is and try to achieve that goal as quickly as possible.

  5. Come prepared

    You're unlikely to be able to keep your meeting brief if nobody has come prepared. Send out the agenda and any necessary documentation to participants beforehand, so everyone can prepare questions in advance. 

  6. Use the mute button

    If you have to multi-task while on a conference call, remember to use the mute button! Nobody else wants to hear you eating, typing or telling off your barking dog. When you want to contribute, simply unmute yourself. You can read a list of other useful conferencing tools on our website.
    Additionally, don't take another call while you're on a conference call - you will be blasting your hold music into the whole conference, which may need to be stopped while you finish your call! How embarrassing. 

  7. Build rapport

    The lack of visual cues during a conference call makes it harder to pay attention and can make many people hesitant to speak up. This won't make for a very successful meeting so if you have people who don't know each other, encourage them to introduce themselves and briefly explain their role in the project so everyone feels at ease with each other.

  8. Switch the meeting time around

    If you're conferencing with people in other time zones, try to schedule your meetings at times that aren't always inconvenient for the same person. If one conference occurs out of office hours for your colleague in the UK, then schedule the next call outside of your own office hours to make it fair. 

  9. Be on time

    This seems straightforward but is something that a lot of people complain about in regards to conference calls. It is incredibly annoying when the discussion keeps being interrupted by beeps and names being announced. 


When you need to communicate with people in other states or countries, conference calls are indispensable. Following these tips should ensure that your conferences are hitch-free.

 

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Topics: Conferencing Services, DIY Audio Conferencing

2 easy ways to embrace creativity and help your employees

Posted by Vivienne New

28-Jan-2015 13:52:09

creativity

Edward de Bono once said, “Creativity is a great motivator because it makes people interested in what they are doing. Creativity gives hope that there can be a worthwhile idea. Creativity gives the possibility of some sort of achievement to everyone. Creativity makes life more fun and more interesting.

A recent study from The Creative Group has found that workers want their companies to embrace creativity to help make the best of their skills.

The TCG survey found that 7 out of every 10 creative professionals said their firms aren't imaginative enough regarding how goals are set and reached. More than one-quarter (28 per cent) of respondents also said they don't feel empowered by their employers to approach their projects in a creative way.

If your company and employees are suffering from a severe lack of creativity, you can improve it straightaway by implementing these two easy changes.

1. Increase your use of visual resources

The world has become an increasingly visual place. Images are widely used to great effect, infographics have replaced hard data and we use emoticons in our text messages to show our emotions.

The reason for this is because decision-makers, among other professionals, are increasingly time-poor and need to access easily understandable information quickly. Visual representations of data are much easier to digest!

Presenting information concisely in a pie chart, a bar graph or any other visual platform is a far greater way to share information. Images can also convey key points in an interesting way, which can dramatically help improve information retention.

2. Share your knowledge

Edward de Bono also said, “Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” A business can learn from this by having several people or teams collaborating on projects and giving creative people the freedom to discuss ideas and question the status quo.

Conference call services allow large numbers of people to collaborate on the same project at the same time. A conference call is easy to set up and Ozlink can customise your account to suit your business needs.

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Topics: Conferencing Services, DIY Audio Conferencing

Achieve your 2015 goals with strategic planning and conference calls

Posted by Vivienne New

15-Jan-2015 11:40:00

Ozlink helps businesses achieve their 2015 goals


The beginning of a new year means businesses start their strategic planning for the year ahead. It is important to know where your business is headed in 2015 and how you’re going to achieve both your short- and long-term goals.

The best way to keep a company heading in the right direction is to make sure your chief marketing officers (CMOs) and chief information officers (CIOs) have a joint planning strategy regarding how the business is going to move ahead in 2015, as they are best placed to offer customer insight.

Cliff Condon of Forrester Research says, “In my role as chief research officer, one thing is now clear to me: the two roles that matter most for 2015 are the CIO and the CMO - their relationship and joint strategy to boost the business will determine the future of any corporation."

Employees with the best customer knowledge can be put in charge of strategic decisions across businesses of all sizes. The important part, regardless of business size, is how the CMOs and CIOs work together on this joint operation. Communication between the two is essential, and can determine the success or failure of your strategic planning goals.

Forrester found that this communication barrier could be an issue for many businesses. When asked whether their CMOs and CIOs develop a technology strategy together before allocating a budget, 53% of people in marketing and 43% in technology management said they did not. Additionally, 49% of both departments said technologies aren't decided upon and adopted as a joint decision, which is crucial to effective strategic planning.

To successfully put customer experience at the heart of your business, communication between the CMO and CIO must be prioritised. A simple conference call can work wonders in keeping whole departments up to date - whether they are located nationally or internationally.

A conference call is an ideal way to communicate with everybody involved throughout the whole strategic planning process. You can keep everyone in your business abreast of your strategy for as little as 6c per user per minute with Ozlink Conferencing’s low cost service

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Topics: Teleconferencing, Conferencing Services, DIY Audio Conferencing

Happy Holidays from Ozlink!

Posted by Vivienne New

23-Dec-2014 10:00:00

santa
The big man in the sleigh says it’s time for him to begin work and for you to stop!

It’s been a pleasure working with you this year. We hope you’ve enjoyed conferencing with us, and we look forward to working with you again next year.

Festive greetings from all of us here at Ozlink Conferencing. We hope you have a safe and happy break.

Our office will close at 1pm on Christmas Eve and reopen on January 5th 2015.

Don’t forget, if you do need to teleconference over the holidays, you can! Simply notify your guests of the date and time of the conference, and the dial-in numbers and guest codes they’ll need, and start conferencing!

Here's a reminder of how to do it.


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Topics: Conferencing Services, DIY Audio Conferencing

3 ways to improve productivity in the workplace

Posted by Vivienne New

18-Dec-2014 10:00:00

visualsIt's always a running battle for businesses trying to lift the productivity of their workplace. On investigation, employers can discover whether the issues are based around the environment of the office and impacting the whole team, or only affecting individual workers.

Whatever it is, business leaders have to try and stop those factors and implement ways of lifting the level of productivity. This can be difficult to achieve but once good ideas are introduced efficiency levels will soar.

Here are three ways companies can increase their productivity.

Encourage breaks

This may seem like an idea that employers can joke about, but it isn't. While they may be productive at the start of the day, employees who sit at desks all day soon lose focus and the ability to do work at the high standards that are expected of them.

According to a 2011 study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a break can do wonders for brain activity and allows new ideas to flow later in the day. So for the benefit of the company, sometimes employees just need to stop working.

Set targets

Setting goals and incentives for everyone in the workplace is an excellent way of reinvigorating productivity levels. If employees have something to aim for, there is at least a direction for everyone in the company to be traveling toward together.

A 2013 study from Denmark's Aarhus University found that when people knew what they were supposed to be doing, they trusted each other more and worked better as a team.

Add technology

Ingraining technology such as audio conferencing can also help employees conduct business more efficiently. This is because it allows multiple clients or employees to work together at the same time, no matter where they are in the world.

Conferencing allows decisions to be made in a more timely manner, and businesses can benefit from less time waiting for clients to arrive at the main office.

This means employees have more time to focus on tasks such as meeting preparation, which can make or break business deals.

Ozlink conferencing offers cheap, hassle-free audio conferencing.

Take advantage of our 7 day free trial now!

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Manage your meetings more effectively with Ozlink conference calls

Posted by Vivienne New

11-Dec-2014 10:00:00

manageOffice workers spend thousands of hours in meetings every year. Meetings are a great way to pass along information to large numbers of people all at once, while also giving them the opportunity to contribute. However they can be less than ideal if not managed properly.

Five common business meeting complaints are:

  1. Disorganised/rambling meetings
  2. Interruption from individuals
  3. Mobile phone interruptions
  4. People falling asleep
  5. Long meetings without refreshments

These issues could be significantly reduced by using conference calls. As well as reducing the time and travel costs associated with travelling to conferences, by quickly and effectively connecting people from anywhere in the world, conference calls can make your meetings more efficient, eliminating these problems.

Here are 3 ideas for reducing these problems using Ozlink conference calls:

  1. Make a plan
    To avoid disorganised and rambling conference, make sure that you plan your meeting in advance. Have an agenda for your call and make sure that you stick to it! This will reduce the chances of your meetings running overtime. 

  2. Guest entry on mute
    The host can choose to mute all guests entering the conference call, so that they are prevented from interrupting until the presentation has been made. They can then be given the opportunity to contribute and ask questions at the end. This also eliminates mobile phone interruptions. You can see our feature information (including muting) on our website. 


  3. Freedom to multitask
    Because conference calls can be conducted from the comfort of your home or office, the participant is free to multitask if necessary. This means they can eat lunch while on the call, avoiding any growling stomachs!

Here is some more information about running a successful conference call. Happy conferencing!

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How to achieve a good work/life balance

Posted by Vivienne New

04-Dec-2014 10:00:00

Ozlink conferencing

According to a recent study by the Australian Institute, millions of workers are struggling to create a balance between their personal and professional lives.

A healthy work/life balance keeps workers productive and satisfied, and lacking this balance can have significant consequences on both their relationships and their mental and physical well being.

The study, named Walking the tightrope: Have Australians achieved work/life balance?, found that while 29% of workers have seen their work/life balance improve over the last five years and a similar amount had seen no change at all, a staggering 42% of workers reported that their work/life balance had worsened over the last 5 years.

This is mainly due to an increase in working hours. On average, Australians work an extra 6 hours of unpaid overtime per week. There were many reasons given for why Australians are working so many hours of unpaid overtime, including:

  • they were expected to work longer hours
  • their position had become insecure
  • they felt they couldn’t change their working hours without harming their career prospects
  • they’d changed their job, or
  • their management were not open to them working flexible hours

Those who said their work/life balance had improved listed several reasons for why this was the case, including:

  • they changed job
  • they reduced their working hours
  • they took leave, or
  • they changed manager

While the study showed that 77% of employees believe that their companies should do more to help them find a work/life balance, both employers and employees are responsible for ensuring that everyone achieves a healthy balance. As employers have more power than employees in facilitating this, it is partly up to them to make sure that this goal is negotiated with their employees. The study also showed that when employees requested flexible working arrangements, their request was granted in a majority of cases.

A bad work/life balance can be one of the main contributing factors towards employees jumping ship to a competitor. Even if they remain with their company, not receiving the amount of pay they are working for can be a massive hit to motivation, so it’s important for employers to address this issue. Conference call services can help in a number of ways.

Conference call services allow workers to conduct business from their home or office, or even from the field. This versatility can really help improve the work/life balance of those who use it, as meetings can be held easily out of hours without workers having to return to the office, or stay late.

Ozlink Conferencing provides a service that takes the hassle out of conferencing, saving workers time by allowing them to communicate messages to large numbers of people simultaneously. The calls can also be recorded, so those important meetings that happen outside of business hours can be relayed to other colleagues all at once, rather than repeating it to everyone individually. The recordings can also be used for company minutes or for future reference. Here's some information on our available conferencing features.

The worrying thing is that more than a third of people believe that taking steps towards achieving a work/life balance, such as reducing their hours, would harm their career. While workers would like to reduce their working hours, most said they would be unwilling to take a pay reduction in order to improve their work/life balance. It seems that financial factors create a major barrier to achieving that balance. Employers and employees need to work together to make sure that everyone can achieve as much of a balance between their work and their private life as possible.

If you don't already have a conferencing account, contact us using the button below to set one up and help everyone in your company achieve that perfect work/life balance. Here's some information on how Ozlink conference calls work.

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Topics: Conferencing Services, DIY Audio Conferencing

Would You Like Your Conference Call Recorded?

Posted by Vivienne New

26-Nov-2014 11:00:00

Would you like a permanent record of your conference call for minutes or other future reference? Ozlink Conferencing can record your conference call!

Ozlink Conferencing 

You can record your meeting for a flat fee of $10, no matter how long your conference is. You can either have your account set up to automatically record all of your conferences, or you can choose to have the host initiate recordings on a conference by conference basis. Your recording will be stored on our secure server and will be available for download in .WAV format from our website for 28 days. You can access your recordings here:

Go to my recordings

Learn more about our other features on our website

Here are some host management tips for a successful conference - use your telephone keypad to perform the following functions:

  • Mute all guests: 250#
  • Unmute all guests: 200#
  • Individual guests can mute and unmute themselves: *6 (to mute and unmute)
  • Lock or unlock the conference: *7 (to lock and unlock)
  • Take a roll call: *0*6*7
  • Record your conference call: *2*1 (to begin and end recording)
  • Participant count: 999#
  • Terminate the conference call: *9
  • Make your recording available for replay: contact us to request your replay code, then dial 1800424416 (toll free) and enter your replay code (charges apply).

Other available features include:

  • Guest entry on mute
  • Participant name record and announce
  • Project code on entry
  • Personal Identification Numbers
  • Announced roll call
  • Conference QuickStart

To find out more about any of these features or to add them to your account setup, please contact us. 

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Understanding Conferencing

Guest and Host Codes: the organiser is provided with a unique Host Code and Guest Code.
Host Code: This number should be kept confidential and is used by the account owner to start a conference call.
Guest Code: This number is sent to guests who are required to join the conference. Guests will be prompted to enter this code to access the conference.

Holding a Conference:
Holding a conference is simple and straight forward. There's only 3 steps:
1. Arrange the meeting and send all the details, including the dial-in numbers and Guest Code to the guests.
2. At the time of the conference, the host dials in and enters the Host Code followed by #. The guests dial in and enter the Guest Code followed by #.
3. Start conferencing!

Choosing which number to use:
Knowing which numbers to use for every situation can save you money and time.

National Toll Free: use this number when you have guests from both metro and regional locations.
- there's only one number for a large number of guests
- the host pays the carrier costs
- a higher conferencing rate applies

Local Access Numbers: use when your guests are all metro-based.
- Sydney guests call the Sydney number, Melbourne guests call the Melbourne number, etc.
- each guest pays the carrier cost at the price of a local call
- a lower conferencing rate applies

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Topics: Conferencing Services, DIY Audio Conferencing

Conferencing from countries without toll free numbers?

Posted by Vivienne New

19-Nov-2014 11:00:00

What if you or your guests need to dial in from countries without toll free numbers?

Ozlink Conferencing

That's easy!

If you require guests to call into your teleconference from countries where a toll free service is not available, they can dial directly onto Ozlink's conferencing bridge on +61 3 9679 0601. They then enter their guest code and join the conference call! This will cost the bill payer 6c per minute for as long as the line is in use. The person calling in may also incur international charges from their phone provider. 

We offer toll free numbers from the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • China South
  • China North
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

More countries are available by request. If you ever require a number for a country that isn't listed, please send us a request via the website.  If we have enough customers requesting the same number we will investigate the viability of adding it to the list.

Happy Conferencing!

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6 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Free Teleconferencing Services

Posted by Vivienne New

12-Nov-2014 10:00:00

Many conferencing providers now offer “free” teleconferencing services. While this may seem like a great option that allows you to continue conferencing while cutting costs, there are many issues with these services.

1. Unreliability – these free services use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to deliver their service, and their network routers handle traffic on a first-come, first-served basis. This means that communication over IP networks is significantly less reliable than on a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and the sound quality of these calls is often substandard.

Ozlink only uses PTSN lines, ensuring that your meetings are conducted with high quality sound and with minimal chance of anybody dropping out of the conference.

2. Inability to handle large traffic - if network routers are experiencing high volumes of traffic, you may experience 'call drop-outs' while conferencing. We've often heard of customers complaining about dropping out of conference calls in the middle of very important meetings while using "free" services.

Ozlink is able to control the amount of people conferencing by owning our own conferencing bridge (the technology that link telephone lines). This ensures that our bridge is not overloaded, so that there are no drop-outs or bad lines. Our technology can accommodate hundreds of individual participants.

3. Trust Issues - security can be a huge concern when conferencing, especially if your meeting agenda involves sensitive topics. When conferencing with an internet provider your meeting could be hacked, resulting in your sensitive information being heard by other people.

Ozlink provides the option of securely locking your conference, so you can have peace of mind when conferencing. When guests enter the conference, their name is announced. Once everyone is in the meeting, the conference is locked so nobody else can enter.

4. No support - sometimes you may find you have questions or concerns about your teleconference, and having a support line available to address your needs can prove invaluable. Few free teleconferencing providers offer this service. 

Ozlink support staff are available by email (help@voiceconference.com.au) between 9am and 5pm on Monday to Friday. You will always be answered by one of our Australia-based support staff.

5. No recordings - most free teleconferencing services will not offer the same features as paid providers, such as the ability to record calls.

Ozlink is able to record your conference, which you can then download from our website for minute-taking or for future reference.  You can read all about our features on our website.

6. Hidden fees and charges - there's really no such thing as a free teleconference. Most “free” teleconferencing services incur hidden expenses that you may not have considered, such as the cost of dialling in long distance numbers.

Ozlink’s charges are transparent and easy to calculate.

Ozlink prices

So before you decide to use VoIP to conference with business partners or colleagues, think again. While you might save on infrastructure costs you could lose a lot more if your conference goes badly because you’re using substandard conferencing technology. Don’t risk it, use a reliable conference provider such as Ozlink.

Go to the website now!

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Topics: Teleconferencing, Conferencing Services, DIY Audio Conferencing

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