Reservationless Conference Calls

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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Having the ability to organize a conference call "at the last minute" or "on the spur of the moment" is an enormous convenience to busy executives and their often overworked administrative assistants. While many times people know well in advance that they're, say, going to have to review a big presentation on Tuesday before delivering it on the following Thursday, often circumstances arise requiring immediate team consultation. In cases such as this, having a conference calling solution which allows for immediate conference-line availability is a must-have.

How much these "on the fly" conference calls cost comes down to the services offered by your conference-call provider. Some companies charge extra for this service. Other companies include it as part of their basic package. Other companies specialize exclusively in this service. (Incidentally, if your business owns conference calling software, then the point is mute, since it's a given that you can place a conference call anytime of day, with no advance notice whatsoever--and, since your company owns the system, then naturally no additional software charges would apply.)

Differences Between Reserved, Last Minute and Reservationless Calls

For those unsure of what the difference between reserved, last minute, and reservationless calls are, the definitions essentially boil down to varying degrees of advance planning. For instance, with a reserved call, you'd contact your conference call provider a couple of days in advance. You'd inform them that you'd need a toll or toll-free line from 1:00 to 2:00 PM. You'd inform them how many participants were expected, and whether or not you wanted the call recorded and archived for future reference. The calling company would then assign you an appropriate number, and give you a pass-code to deliver to all the attendees. At the given time and date, meeting attendees would call the phone number, plug in the pass-code, and be patched immediately into the call.

In the case of "last minute" calling, the organization could take place a mere five to 10 minutes prior to the call. Attendees could either receive the pass-code via email or phone call, or dial the main conference call number, announce the company or organizer's name, and be patched in via a live operator. It is because these last-minute calls require more work on the part of the conference call company that they often are more expensive than calls arranged in advance.

Then, there's the actual "reservationless" conference call. With this kind of service, your company (or department, or even individual department head) is assigned a dedicated conference call line for a contracted period of time. That line is now yours, just sitting there, active 24 hours a day, for a month, six months or more, just waiting to be used. Regular meeting attendees would have their pass-codes already on file, so that a simple email or phone call to notify them of the need for the call would be all that's required in terms of organization.

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