Each company's varies, but for most the process for setting up and holding audio Web conferences is simple. These services allow you to download interface software that guides you through the process of setting up online audio business conferencing. Such interfaces allow for various scheduling methods, such as instant messaging, e-mail or the company's calendar.
Usually, you're required to log on the company's Web site and create an account, entering some biographical information and selecting a password or access code.
Some start by giving you a toll free number and password that's for your meeting. They then let you send this information to those participating in the online conference or seminar, along with the event's date and time. The participants use their computers to dial in at the appropriate time. Wireless users can operate the same way, simply using their Wi-Fi connection to bring up the Web site and punching in the codes to connect.
Often, the hosting company allows the event organizer to log on to a special area as the "moderator." The moderator invites other participants and runs the event using an online interface.
Once all the participants are logged on, you can start your online audio event. Various Web interfaces allow each participant to adjust their volume or record the event.
Companies that host audio conferencing often offer easy, affordable upgrades, such as video, document sharing or desktop presentations. Some allow you to use instant messaging to hold side conversations with event participants as needed.
Because you anticipated the meeting running long, you selected a flexible time package. Your team can talk as long as needed, but the rate remains the same. Most companies offer single, monthly or annual fee options. Fees range from about $50 a month to about $500 a year. Others charge by the minute. Different fees allow for varying number of participants, meetings and other features. It's up to you to pick the one that best suits your needs.
Most host companies allow clients to manage their accounts online, view their current bill and other information or make modifications. Online account management also allows users to schedule audio Internet events or launch them on a moment's notice.
Companies that host online seminars, or Webinars, often require the client moderator to download software from the company's Web site. The software allows the moderator to use different interactive features. Web seminars bring together people at scattered sites and can include audio and other features, such as Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, other documents or visual aids.
Some companies provide software that uses a planning wizard that walks the user through a step-by-step process of setting up an audio Internet event or Webinar.
Setting up audio Web events is bound to remain a mainstay in the business world. Improving wireless technology will make it possible to hold business meetings practically anywhere. As bandwidth availability grows, however, it seems likely business will opt for enhanced audio Web conferencing, such as video conferencing or interfaces that make document and graphic sharing easier and more affordable. Audio business conferencing and audio Internet will remain a major pillar in today's emerging virtual workplace.
For more information about audio Web events and related topics, check out the links on the next page.