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What is a Teleconference, and How to Set One Up

Published on July 22, 2022 • Updated on July 22, 2022 • About 7 min. read

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What is a Teleconference, and How to Set one Up

Have you ever given a presentation to a group of people, but couldn't be there in person? Or maybe you need to talk to a client on the phone, but they're based in another time zone? In either case, a teleconference might be the perfect solution for you.

Not only does teleconferencing save you time and money on travel, but it allows you to connect with clients and employees no matter where they are. Plus, there are plenty of other benefits that come with using a teleconferencing tool, which we’ll cover later on.

By the end of the article, you’ll know everything about teleconferencing, how it works, and the many benefits that come with using one.

What is a teleconference?

Office teleconference equipment

Teleconference definition

A teleconference is an audio or audiovisual meeting where participants can join in real-time from different locations. It can be held between two people or a large group of people.

Traditionally, teleconferences would be joined by telephone, but now they often include visual components like webcams and screen sharing, making it more like an in-person meeting. That means you can use a video engagement platform like Livestorm to host your teleconference.

How does a teleconference meeting differ from a video conference?

A teleconference is an audio meeting that can include visual elements. A video conference is a type of teleconference that always combines both audio and video.

So, in a video conference participants can usually be seen via webcam and can also share their screen to show a presentation or other document. In a teleconference, participants can traditionally only be heard.

What types of teleconferences are there?

There are a few different types of teleconferences, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.

1. Audio teleconference

An audio conference is a meeting hosted over the phone. It’s the easiest remote meeting to set up; all you need is a phone and a list of participants' phone numbers. That said, audio conferences can be more difficult to follow than other types of teleconferences, as participants can't see each other.

Livestorm has a dial-in option available for hosts, moderators, guest speakers, or attendees who have trouble watching or listening to the live stream, due to their network, firewall or environment. They can join an event by phone by calling a number and entering an access code.

2. Video teleconference

Video conferencing tool with faces displayed

A video conference uses video to connect participants in real-time. This can be done with each person using a webcam, or by sharing screens. Video conferencing can be more engaging than audio conferences, as participants can see each other's reactions. It’s important to ensure that everyone has the right equipment and software to join the meeting.

3. Audio graphic teleconference

An audio graphic teleconference is a type of teleconference that combines both audio and visual elements. It’s also known as whiteboarding or real-time collaboration. Audio graphic teleconferences are typically used for presentations, webinars, or training, as they allow participants to see both the presenter and the presentation content.

4. Web or computer teleconference

A computer or web teleconference involves various levels of audio-video and graphics communication from one computer to another. Web conferencing can be as simple as instant messaging, email, or file-sharing, sent via a Local Area Network (LAN) or Wide Area Network (WAN).

How does teleconferencing work?

Traditional teleconferencing works using a teleconference bridge, which connects callers together. The bridge phone number and access code are provided by the meeting host, and participants dial in at the scheduled time.

Modern teleconferencing has additional features like webcams and screen sharing. Participants can join the meeting from their computer or mobile device, and they don't need to dial into a bridge. For example, using Livestorm, the meeting host would send out a link that participants can use to join via their web browser.

With a platform like Livestorm, you can set up on-demand, live, or pre-recorded webinars and video conferencing. It’s one of the most cost-effective, convenient ways to host events like in-person meetings, product demos, online customer training, and webinars.

Teleconferencing advantages and disadvantages

Some benefits of teleconferencing include:

  • Save time. Businesses with employees in different locations can use teleconferencing to communicate without the need for travel. This can save time and money.
  • Reduced costs. Businesses can also save on office space and equipment costs by using teleconferencing.
  • Easy accessibility. Teleconferencing is easy to set up and does not require any special training.
  • Security. Signals can be encrypted, which means that teleconferences are more secure than face-to-face meetings.

Some disadvantages of teleconferencing include:

  • No in-person interaction. Many people worry that a lack of in-person interaction will create a feeling of disconnection between team members. But it is actually possible to run an engaging teleconference where everyone communicates well and feels involved (more on that later).
  • Technical difficulties. Technical difficulties such as bad internet connection, audio issues, and frozen video can be frustrating and disrupt the flow of the meeting.
  • Distractions. It’s easy to get distracted when you’re not in the same room as other participants. For example, you might be tempted to check your email or take a phone call during the conference call.
  • Lack of body language. When you can't see the person you are talking to, or can only see their face, it can be difficult to interpret their meaning. That can lead to miscommunication and frustration.

How do you run a teleconference?

There are a few things you need to do to set up a successful teleconference, like setting certain ground rules, following virtual meeting best practices, and opting for the best virtual meeting platform.

What are the ground rules for a teleconference?

It’s important to set some ground rules before the call starts. Here is a video meeting checklist to help you get started:

1. Make sure everyone is on the same page

Before the call starts, send out an agenda or summary of what will be discussed, and any supporting resources that give important context. A good agenda will help keep the discussion on track.

2. Introduce speakers

Introducing each speaker builds rapport between everyone in the call, and helps keep track of who’s talking and who’s responsible for any action points.

3. Use the mute button wisely

When someone isn’t speaking, make sure they’re muted to reduce background noise and help everyone focus on the discussion. That said, if participation is low and there are lots of people on mute, try asking someone a direct question and encouraging them to unmute.

4. Summarize key points at the end of the call

Leave five minutes at the end of the call to summarize the key points of discussion. This makes it easier to remember the decisions that were made and who is responsible for each action.

What are the best video teleconference apps?

There are loads of teleconferencing tools to choose from, but that doesn’t mean they’re all right for you.

If you just want to talk to multiple people on the phone, then a simple conference call service is good enough. But, if you want to host really engaging remote meetings, you’ll want a more rounded video conferencing platform that has all the features you’re looking for.

Here are the top online meeting platforms on the market right now:

  1. Livestorm
  2. Zoom
  3. Microsoft Teams
  4. Demio
  5. BlueJeans
  6. Whereby
  7. Gotowebinar
Livestorm video teleconference

Why’s Livestorm top of the list? Firstly, it’s a cloud-based solution that can be used on any device with an internet connection, so it’s really easy for anyone to join. Plus it’s packed with engagement features like live polls and Q&A upvoting.

Not only that, but Livestorm supports all the workflows around setting up your video conference, like creating registration pages, automated email invitations, video recordings, and analytics.

Ready to set up your own teleconference?

Teleconferencing used to be an audio-only way to connect people over long distances. But technology has come a long way.

Remote conferencing software is easier than ever to use and can be a powerful, yet convenient way to communicate with your team — especially if you know all the tips and tricks for running a successful online meeting.

For example, you need to set an agenda ahead of time and make sure you leave five minutes at the end of the call to summarize all the key decisions and action points. And you need great software like Livestorm, that can automate your workflows and keep your attendees engaged.

Frequently asked questions about teleconferences

Is a teleconference a phone call?

A teleconference is similar to a phone call in that it allows you to communicate over long distances using audio. However, a teleconference connects multiple callers at once and can include video (also known as a video conference).

How do I join a teleconference call?

To join a teleconference call, you’ll need the conference call number and access code. A conference call number is typically a toll-free number that can be dialed from anywhere in the world. The access code is usually a four or six-digit number that allows you to join the call.

What does a teleconference need?

A teleconference needs a conference call service that can be provided by your phone company or an online conference call service (also known as teleconferencing software, e.g. Livestorm or Microsoft Teams).

Second, you’ll need a way to connect all the participants on the call. This can be done using a regular phone line, an internet connection, or a VoIP service, depending on the type of teleconference you’re hosting. Finally, you need to share the conference call number (or joining link) and access code with participants.

What is another name for a teleconference?

A teleconference is also sometimes called a teleconference call, audio conference, or video conference.

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