Earlier this week I was scheduled to be on a conference call. I dialed in, entered in my pin, and was told by an automated voice that I was the first person on the call. After five minutes of elevator music, I hung up and dialed in again. Once again, the system told me that I was the only person on the call. Sensing a glitch in the system, I sent out a few emails to the other individuals on the call. Apparently, they had successfully dialed into the call and I had used a wrong number. It was yet another chapter in my seemingly endless array of unfortunate conference call experiences.
If you have ever been part of a conference call, I recommend watching the video embedded at the top of this post. It's a wonderfully humorous and honest sketch about what most of us have endured during a conference call. However, there is hope for those of us who frequently make conference calls. Next time a conference call needs to happen, I'm going to recommend that we try using Speek .
Speek simplifies the conference call experience by eliminating some of the complicated elements of the genre. Instead of using a unique phone number or pin, users are directed to an easy to remember URL (e.g. speek.com/yourconferencecall). Additionally, the web-based interface allows you to see who is talking at any given time. It's like a visual walkie talkie. Anything that eliminates that awful aspect of talking over someone on a conference call is a huge victory in my book. The free version of Speek has a 5 caller limit. However, let's be honest, do we really need more than 5 people on a conference call? You also get a dedicated conference bridge, the aforementioned visual interface, call history/analytics, message/file sharing, and the option for Speek to call you after you enter your phone number into their website.
Now, I realize that Google Plus Hangouts are often a preferred method of group communication/collaboration. And, I am a fan of G+ for group conversations. However, sometimes a conference call is a more comfortable option for folks on a call. If you have to participate in a conference call, check out Speek and let me know what you think.
Thanks to John Dennett  for introducing me to Speek. I don't like to conference call...but when I do, I use Speek.
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