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How to have successful meetings with out of town participants?
April 24, 2012 10:00 AM   Subscribe

Making work conference calls work! Any free or cheap software, hardware to help make meetings with long distance clients easier and more efficient - Skype and Oovoo aren't working! Thanks!

I work in a law firm and we've reached a point of desperation!

Essentially, what we would like to do is have out of town clients join in on meetings. We started with Sykpe, which was glitchy and constantly a hassle to maintain. We switched to Oovoo, which again we encountered the same problem and finally we just tried to have our client on speaker phone - which was hard to hear and frustrating.

What software or hardware can we implement into our firm to help solve this problem. Money is an issue (you'd think it wouldn't be - but it is) and the quicker we could have this up and running the better.

I know that this can be achieved, but I don't even know where to start.
posted by Danithegirl to Work & Money (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
My prior law firm used Go To Meeting.
posted by dpx.mfx at 10:03 AM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


google+ hangouts are worth looking at.
posted by mulligan at 10:03 AM on April 24, 2012


Yep, I came to say G+ hangouts. Free, and a much better product than Skype.
posted by DoubleLune at 10:06 AM on April 24, 2012


Are you talking about domestic or international calls?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:07 AM on April 24, 2012


Both - right now specifically an international call.
posted by Danithegirl at 10:09 AM on April 24, 2012


Ah, then Google+ might not be the way to go since they don't have much additional infrastructure in a lot of regions to support hangouts. Even with paid services, call quality is going to vary quite a bit between different countries.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:12 AM on April 24, 2012


finally we just tried to have our client on speaker phone - which was hard to hear and frustrating.

Shouldn't be. Try getting a better phone, one made to be a conference phone, if you can afford it. Polycom makes good equipment.
posted by pracowity at 10:16 AM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


There really isn't any service out there that beats a dedicated conference-call phone (like the Polycoms mentioned by Pracowity) using the actual phone lines. There are advantages to Skype, GoTo, etc., but if reliability is the most important thing you should use a phone.

You can then use a less-reliable tool like Go To Meeting or whatever to share screenshots and docs, knowing that if it craps out at least you'll still be talking.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:20 AM on April 24, 2012


We use freeconferencecall.com for audio conference calls. I've been using it for years and have never had any problems.

We use gotomeeting for visuals, I find that it is not as consistent as I'd like.
posted by fyrebelley at 10:48 AM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


We've been very happy with Gotomeeting (have used it for many years)

You can use it with VOIP or local numbers in most countries (the checkbox to add a local number is a little hidden but present in the main dialog)
posted by bottlebrushtree at 11:12 AM on April 24, 2012


At work we use a combination of Polycom phone, which can be purchased for less than $300, and Infinite Conferencing, which I've found to be intensely reliable with lots of international dial-in numbers. It's also pretty cheap.
posted by scarykarrey at 12:36 PM on April 24, 2012


Just FYI, a Polycom phone won't do much for a crappy connection.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:30 PM on April 24, 2012


It's probably important to consider whether using a the regular phone on speakerphone was hard to hear and frustrating because the connection is bad or because the phone in question was crappy. Most speakerphones built into regular phones are quite crappy.
posted by scarykarrey at 2:02 PM on April 24, 2012


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