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Managing a Skype Conference Call

Managing a Skype Conference Call

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Published by Moultrie Creek
A Short Take fact sheet discussing how to use Skype to manage conference calls and virtual meetings.
A Short Take fact sheet discussing how to use Skype to manage conference calls and virtual meetings.

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Published by: Moultrie Creek on Oct 09, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial No-derivs

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05/29/2013

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Managing a Skype Conference Call
Skypeprovides free conference calling capabilities for up to 25participants - the caller and 24 others. This offers society boards,committees, project teams and even family groups a low-cost wayto meet and collaborate on projects and events.While it's quite easy to initiate a conference call, managing itsuccessfully can be a challenge. This Short Take describes how touse Skype's conference call features and offers tips on planningand managing your call to support the real tasks at hand. And,although this Short Take is focused on Skype, the managementtasks discussed are applicable for meetings, webinars andworkshops presented online regardless of the platform used.
 
Before You Begin
Skype takes advantage of peer-to-peer technology to support their network. Thismeans that every user with Skype up and running - whether actually in a call ornot - is providing some processing power to the network. This also means thequality of any Skype call will be impacted by the quality of your connection,processing resources available from each participating caller and how busy theentire Skype network is at the time of your call. Being aware of these issues letsyou plan ahead for any potential problems.If your participants are spread out geographically, you'll need to time your callso all participants will be available. Posted or emailed schedules should make itclear what time the meeting will begin based on a specific time zone - and don'tforget Daylight Savings Time can be a factor too. If you have participants fromother countries, you might use Greenwich mean time (GMT) for your timestandard.For calls with more than 2 or 3 participants, having a call moderator is veryhelpful. Initially, this may be the person with the most tech experience but asmembers become comfortable using Skype this job could best be supported bythe society's secretary. As you'll soon see, this function is mostly procedural.Because there is extra processing overhead generated in managing a conferencecall, the call initiator should have significant processing power available on his/ her computer. Netbooks and tablets can be used to attend, but are not suitablefor presenting or managing the call. Ideally, this would be the call moderator butit could easily be someone else. For best performance all participants should turnoff any unnecessary applications during the call.
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Getting Started
The call moderator starts a conference/meeting call by setting up a group textchat. The text chat window will remain open throughout the meeting for severalreasons. It offers a lineof communication if there are issues gettingconnected in the audiocall and, during thepresentation, it offers away to distribute filesand for attendees torequest to speak or ask aquestion.With the callmoderator managing thetechnical and proceduralissues, the primaryspeaker can concentrateon his/her presentationwithout distractions.After a connection hasbeen made with the firstperson, use the AddPeople button at the top of the text window to bring additional people into theconversation. You’ll be able to select them from a popup address book.Once the attendees are connected in the text chat, copy/paste the meetingagenda into the chat window for all to see. It's a good idea to include callmanagement tips for all participants. If there are presentation slides or other
Moultrie Creek Gazette
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