The Automated Conference Host
Although nothing beats the degree of flexibility and control of an operator-hosted conference, our newer automated equipment has some features that can assist any conference host. To assume the role of conference host, that person must select the number “1” on their telephone keypad when prompted to do so. Unless the host selects “1”, they will be unable to access these additional features. After selecting “1”, the following commands are available for use by the host:
*0 – List of Commands
*1 – Dial out to a new participant (domestic U.S. only)
*2 – Mute/unmute the conference host line
*3 – Mute/unmute all lines except the host line
*7 – Allow participants to continue talking after the host hangs up
*8 – Disconnect all callers and end conference (highly recommended if conference has concluded.)
Avoid using a speaker-phone whenever possible.
Very few such phones are truly full duplex (two way). They will override the output (of the speaker- phone) with the input (of the speaker-phone microphone). Even a low level of background noise on a speaker-phone microphone can cause the incoming conference audio to “cut out.” (e.g. The sound of typing on a computer keyboard is loud enough to cause this ‘clipping’ effect.)
If you must use a speaker-phone, reduce background noise as much as possible.
(This is always a good practice, no matter what type of instrument you choose.)
- Move keyboards away from the phone speaker area. Adjust ventilation noise down by lowering fan speed.
- Do not tap a pencil or attempt quiet background conversation.
- Consider turning the microphone down, or muting it, to eliminate feedback.
- Do not turn the speaker up to maximum volume. Back off a little from the highest level.
- If your group includes persons with hearing problems, they will be able to hear better if they listen on a regular handset rather than a speaker-phone.
Although our network provides automatic gain control and echo cancellation, some problems may still develop.
- Echo caused by speaker-phones may generally be reduced by separating the volume levels of the speaker and microphone portions of the system.
- Overlapping human speakers can add to the problem. It is the responsibility of the moderator to enforce telephone discipline.
Volume is automatically adjusted by our teleconferencing equipment.
In fact, we keep some equipment set with increased volume levels to compensate for low audio from areas with notoriously poor phone service. However, network and local telephone instrument problems may still present a problem. To ensure that you (the caller) are not part of the problem, avoid ‘stringing’ calls onto the conference via 3-way calling. Make sure your telephone instrument volume is adjusted properly. If a caller gets a noisy or poor connection hanging up and re-dialing will usually solve the problem.